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Tough competition out there for the better jobs?
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matador



Joined: 07 Mar 2003
Posts: 281

PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Training Company ...in my case....means business English training company.... going in to companies and teaching their staff English...
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Sudz



Joined: 09 Aug 2004
Posts: 438

PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for clarifying. Working on one's own terms (to whatever degree your customers allow this) sounds good.

Well I've received an interview offer for a well-paying job. However, there are many interviewees for just one position (they detailed this in the email). I'm happy that at least my qualifications are somewhat valued (there were a ton of applicants for the position), though I'm a bit tired of going all the way to Tokyo just to be (likely) declined. Might still be worth it I suppose....or not.

As a side note: if I decided to just pack up and move to Tokyo without a job in a month, how much cash would you recommend? I know.....how long is a piece of string. This would be assuming I'm quite frugal, and perhaps find a 'cheap' place that - ideally - doesn't ask for a crazy down payment (if that even exists in Japan!) With my decent qualifications, I would think I could at least find some PT gigs.
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Shakey



Joined: 29 Aug 2014
Posts: 199

PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sudz wrote:
Thanks for clarifying. Working on one's own terms (to whatever degree your customers allow this) sounds good.

Well I've received an interview offer for a well-paying job. However, there are many interviewees for just one position (they detailed this in the email). I'm happy that at least my qualifications are somewhat valued (there were a ton of applicants for the position), though I'm a bit tired of going all the way to Tokyo just to be (likely) declined. Might still be worth it I suppose....or not.

As a side note: if I decided to just pack up and move to Tokyo without a job in a month, how much cash would you recommend? I know.....how long is a piece of string. This would be assuming I'm quite frugal, and perhaps find a 'cheap' place that - ideally - doesn't ask for a crazy down payment (if that even exists in Japan!) With my decent qualifications, I would think I could at least find some PT gigs.


Yes! How long is a piece of string. Exactly what I was thinking, too.

You're a gambling man, by the looks of it.
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Sudz



Joined: 09 Aug 2004
Posts: 438

PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In some ways Shakey.....in some ways.
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1562
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More jobs are around Tokyo than in other parts of the country.
I am just here for the work.
When I am in Kansai I can relax but not here.

I think a majorities of universities are around Tokyo.
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Sudz



Joined: 09 Aug 2004
Posts: 438

PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like you're not so big on Tokyo. I always enjoy my visits there, though living there might be a different story - granted, I was very content living in Saigon
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RM1983



Joined: 03 Jan 2007
Posts: 360

PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sudz wrote:
Thanks for clarifying. Working on one's own terms (to whatever degree your customers allow this) sounds good.

Well I've received an interview offer for a well-paying job. However, there are many interviewees for just one position (they detailed this in the email). I'm happy that at least my qualifications are somewhat valued (there were a ton of applicants for the position), though I'm a bit tired of going all the way to Tokyo just to be (likely) declined. Might still be worth it I suppose....or not.

As a side note: if I decided to just pack up and move to Tokyo without a job in a month, how much cash would you recommend? I know.....how long is a piece of string. This would be assuming I'm quite frugal, and perhaps find a 'cheap' place that - ideally - doesn't ask for a crazy down payment (if that even exists in Japan!) With my decent qualifications, I would think I could at least find some PT gigs.


See if you can pick up a couple more interviews at more places for the time you come. That is what Id be doing, you never know what might come of it.

Traveling far is motivation to give it your best shot! What I'd also say is don't just rely on your quals and your wits, get together a portfolio of materials and etc to show what you can do. I've failed a fair few interviews before because I couldnt back up what I was saying!
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taikibansei



Joined: 14 Sep 2004
Posts: 803
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lamarr wrote:
I'm not convinced that there are many "better" jobs in this line of work. Maybe better money, but the OP's story seems to back up what I've been saying on here that these places generally aren't bothered that much about quality candidates.


It depends what you mean by "better jobs." There are still some good (i.e., high-paying, full-time and even tenured) university positions in Japan--e.g., last year, there were nearly 55 such searches on JRECIN.

However, I would argue that university hiring committees in Japan define applicant "quality" differently than many of the posters in this thread. (Note that I am not defending Japanese hiring practices....) I am a tenured faculty member in Japan. I have also served on university search committees, headed such search committees, been a dept. head and a dean--all this without connections of any sort. In my experience, applicant "quality" is evaluated as follows (in order of importance):

1) Japanese language ability (especially reading and writing)
2) Number of publications--over three if possible--and particularly refereed publications
3) Possession of appropriate university degree(s)
4) Experience living in Japan

5) Teaching experience in the requested subject(s)

6) The quality of one's publications

7) The quality of one's teaching

The gaps in the above are intentional, with #s 5-7 being of MUCH less importance than the first four. For the better full-time positions, having Japanese language ability (and/or having lived in Japan) means that you won't need babysitting, and that you can do your share of committee and other service work--the latter often burdensome responsibilities that nobody wants to do. #2 looks good on the university website. #3 is needed for full-time hires to check off the required boxes for the Ministry of Education--the Ministry will try to check (often a cursory search but still) to make sure degrees are real, and universities usually will too. Finally, and especially for positions in the big cities, this is key: There will usually be multiple applicants who satisfy at least three of the first four criteria.

