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How is the EFL situation generally in Japan versus Korea
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razorhideki



Joined: 19 Jan 2010
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cafebleu: very good post and, sadly, all too true....


mrbbkk: trolling are we? What you claim is complete BS for 99.8% of all Westerners who are in/go to Japan to teach EFL.

Be clean-shaven & wear a freshly-pressed shirt and 500K/mo. is yours?!

Please Rolling Eyes
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Shimokitazawa



Joined: 16 Aug 2009
Posts: 458
Location: Saigon, Vietnam

PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

razorhideki wrote:
mrbbkk: trolling are we? What you claim is complete BS for 99.8% of all Westerners who are in/go to Japan to teach EFL.

Be clean-shaven & wear a freshly-pressed shirt and 500K/mo. is yours?!

Please Rolling Eyes


razorhideki,

I think you owe mrbbkk an apology.

Look at his previous posts. He is not a troll and is not trolling. Also, his numbers are reasonable for the time frame he mentions that he was in Japan. They are also consistent with my experience and observations of what myself and many teachers were earning at that time in and around Tokyo. People, willing to put in 40-hour work weeks were earning JPY 500, 000 and more a month. In one eikaiwa I taught at, we could elect to take our annual vacation or be paid out for it and work through it at over time rates. Some of us were earning JPY 900, 000 a month.

This, of course, is the Internet and people can tell lies and make stuff up but that was my experience and so I agree with what he's posted.

Things have changed obviously, but he is most definitely not trolling.
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seklarwia



Joined: 20 Jan 2009
Posts: 1546
Location: Monkey onsen, Nagano

PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shimokitazawa wrote:
razorhideki,

I think you owe mrbbkk an apology.

Look at his previous posts. He is not a troll and is not trolling. Also, his numbers are reasonable for the time frame he mentions that he was in Japan. They are also consistent with my experience and observations of what myself and many teachers were earning at that time in and around Tokyo. People, willing to put in 40-hour work weeks were earning JPY 500, 000 and more a month. In one eikaiwa I taught at, we could elect to take our annual vacation or be paid out for it and work through it at over time rates. Some of us were earning JPY 900, 000 a month.

This, of course, is the Internet and people can tell lies and make stuff up but that was my experience and so I agree with what he's posted.

Things have changed obviously, but he is most definitely not trolling.

Then you must of missed out on his crazy number of trolling posts, many of which got deleted. He ruffled more than a few set of feathers, including mine Laughing Good times.

And what he actually said was:
Quote:
Things are not as good as they used to be but anyone willing to work hard there, (20 to 30 contact hours a week) can make 300,000 to 500,000 even now.


and:
Quote:
The key is to have a big personal network and the right connections and introductions. For some this is easier that others. Being lucky and in the right place at the right time also helps.

Know about the culture. I was always well-dressed in freshly laundered shirts, clean-shaven and understood Japanese etiquette and manners.
Keep your mouth shut for the most part. They will ask for your opinion when they want it. Be brief and polite.

I know heaps of ESL workers putting in 40hrs/week now and not getting paid even close to 500,000/month. I know eikaiwa teachers with more than 30 contact hours per week who are short of JET money.

So there is nothing wrong with what Razor said. For the large majority of Westerners in or going into ESL in Japan now, those figures are ludicrous.
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Mr_Monkey



Joined: 11 Mar 2009
Posts: 661
Location: Kyuuuuuushuuuuuuu

PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd also add that 40 hours a week is a recipe for either crap lessons (you don't have time to prep properly for 40 contact hours a week regardless of experience) or burnout. Probably both.

However, after 4 years in Japan I worked summer 2006 at 30-odd contact hours/week and pulled 400k/month, so I don't find the figures impossible to believe. I just find it difficult to believe that it's possible to deliver lessons of an acceptable quality if your entire time is spent teaching! In my experience the longer you're in Japan, the greater the wage you can command if you know where to look for work.

