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Lets talk about those fine print details
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The Transformer



Joined: 03 Mar 2017
Posts: 39

PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look up the case of Michael Collison for an example of what Interac will stoop to. He was an Interac ALT who'd given a few years of good service to Interac, and received a letter from them thanking him for it, but that didn't stop Interac not renewing his contract after he left school early one day and was late the next, after he had to rush to hospital when his pregnant wife went into labor. IIRC he asked the school principal if he could leave school early, who had no problem with it, but because he didn't inform Interac about it, as they require you to, that counted as a "black mark" against him (to make matters worse, his wife had a miscarriage and they lost the baby).

These companies usually have very strict, set procedures for any infractions like that, even if the instructor has what any reasonable person would consider to be a valid case. In Interac's case, two strikes and the instructor was out, regardless of all the good work that person had done up until that date, or the perfectly valid reason he had for leaving school early and not following the required procedures to the letter.
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marley'sghost



Joined: 04 Oct 2010
Posts: 238

PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mitsui wrote:
I thought they don't pay for the summer.

Is Interac the one that had all the teachers in Sapporo unemployed in April?
It happened in 2014, I think.


You get partial pay for August and December, 50% for the new contracts, I think. Also as your contract coincides with the school year, they are careful and end and start them leaving spring break out. That amounts to another hefty cut too.
In the old days they were not as careful, they just signed you up for a year and cut only 25% for December and July. Got bonuses, even raises too!

And yeah, Interac was in the middle of that Sapporo clusterflick. Though the BOE and another company were the driving force. Google "Def in Japan, comic". This guy was one of the ALTs who got screwed, so he wrote a comic about it! Talented fellow.
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taikibansei



Joined: 14 Sep 2004
Posts: 726
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GambateBingBangBOOM wrote:

Because most of the things you mentioned are the same for direct hires.


Are you seriously arguing that dispatch and direct hire contracts are similar in the areas I mentioned? Complete BS.

GambateBingBangBOOM wrote:

Schools think that dispatched ALTs need a good reason for doing those things as well. Direct hires have a similar situation. Lunch doesn't count as being paid so that you can be made to stay longer. You still cannot leave at lunch at most schools. That's the same for Japanese people as well. That's the thing. Many of the dispatch ALT gripes are actually gripes about working life in Japan. It's the SAME for Japanese people, they just don't need things to be spelled out for them- they understand the culture. And that's what direct hires do as well (or else they tend to not have their contracts renewed, which is exactly the same thing as a dispatched ALT).


Please provide an example of a Japanese person being dispatched to teach at a K-12 institution. Then, let's see if they act as you state. (Non-permanent Japanese faculty/staff certainly don't behave as you describe at Japanese universities, let me tell you.)

GambateBingBangBOOM wrote:

Depending on your salary, it can cost you more to be in the shakai hokken system than the kokumin hokken system, even taking into consideration the amount paid by employers (half of the private insurance payment is greater than all of the national insurance)


TokyoLiz and others have shared that, as direct hires, they earn 260,000-300,000 per month after deductions. This is standard for direct hires. Don't talk about what you don't know.

Here's a link that breaks down the math for you:

http://www.generalunion.org/index.php/alts-dispatch/1578-the-myth-of-low-cost-dispatching

GambateBingBangBOOM wrote:

The same thing may happen at a direct hire position.


But for very different reasons, as I wrote. You are comparing apples to oranges.

GambateBingBangBOOM wrote:

Yes. That's the situation. You understand it. You signed up for it. So then why are you complaining now?


I'm complaining?! Laughing

GambateBingBangBOOM wrote:

Yes. That's true. Have you seen the contract the dispatch company make with the school / BoE? If not, you do not know what was offered, and therefore what the school expects out of you.


Yes, I have indeed seen the contracts that dispatch companies typically make with the BOEs. You can find bits and pieces of such contracts quoted here:
http://www.generalunion.org/index.php/alts-dispatch/1578-the-myth-of-low-cost-dispatching

GambateBingBangBOOM wrote:

You only know your side of the story, which is not the whole story, and this is a hierarchal society, and you are at the very bottom of it. But then again, contracts in Japan are seen as 'flexible'. You do (at the very least) what's expected of you. Period. If you don't like the situation, you figure out a way into one of those direct hire positions (get an MA in TESOL / ApLing or a k-12 qualification and experience in your home country, learn Japanese, write and publish articles, do presentations) or go the university route (get an MA in TESOL / ApLing, learn Japanese, write and publish articles, do presentations).