Regarding the others...#5 is nice to have, but many get hired without it (see #7 discussion for why). About #6...except in maybe the hard sciences, almost nobody here knows enough about the different publishing venues to be able to differentiate between prestigious journals and the not so prestigious. And as for #7, well, while many people here may talk about good teaching, let's just say that I've met very few Japanese university faculty sincerely interested in providing good learning experiences to their students.

Again, my observations above are only valid for full-time university positions. Hiring for part-time positions is done under completely different criteria--usually, those positions go to locals hired through connections and/or word-of-mouth. Still, the bottom line in all cases is convenience: like search committees just about everywhere, people in Japan are motivated by the desire to get the search done as quickly as possible. Yes, they want the "best" qualified person possible--a definition that includes someone who will require the least amount of follow-up/support after hire. This is why, even as an otherwise extremely qualified candidate, you may have difficulty, say, if you have an MA but no BA. Somebody will need to explain/justify the latter to Immigration (and possibly to the Ministry of Education)--why go through this trouble if there are other candidates who make also the cut and yet won’t require this extra work? Accordingly, to the OP: Extending your search outside of Tokyo, to include schools in the countryside, may give you more employment options. Good luck!
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matador



Joined: 07 Mar 2003
Posts: 281

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good post! Very informative. Q. At number 7 you have quality of teaching and you say:

I've met very few Japanese university faculty sincerely interested in providing good learning experiences to their students.

Are there end of course/mid-course student feedback questionnaires that students complete on their teacher? ...and if the feedback is below average.....what happens...? I teach at university in HK and we always have to be aware of this.
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taikibansei



Joined: 14 Sep 2004
Posts: 803
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

matador wrote:
Good post! Very informative. Q. At number 7 you have quality of teaching and you say:

I've met very few Japanese university faculty sincerely interested in providing good learning experiences to their students.

Are there end of course/mid-course student feedback questionnaires that students complete on their teacher? ...and if the feedback is below average.....what happens...? I teach at university in HK and we always have to be aware of this.


Depends on the university and on the status of the faculty member in question. That said, with tenured faculty--and especially tenured Japanese faculty--typically nothing happens to teachers receiving bad evaluations. However, with non-tenured faculty--particularly foreign faculty and/or part-timers--poor evaluations are a time-honored reason for termination or non-renewal. Again, I'm not defending the practice, just pointing out what I've seen.
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matador



Joined: 07 Mar 2003
Posts: 281

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again...good answer. I don't think I'd be comfortable working in a place where...

typically nothing happens to teachers receiving bad evaluations

It doesn't seem fair to teachers who are getting good evals due to their enthusiasm, creativity and engagement with their students....
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1562
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the flip side you get teachers who don't let students goof off and sleep in class, and are demanding, and they can get bad evaluations, but lazy teachers who never push the students and always smile and let the students out early, get good evaluations.

Japanese teachers can get away with a lot.
Foreign teachers can be held to a different standard.
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matador



Joined: 07 Mar 2003
Posts: 281

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good points. I always think you need to take a series of 4-5 student course evals to get a pattern. But tired, dry, unimaginative teaching needs to be held to account...
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1562
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try team teaching with a fixed curriculum when the JTE is useless.
Evaluations need to focus more on what students have done or have not done and less on if they just don't like a certain teacher.

At this point I feel more like a waiter in a restaurant, serving surly customers.
I was reading about teachers in LA complaining about teaching there, about how students can get away with anything.
It sounds very similar to my current school.
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matador



Joined: 07 Mar 2003
Posts: 281

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think sometimes as a teacher, you need to assess whether your integrity, creativity and open-mindedness is reflected by your teaching environment. Try and change things first...but beyond that, leave it. Get out and grow elsewhere.

Several times before I started my own company, I was given terribly outdated textbooks when I was teaching at prestigious places. Very top-down, with students asked to do very little other than consume dry materials.

And several times I was asked to observe other teachers teach. And the lessons were the most soul-draining hours I ever lost...

Not to say its all bad. It isn't. There is a lot of great work out there!

How is your curriculum/materials?
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