However, this is my experience, and it was 4 years ago now - things may well have changed.
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seklarwia



Joined: 20 Jan 2009
Posts: 1546
Location: Monkey onsen, Nagano

PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr_Monkey wrote:
However, this is my experience, and it was 4 years ago now - things may well have changed.

Well let's look at a few of the highlights from the latter half of 2007 onwards:

- Nova going belly up and turfing out obscene numbers of desperate teachers trying to put food on the table.

- Geos going bust even more recently putting out yet more teachers.

- The global recession and increased unemployment rates bringing in yet more teachers, for some of whom, the grass really was slightly greener on the other side.

- The employers market caused by all these desperate, potential teachers floating about has allowed many entry-level (and even higher level) employers to go for all new WR wage-limbo attempts.

When I was applying late in 2008, 25man was still the figure on most ads. A year and a half on, and a scan through many job listings will turn up wages of 20man or less for the same hours.

It's safe to say that a lot has changed in the last 4 years.
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Mr_Monkey



Joined: 11 Mar 2009
Posts: 661
Location: Kyuuuuuushuuuuuuu

PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that. ~
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Mr_Monkey



Joined: 11 Mar 2009
Posts: 661
Location: Kyuuuuuushuuuuuuu

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

seklarwia wrote:
Well let's look at a few of the highlights from the latter half of 2007 onwards:

- Nova going belly up and turfing out obscene numbers of desperate teachers trying to put food on the table.
Unqualified, un(der)trained, inexperienced and, therefore, likely not really very good teachers.
Quote:
- Geos going bust even more recently putting out yet more teachers.
Yep. Except you should probably put that noun in quotation marks to distance yourself from the implications. Most "teachers" in Japan wouldn't qualify for the term anywhere else.
Quote:
The global recession and increased unemployment rates bringing in yet more teachers, for some of whom, the grass really was slightly greener on the other side.
See my initial response.
Quote:
The employers market caused by all these desperate, potential teachers floating about has allowed many entry-level (and even higher level) employers to go for all new WR wage-limbo attempts.
Potential teachers. The simple fact is that there is a surplus of manpower, if you're in the business of blind-leading-the-blind EFL aimed at the undiscerning end of the "English for no obvious purpose" market, which has, I would suggest, evaporated in the last few years. This is not a bad thing.

Nothing you've written suggests that qualified teachers providing a quality service will be in the same position as your average neophyte teacher in Japan. Indeed, at the time I was earning the money I mentioned, I was both qualified and experienced, so it wasn't difficult to pick up the work necessary to make 400k/month; it was just difficult to do the contact hours. It's very, very difficult to put in enough pre-teaching work (and the prep is where it really counts, no?) if you're all over the city every day; not impossible.

Quote:
When I was applying late in 2008, 25man was still the figure on most ads. A year and a half on, and a scan through many job listings will turn up wages of 20man or less for the same hours.
I never said that I was full-time and sponsored. It is a mistake to make that assumption. The advertisements for teachers on sites such as this offer crap wages. You may argue this point at your leisure. You can make a lot more if you're prepared to hustle for the work and put the effort in when you've got it. Trust me; I've done it. Have you?

Quote:
It's safe to say that a lot has changed in the last 4 years.
Plus ša change...
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seklarwia



Joined: 20 Jan 2009
Posts: 1546
Location: Monkey onsen, Nagano

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are going off on a tangent. But I'll forgive you since you are coming back to re-respond after 4 weeks... I'm not sure why though.
Besides that post was just a few examples of things that have changed since you left. Unless you can prove that the recession doesn't affect anything other than entry level jobs, most of what you have said makes little sense.

Mr_Monkey wrote:
Nothing you've written suggests that qualified teachers providing a quality service will be in the same position as your average neophyte teacher in Japan. Indeed, at the time I was earning the money I mentioned, I was both qualified and experienced, so it wasn't difficult to pick up the work necessary to make 400k/month; it was just difficult to do the contact hours. It's very, very difficult to put in enough pre-teaching work (and the prep is where it really counts, no?) if you're all over the city every day; not impossible.

