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Gaba English School - Information anyone?

 
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andersonrel



Joined: 06 Jan 2014
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:54 am    Post subject: Gaba English School - Information anyone? Reply with quote

Hi everyone,
I've searching for opportunities in Japan and I came across this chain called Gaba. Does anyone know anything about? Is it worth it? Are they reputable and trustworthy? Can you make an ok living taking into account that it is a one on one teaching system?

I'd appreciate your inputs.

Cheers.
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Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 898
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GABA is not a job ... or at least, not in the conventional sense of the word. GABA teachers are self-employed, and are paid on a fee-per-lesson basis.

You won't get a work visa on the strength of a "job-offer" from GABA.

EDIT

It looks like I was wrong about the visa. (See below.) Sorry about that.


Last edited by Pitarou on Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 802

PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although it's true that you are self-employed, GABA routinely sponsor work visas (whether they should be able to is another argument, but they do).

They are as reputable as any of the other big chains. Which is to say, they are all production lines for poorly trained, mostly inexperienced 'teachers' who churn out their particular product.

As a rough guide the main pros and cons to the 3 biggest chains are:

Gaba-eikaiwa :

pros: the flexibility of the self employed/itaku contract. You can work whatever hours you want (but if you don't offer lots of lessons during peak times you will struggle to earn enough). You can take unpaid vacation time whenever you want. If you put the hours in you can make good money and there are various bonuses and increases on offer. You can claim back your travel, and lots of other expenses against your tax. The one-to-one lesson format is very very easy work, especially for people with no classroom management experience. No compulsory selling involved. Not tied to company provided housing.

cons: the uncertainty of the dodgy self employed/itaku contract, they don't pay travel allowances, you only get paid for the lessons you actually teach (plus cancellations), and you have to be there for open lessons even though you don't get paid if they don't book (though you can close them), unpaid training days. No help with housing costs, or finding accommodation. No paid vacation.

AEON-eikaiwa :
pros: job and wage security, relatively good money and well documented benefits including travel expenses and subsidised housing. A mix of classes and student types (adults, kids, levels, etc). Several weeks of paid vacation annually. Paid training.

cons: long, inflexible and unsociable hours (e.g. 12-10pm weekdays and shorter Saturdays, plus some 6 day weeks). Have to sell courses and materials to students. Hard work, especially if you aren't experienced with teaching whole classes. You will have to do a lot of unpaid prep until you get the hang of the materials and method (once you do, you should be able to get your prep done in office hours). Most people have to take the company housing whether they want it or not.

Interac-ALT:
pros: working as an ALT with kids in schools (assuming you want to work with kids in schools, if you don't, you presumably wouldn't apply to them). Fixed wage. Some fully paid vacation, long partially paid periods of reduced hours. Travel costs paid, help finding housing - but not tied to company housing.

cons: low wage, with reduced pay over the long vacations and some messing about with on call days. Can be sent to multiple locations. Huge variability in the quantity and quality of the work expected of you, as it depends on the school not the company. Classroom management can be very difficult, and depends on how supportive your Japanese class teacher is. Housing is typically Leo Palace style. You may need a second job to make ends meet due to the low wages and several months of reduced pay.


There are many other smaller differences, (e.g. location) but for me, those are the main ones. Don't expect any of them to treat you particularly well, or to value you as a precious and individual little snowflake.

So the summary is:

If you want to work with kids, and have more time off but less money - Interac.

If you want the security of a guaranteed wage, supplied housing, more variation in your work and teaching whole classes (but understand that the price of security is inflexibility) - AEON

If you want the flexibility of setting your own hours, mostly adults only, unless you choose otherwise and one-to-one teaching (but understand that the price of flexibility is the loss of financial security) - GABA
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 458
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are going to try eikaiwa try Berlitz.
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Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 898
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HLJHLJ wrote:
Although it's true that you are self-employed, GABA routinely sponsor work visas (whether they should be able to is another argument, but they do).

Wow! I'm amazed. I'd always assumed that they only offered visa renewals, but judging from their web-site they're able to get visas for newcomers.

If someone were asking me today how to get past the "need the visa to get the job to get the visa" Catch-22 I'd tell them to go straight to GABA.
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Big_H



Joined: 21 Dec 2013
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had an preliminary interview with Gaba a couple of months ago, without having any prior Japanese visas. So I can confirm their willingness to sponsor visas for applicants from abroad as they wouldn't have wasted their time with me otherwise.

Keep in mind that you won't get to benefit from the flexible hours system practically for the first few months until you've been able to grow a following of consistent students. You can google online for reviews from previous employees for all three companies mentioned by HLJHLJ above.
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