Laughing Thanks for the career advice. Yeah, I'll get right on that! Very Happy

Look, I have been a tenured university faculty for over twenty years now--in the US and in Japan. Accordingly, my contributions to this thread are not my "complaining" at all. Rolling Eyes

That said, I do advising and translation for two of the national unions, and have been directly involved in a number of cases. I posted what I did because I have a bad feeling about what will happen with the OP. That's it. Hope I am wrong and that he returns from today's meeting unscathed.

Peace.
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Maitoshi



Joined: 04 May 2014
Posts: 712
Location: 何処でも

PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did the performance review go okay? Hoping things work out for you!
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TokyoLiz



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1490
Location: Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I heard my name.

There is no comparison between dispatch ALT jobs and direct hire English teaching jobs.

Heck, you can't compare ALT dispatchers that hire from abroad with English teaching dispatch and placement companies that only hire within Japan.

Direct hire teachers at private schools can take home more than Y300,000/mo (the figure Taikibansei mentions) when you factor in bonuses, pay for seminars, events, etc. Not to mention, schools and school boards co-pay insurance and enroll teachers in supplementary insurance plans. I get all kinds of other gifts, besides, making it hard to put a yen figure on my compensation.

I've only ever held direct hire full time jobs (as opposed to part time), which means I receive a salary indicated in the employment contract. Dispatched people may be salaried or paid by the day.

In terms of the way that direct hire teachers are regarded, it varies. Schools may see you, diploma- and/or license-holding teacher, as equal to but different from the local staff.

I'm with Taikibansei about ALT dispatch. I wouldn't recommend it to my enemies.
I wouldn't say I have "free" time at work. I have spares like every other teacher, and those spares I use for prep and meetings, like every other teacher. I don't have lunch with students because I'm not a HR teacher.
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The Transformer



Joined: 03 Mar 2017
Posts: 39

PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a friend who worked direct hire for a private school about 10 years ago and he earned about Y400k a month IIRC. A guy he worked with was the co-ordinator for their exchange program and got paid even more than that. After he left, he said that they started using an agency to recruit staff so the pay went down to Y300-350k a month or something like that.

I know a guy who was working an ALT job through an agency that required some experience as a teacher or ALT (not Interac or Heart) a few years ago and was getting Y300k a month. They also had courses in the holidays which you could get paid extra for.

If you are going to take up a job with one of these dodgy dispatch agencies, and are planning on staying in Japan, you really need to look at where your career is going. You can get better paid jobs but you need to do your research on who advertises and hires for those better paid jobs. Some of these jobs are only advertised by word-of-mouth, so you need to get better connected to the teacher network to hear about them.
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GambateBingBangBOOM



Joined: 04 Nov 2003
Posts: 1996
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please note: This is what I actually wrote:

GambateBingBangBOOM wrote:
marley'sghost wrote:

Now for me, the "desk prisoner" situation is not a big problem. That's the time I plan my private gigs, do my taxes, study, write comments on Dave's, etc etc. I have a small apartment stuffed full with teenage children, so I can't do anything at home anyways.
After time, especially if you have been at the same schools for a long time and have paid your dues, no one at school will freak out if you disappear for an hour to run to the post office, or split early and skip the after school staff meeting. I've been Interac-ing at the same schools for 10 years now. Been through about 4 principals at each. Only one English teacher remains from when I started and we are good buddies. So when I do something, it's just what Mr. Marley has always done. If I were a crap teacher and caused a lot of problems, or a new rookie, it would be different. Then you toe the line, find the boundaries and concentrate on doing your job well. Once you earn your stripes, the schools will give you some slack when you need it.


This is the best advice for the OP (or for anyone else working in the k12 sector in Japan, whether dispatch or direct) on this thread.