Who was talking about real teachers? He didn't say qualified anything. He said anyone. My arguement was that not anyone can walk in and pull 500,000 per month as Mrbbkk was saying anymore.

BTW may I draw you attention back to "at the time" i.e. you are not here, doing it now and thus you can't claim that things haven't gotten worse and that should you come back today, you would be in the exact same position easily picking up the same amount of work for the same money as you were years ago. I can tell you that now times are harder even for qualified Japanese teachers. Even had one of my teachers complaining about how they used to work part time making decent money/class at a local juku, but after a break from the place she went back to be offered considerably less per class. Why? Recession = Times are harder for all = Parents have less money to waste = Less students = Less money being made by juku = Lower pay for the teachers.

I know decent teachers who have had to lower the price for their private classes as they under cut the competition simply to secure the fewer number of students out looking for teachers.

I've even heard of companies letting go of their in-house teachers or cutting company classes all together to try and save money.

Quote:
I never said that I was full-time and sponsored. It is a mistake to make that assumption.

And it's not a mistake to assume that anyone is in a position to not need sponsored work? I'm pretty sure not anyone can stroll on in and start off by picking up anything less than a full-time sponsored position since the majority of us are not permanent residents/married to a Japanese spouse/etc.

Besides what you are talking about is being a qualified teacher providing a real teaching service, hence being paid decent money.
Apart from the fact that its debateable whether your situation then would still hold true in the current economic climate, that's just ever so slightly different to what Mrbbkk claimed it took. I'll requote to refresh your memory:

Quote:
The key is to have a big personal network and the right connections and introductions. For some this is easier that others. Being lucky and in the right place at the right time also helps.

Know about the culture. I was always well-dressed in freshly laundered shirts, clean-shaven and understood Japanese etiquette and manners.
Keep your mouth shut for the most part. They will ask for your opinion when they want it. Be brief and polite.


I will also point out that although it's true that many people here or coming here are "teachers", its rude to assume that everyone working in or applying for entry level is unqualified, inexperienced or not even a very good teacher which is precisely the reason why I didn't insult the many poor people who probably put in more work than they were being paid for, trying to actually teach only to suddenly end up jobless and unpaid by assuming they were all "teachers". Many more qualified teachers end up in entry level positions because to move into the better jobs, you often need 'x' years work experience in Japan. Unless you have figures to prove that all the people put out by Nova, Geos or any number of smaller companies in recent years were as you described, perhaps you shouldn't be making that assumption either.

And assuming that they aren't all "teachers", can you not see how their numbers plus the added numbers of people arriving with more qualification as well as those able to gain the ever more common distance learning MAs would cause even more competition for the already fewer decent jobs on offer?

Quote:
You can make a lot more if you're prepared to hustle for the work and put the effort in when you've got it. Trust me; I've done it. Have you?

You assume that I need to or want to do that here.
I have another more lucrative non-teaching source of income and therefore don't need to hustle or put in crazy hours to make a fair bit more than that. I started my hustle in my teens, have proven myself to the people who matter and have earnt my short respite in Japan before I am swallowed up by obligations. So my answer is, yes; more than you know.

I'm one of the few here that money really isn't important for. I came here more experienced than many others but not with the vital in Japan experience that I needed to be considered for more. I work a barrel scrapped entry level job. I earn enough to survive comfortably and then some. I do not want for anything and never need to dip into my other income. I enjoy what I do, take pride in my work and can take the time to do it well. The bonus is that I still have time to enjoy my brief life in Japan. You might think that I lack drive or am a "teacher", but I dare say that I am happier than many of those hustling and spending every waking moment in attempt to provide quality teaching for a little extra money. And I probably do a better job doing what I want to do than those doing what they have to do to make the money that they want.
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chaiplz



Joined: 20 Mar 2011
Posts: 108
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This thread is really helpful, just wanted to say thanks.
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Tiger Beer



Joined: 08 Feb 2003
Posts: 773
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've lived in both countries, for a long time. Korea much longer though.