And it remains true. Note that it doesn't say anything at all about salary. It is about work culture in Japan. I realise the salary is different (vastly different, these days- so much so that you earn more at an eikaiwa than as a dispatched ALT in some cases). You cannot just go home early when you are a direct hire. Many university instructors do that all the time. Tertiary and Secondary are quite different in this regard.

I have worked both dispatch [for a couple of years but making far more than is typically offered these days] and as a direct hire (on both contracts that have a set limit of number of years, and on eternally renewable contracts). I have been full-time at the university level for some years now.
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The Transformer



Joined: 03 Mar 2017
Posts: 39

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One other way of dealing with the tedium of being an ALT sitting around the teachers' room with nothing to do is to compare it to being an eikaiwa teacher, where you would have a much heavier, more intensive and grinding schedule. Though the initial pay is far worse as an ALT dispatch instructor, if you can step up to a direct hire ALT job, or work through an agency that takes on experienced hires, the 300k+ salary you get is at least what an eikaiwa middle manager would earn as their basic salary, for less work, and with better holidays.

I'd rather have long hours in the teachers' room than be an eikaiwa middle manager, running around schools chasing up hungover or homesick teachers, or having to cover for them when they don't show up, on top of "grinding" teaching days as well.
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kzjohn



Joined: 30 Apr 2014
Posts: 231

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GambateBingBangBOOM wrote:
Please note: This is what I actually wrote:

GambateBingBangBOOM wrote:
marley'sghost wrote:

Now for me, the "desk prisoner" situation is not a big problem. That's the time I plan my private gigs, do my taxes, study, write comments on Dave's, etc etc. I have a small apartment stuffed full with teenage children, so I can't do anything at home anyways.
After time, especially if you have been at the same schools for a long time and have paid your dues, no one at school will freak out if you disappear for an hour to run to the post office, or split early and skip the after school staff meeting. I've been Interac-ing at the same schools for 10 years now. Been through about 4 principals at each. Only one English teacher remains from when I started and we are good buddies. So when I do something, it's just what Mr. Marley has always done. If I were a crap teacher and caused a lot of problems, or a new rookie, it would be different. Then you toe the line, find the boundaries and concentrate on doing your job well. Once you earn your stripes, the schools will give you some slack when you need it.


This is the best advice for the OP (or for anyone else working in the k12 sector in Japan, whether dispatch or direct) on this thread.


And it remains true. Note that it doesn't say anything at all about salary. It is about work culture in Japan. I realise the salary is different (vastly different, these days- so much so that you earn more at an eikaiwa than as a dispatched ALT in some cases). You cannot just go home early when you are a direct hire. Many university instructors do that all the time. Tertiary and Secondary are quite different in this regard.

I have worked both dispatch [for a couple of years but making far more than is typically offered these days] and as a direct hire (on both contracts that have a set limit of number of years, and on eternally renewable contracts). I have been full-time at the university level for some years now.


How about if you respond to what you were called out on?
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kzjohn



Joined: 30 Apr 2014
Posts: 231

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

taikibansei wrote:
GambateBingBangBOOM wrote:

Because most of the things you mentioned are the same for direct hires.


Are you seriously arguing that dispatch and direct hire contracts are similar in the areas I mentioned? Complete BS.

GambateBingBangBOOM wrote:

Schools think that dispatched ALTs need a good reason for doing those things as well. Direct hires have a similar situation. Lunch doesn't count as being paid so that you can be made to stay longer. You still cannot leave at lunch at most schools. That's the same for Japanese people as well. That's the thing. Many of the dispatch ALT gripes are actually gripes about working life in Japan. It's the SAME for Japanese people, they just don't need things to be spelled out for them- they understand the culture. And that's what direct hires do as well (or else they tend to not have their contracts renewed, which is exactly the same thing as a dispatched ALT).


Please provide an example of a Japanese person being dispatched to teach at a K-12 institution. Then, let's see if they act as you state. (Non-permanent Japanese faculty/staff certainly don't behave as you describe at Japanese universities, let me tell you.)

GambateBingBangBOOM wrote:

Depending on your salary, it can cost you more to be in the shakai hokken system than the kokumin hokken system, even taking into consideration the amount paid by employers (half of the private insurance payment is greater than all of the national insurance)


TokyoLiz and others have shared that, as direct hires, they earn 260,000-300,000 per month after deductions. This is standard for direct hires. Don't talk about what you don't know.

Here's a link that breaks down the math for you:

http://www.generalunion.org/index.php/alts-dispatch/1578-the-myth-of-low-cost-dispatching

GambateBingBangBOOM wrote:

The same thing may happen at a direct hire position.


But for very different reasons, as I wrote. You are comparing apples to oranges.

GambateBingBangBOOM wrote:

Yes. That's the situation. You understand it. You signed up for it. So then why are you complaining now?


I'm complaining?! Laughing

GambateBingBangBOOM wrote:

Yes. That's true. Have you seen the contract the dispatch company make with the school / BoE? If not, you do not know what was offered, and therefore what the school expects out of you.


Yes, I have indeed seen the contracts that dispatch companies typically make with the BOEs. You can find bits and pieces of such contracts quoted here:
http://www.generalunion.org/index.php/alts-dispatch/1578-the-myth-of-low-cost-dispatching

GambateBingBangBOOM wrote:

You only know your side of the story, which is not the whole story, and this is a hierarchal society, and you are at the very bottom of it. But then again, contracts in Japan are seen as 'flexible'. You do (at the very least) what's expected of you. Period. If you don't like the situation, you figure out a way into one of those direct hire positions (get an MA in TESOL / ApLing or a k-12 qualification and experience in your home country, learn Japanese, write and publish articles, do presentations) or go the university route (get an MA in TESOL / ApLing, learn Japanese, write and publish articles, do presentations).


Laughing Thanks for the career advice. Yeah, I'll get right on that! Very Happy

Look, I have been a tenured university faculty for over twenty years now--in the US and in Japan. Accordingly, my contributions to this thread are not my "complaining" at all. Rolling Eyes

That said, I do advising and translation for two of the national unions, and have been directly involved in a number of cases. I posted what I did because I have a bad feeling about what will happen with the OP. That's it. Hope I am wrong and that he returns from today's meeting unscathed.

Peace.


Like this.
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jrwhisky



Joined: 07 Jul 2013
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

update:

friday's performance review went as such, I have been taken off assignment. Although they admitted that technically I did nothing wrong I did have a what they thought a "concerning attitude" pertaining to trusting my superiors, fair enough, I get to sit at home and wait further instructions.

Today I had a second meeting they offered to move me to a new school in Okayama or collect a months pay for resigning. They were pretty direct and polite about it. I think there's a third option here that they wouldn't mention which is to refuse to quit and refuse the Okayama position. i would selfishly like at least 2 months advanced for resignation.


oh and by the I recorded the conversations as suggested, thanks for that takibansai!
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jrwhisky



Joined: 07 Jul 2013
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also it seems they shot themselves in the foot. They took me off assignment with terrible timing. I was supposed to have a huge observation this Wednesday (nearly 100 teachers and BOE) and I had everything smoothed out between myself and the teachers not to mention good chemistry. Now they got last minute switch and the school is not terribly happy, the BOE has complained. . Funny they admit this stuff to me.

Either way they'll likely lose thier Hiroshima contract over this foolishness. So heads up anyone who wants to work in Hiroshima city spring semester there may be a lot of positions opening up. You heard it first here.
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The Transformer



Joined: 03 Mar 2017
Posts: 39

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This just goes to show, yet again, how these stinking companies operate: a couple of infractions, even minor ones, ones that could be sensibly and professionally sorted out with a bit of consultation and discussion (and would be in any normal company), and you're automatically in deep trouble and possibly out on your backside, with little if any right of redress.

They act like the mafia (probably because they're the ones financing things and ultimately pulling the strings).
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taikibansei



Joined: 14 Sep 2004
Posts: 726
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Transformer wrote:
This just goes to show, yet again, how these stinking companies operate: a couple of infractions, even minor ones, ones that could be sensibly and professionally sorted out with a bit of consultation and discussion (and would be in any normal company), and you're automatically in deep trouble and possibly out on your backside, with little if any right of redress.