I didn't read any of the posts on here, just simply responding to the title.

In my feeling, South Korea is absolutely obsessed with English, to the 'we can not get enough teachers in here' level. Every niche and cranny of Korea, you'll see english teachers throughout. Every kind of school imagineable will make sure they have native speakers represented. Koreans also feel that if foreigners are in their country, they are obligated to speak English to them, to the level they will apologize for their poor English, even if a foreigner is speaking fluent Korean to them. You'll also see English absolutely everywhere - signs, subway maps, etc. Even though their English is poor, they'll constantly be trying to practice English on you.

Than enter Japan, each station will have a map somewhere in English, but you'll feel fortunate when you find it (unlike Korea where every map is in English). There are a lot of foreigners here, but few seem to be teaching English. They seem to be tourists, students, on business perhaps, etc. Almost every encounter with Japanese, they will always speak Japanese to you, and generally the foreigner learns enough Japanese to speak back to them in Japanese. The schools are few that are looking to hire native speakers. The demand is low. The students feel fairly indifferent, and Japan's place in the world is secure regardless if they know English or not, etc.

In short, Japan is Japan is Japan, and to come here, you have to want to be here. Korea is trying hellbent to 'out-Japan Japan', and feels that English is the key to international-ness and 'fame' or whatever it sees Japan as having. So, they'll basically do anything and everything to get a foreigner there no matter what the cost - they'll fly you over, they'll lie to you about contracts to get you over (there are legalities about this that you can fight it, but its to that degree the demand is there), etc.

In short, Japan may have a place for you with a lot of planning behind it, but Korea will be guaranteed to have a place for you even at a last moment's notice.
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Mr_Monkey



Joined: 11 Mar 2009
Posts: 661
Location: Kyuuuuuushuuuuuuu

PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

seklarwia wrote:
BTW may I draw you attention back to "at the time" i.e. you are not here, doing it now and thus you can't claim that things haven't gotten worse and that should you come back today, you would be in the exact same position easily picking up the same amount of work for the same money as you were years ago.
Just thought I'd let you know that I'm back in Japan working less than 60% of the hours I used to and am making 80% of the money I did.

Harder to find the work? Arguably. Is the work still there for qualified and experienced teachers? Yes.
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seklarwia



Joined: 20 Jan 2009
Posts: 1546
Location: Monkey onsen, Nagano

PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr_Monkey wrote:
Just thought I'd let you know that I'm back in Japan working less than 60% of the hours I used to and am making 80% of the money I did.

Harder to find the work? Arguably. Is the work still there for qualified and experienced teachers? Yes.

You are working 60% of the hours you used to and although being paid apparently more on the surface, what would it take to make up that 20% shortfall. Could you, for example, be pulling in 100% of your pay at 75% within the next week or so? And are you back here on a regular work visa (either sponsored or self-sponsored)?

If you can answer yes to both, then you could make a fortune selling your secret to beating the financial crunch... hell, I could even sling more than a few customers your way.

But if you are once again not in the same visa situation as many of the qualified and experienced teachers that are struggling to find decently paid work reflecting their achievements and work history then perhaps you should alter your final statement before I call Ofcom and have you done for false advertisement Wink
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Mr_Monkey



Joined: 11 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

seklarwia wrote:
You are working 60% of the hours you used to and although being paid apparently more on the surface, what would it take to make up that 20% shortfall. Could you, for example, be pulling in 100% of your pay at 75% within the next week or so?
Well that's a red herring now, isn't it? Why should I need to be able to add 25% to my income in less than a week for the point to stand? As it is, I've turned down work because I have a family and the hours didn't suit me. I still have plenty of hours available; I'm in no rush to fill them with dross, of which (I'm sure you'll agree) there is plenty.
Quote:
And are you back here on a regular work visa (either sponsored or self-sponsored)?
Another decoy that doesn't address the issue. For the record, I have a spouse visa. However, we both know that the visa situation in Japan is varied - some teachers receive a one year visa, while others receive three years, as I did for my first trip. Moreover, there are schools in Fukuoka that are struggling to find teachers with suitable qualifications and experience. The market is flooded. With neophytes.