The OP committed no "infractions," just followed what was written in the contract with his employer. Note that legally, it is only his contract with Interac that matters. His status is 業務請負--he does not work for the school/BOE. As MEXT itself explains on their website, the school/BOE legally can't ask him even to take off his darn shoes...which is one reason why MEXT has been telling schools/BOEs to do direct hire for the last ten years.

Now, I personally would have waited until I had alternative work secured before rubbing Interac's own contract into its face...but to each his own! Razz

jrwhisky wrote:
update:

friday's performance review went as such, I have been taken off assignment. Although they admitted that technically I did nothing wrong I did have a what they thought a "concerning attitude" pertaining to trusting my superiors, fair enough, I get to sit at home and wait further instructions. Today I had a second meeting they offered to move me to a new school in Okayama or collect a months pay for resigning. They were pretty direct and polite about it.


Man, are these guys predictable or what? It's almost like I'm psychic. Cool So, basically, their position is that while you did nothing wrong, you are "unprofessional" (next meeting they'll add "and a poor teacher") and so should resign immediately. Okay....

jrwhisky wrote:

I think there's a third option here that they wouldn't mention which is to refuse to quit and refuse the Okayama position. i would selfishly like at least 2 months advanced for resignation.


Ding, ding, ding--we have a winner! Are you in the union yet? If so, and assuming you have proof of your good teaching and professionalism, I don't think they can fire you. (Of course, they can non-renew you--though given that it looks like their contract with the city is in jeopardy, this might have happened anyway.) The most likely outcome now is that Interac pays you to stay home until the end of your current contract. This hopefully will give you some time to find a better job with a better employer.

jrwhisky wrote:
Also it seems they shot themselves in the foot. They took me off assignment with terrible timing. I was supposed to have a huge observation this Wednesday (nearly 100 teachers and BOE) and I had everything smoothed out between myself and the teachers not to mention good chemistry. Now they got last minute switch and the school is not terribly happy, the BOE has complained. . Funny they admit this stuff to me. Either way they'll likely lose thier Hiroshima contract over this foolishness. So heads up anyone who wants to work in Hiroshima city spring semester there may be a lot of positions opening up. You heard it first here.


Yep, there's a good chance the contract won't be renewed. I've seen contracts pulled for a lost less. 天罰。

The Transformer wrote:

They act like the mafia (probably because they're the ones financing things and ultimately pulling the strings).


These dispatch companies are parasites--they make all of their profit by skimming (stealing) from their foreign employees. They have no influence on Japanese schools/BOEs and pull no strings. On the contrary, the schools/BOEs move from one dispatch provider to another without any thought or loyalty.

jrwhisky wrote:

oh and by the I recorded the conversations as suggested, thanks for that takibansai!


You're very welcome. In particular, I do hope you recorded that bit that you "technically did nothing wrong." (If so, you should be gold.)

Good luck.
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marley'sghost



Joined: 04 Oct 2010
Posts: 238

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Delicious. They will be hoping you just go away now. Next, they will start making up, "There were problems at the school. " stories. Stay cool, don't get angry, and keep your sense of humor. I'm finding the whole situation extremely amusing. I hope you can too. Please keep us posted.

Curious, exactly how was your schedule written up the day you left school? Was the period blank or did they put a "P" for "Preparation" in it? Our branch always "P"s all over or schedule.....joke there..... to fill up the "work time" to the full 29.5 hours. They are careful to "P" for 10 minutes in the "after school" blank, just to make sure you don't disappear after lunch on Friday.

Also, did your absence cause an actual problem? Did someone want to talk to you about a lesson plan, or did they need to re-schedule a class for that period at the last minute or something? Or were they just nervous that you were not at your desk? Maybe afraid you wandered into the koi pond and drowned?
Gyomu itaku is such a joke. To actually manage an entire BOE's worth of ALTs in the manner the contract demands would require such multi-level, micromanagement it would collapse by Monday morning 3rd period.

Do try and make this a difficult for them as your finances and other responsibilities allow. If they want to have cake, stuff their contract in their pie-holes word-by-word. Don't resign. They'll tell you, you have to get your final paycheck. Say you have to run down to the the 労働委員会 (Roudouinkai) is that right? first to make sure it won't interfere with your unemployment benefits or something. Watch them squirm.
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