It's also important to consider regional variations - is the unemployment rate higher in Kansai than Fukuoka? What about Kanto? How does this affect disposable income and tax revenues? Arguably, it's safe to assume that more teachers end up in those regions than in northern Kyushu. How does this affect the availability of teaching work and the rates of pay offered? What about cost of living and demographics? How important was the presence of the chain schools in those regions? How did it individually affect the size of the EFL market in those regions when NOVA and then GEOS went belly-up?
Quote:
If you can answer yes to both, then you could make a fortune selling your secret to beating the financial crunch... hell, I could even sling more than a few customers your way.

But if you are once again not in the same visa situation as many of the qualified and experienced teachers that are struggling to find decently paid work reflecting their achievements and work history then perhaps you should alter your final statement before I call Ofcom and have you done for false advertisement Wink
Again, this doesn't address the issue. Clever-sounding rhetoric means little when the thesis is easily falsified. The work is there, people can self-sponsor, qualifications and experience both in and out of Japan matter to some, and a teacher can still make good money here. The only issue is obtaining entry to the country, which is a matter of looking thoroughly and having some patience.

The appeal to ignorance is a fallacy. From what I see here, you're basically arguing that since you can't imagine how a teacher could make a decent living in Japan, it can't be done. I'm not suggesting that every teacher can - not every teacher is qualified and experienced - but that it's possible for some. Blanket assertions are rarely valid; the oft-repeated line that EFL in japan is all rubbish, with poor downtrodden teachers scraping a living eating cup ramen is a prime example.

This country needs good, qualified teachers of English - the presence of Japan at the bottom of TOEFL score rankings for Asia is evidence enough. It does not need "teachers" whose primary motivation is to drink and sleep their way round Osaka. Misleading generalisations will not help improve the situation, and while there are obviously other factors at play: government policy, socio-cultural artifacts and the tradition of language education in Japan, for example, acknowledgment of the reality of the situation will help people make better choices. EFL in Japan is more complex than you would have people believe.

Please note that I haven't questioned your credibility. The principle of charity applies. I am rational, I am speaking from experience and I accept that it's not all roses. Can you accept that it's not all bad here?
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Mr. Kalgukshi
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Joined: 18 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is getting far too personal. Stick to addressing the message and not the messenger or the thread will no longer be available and there will be sanctions.
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seklarwia



Joined: 20 Jan 2009
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr_Monkey wrote:
From what I see here, you're basically arguing that since you can't imagine how a teacher could make a decent living in Japan, it can't be done.

Then you misunderstand. My issue is with over-generalised statements such as:

"Is the work still there for qualified and experienced teachers? Yes."

I do not argue that there is work available to those who fulfill a whole variety of requirements some of which involve dumb luck. My arguement is that it is not simply an issue of; are you qualified and experienced? Then there is a great job for you!
As you yourself have pointed out, there are other factors at play.

Case in point: One good friend is out of a uni job (unfortunately couldn't score a tenure and is now out after years of service). Has uni experience both here and in the UK (was one of my pragmatics and sociolinguistics lecturer in fact). Came here with his long-term gf (my IWLT Japanese teacher). Now she's going to help reduce the current population decline so moving across the country is out of the question.
So now he is a qualified and experienced teacher who is in a crappy employment position because he doesn't yet have a spouse visa or PR and had to accept a FT position to get a visa renewal since contracted PT pickings within his SOR were not enough to satisfy immigration.

That's why I asked whether you could easily pick up the short fall on short notice if you needed to. Obviously on a spouse visa you don't have to worry about the possibility of being refused a visa renewal, but my friend wasn't so lucky at the time. No doubt if he wasn't under the visa, time and location constraints he faced, he could have found decent work eventually but he was and therefore couldn't.
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