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Why Is Interac So Keen To Hire New Teachers?
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On hand and on your person are obviously different. Some native speakers lose the ability to speak their own language coherently (I work with one sad case, and he is embarrassing to be around), while some simply and honestly never learned. Hard to say who to pity more.
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Kionon



Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Posts: 226
Location: Kyoto, Japan and Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since I was asked for details...

Okay, I am now "in the classroom." So far, while the position is exactly like my previous position as far as inside of the classroom, but outside the classroom, I've run into a couple of issues. First the negatives:

1) I've been given housing and started working, but I have not yet signed a housing contract or an employment contract. I have a copy of the housing contract, and the housing is adequate and decently priced. I not only haven't signed the employment contract, I don't have a copy. I have heard from other people who signed the contract there is a non-compete clause stating that the employee will not pursue direct hire anywhere in Japan for two years after the contract ends. Pretty certain this is illegal. Glenski, do you have any info on this? Everyone I've spoken to from interview through training knows I'm pursuing a direct hire position eventually, probably with my previous BoE (the only reason I couldn't take my own position back was because of my MA, I wasn't ready for an April start). I haven't seen my contract yet, and I already know I am being paid more than everyone else... Maybe my contract will be different?

2) I was specifically told in the interview process they would need to change my visa from a Specialist visa to an Instructor visa. I brought it up in our one initial meeting and was told, "oh yes, we must do this. A supervisor will go with you." Yet four days later, I have yet to hear a peep about it.

3) I was told I would also have help with changing my addresses on all of my documentation. I probably don't need this help, I have already located my ward office, ward central police station, and ward driving license office. However, the help was promised, so... It'd be nice to have just in case I run into some kind of issue.

4) I have yet to meet with the Board of Education. This is very weird to me, as I had a very close relationship with my previous BoE, I had my own desk in the BoE offices, and days where I was not teaching, supervising clubs, administering exams etc, I worked at the BoE offices inside the city hall. It's worth noting that my previous BoE is the BoE that offered to sponsor me for a 臨時免許 if I were to be accepted to a Japanese university in pursuit of my 教員免許. Also, there is a ridiculous amount of paperwork, and I must only stay at schools from a specific time to a specific time. If I am at a school for less than the time, my pay gets docked. If I am there for more, it is on my "own time." This seems odd, because I am salaried, not hourly. Neither my schools nor myself are particularly happy with the BoE about this.

5) In less than a week, I have already determined there are serious communication issues between myself, Interac, the BoE, and the schools. This isn't exactly unexpected, but I think I am right to be concerned that if I am not constantly asking for clarification, I may cross a bureaucratic line. This will make the outside-of-class aspects of my position difficult to complete.

6) This area kind of sucks for shopping, despite the higher population versus my previous position. Not a work related gripe, just a gripe. It seems to me prices are higher, selection is worse.

Positives:

1) Running all of the math, this is definitely a pay increase for me. Not because I was offered as much money as I asked for, but because even if food seems more expensive, my overall expenses are down by tens of thousands of yen. Maybe as much as seven man per month. I don't have a car, transportation is reimbursed, rent is nearly cut in half...

2) I am only dealing with my desired age range. That right that there is HUGE in a sea of "you must work with small children" positions. As long as at least a few of the issues in the negative column are adequately resolved, this is probably the best reason to stay put.

3) My main JTE's english is superior. She taught Japanese in Virginia for two years and hardly even has an accent. Her English is natural sounding and idiomatic. Even her nonverbal communication is "English-appropriate." She also recognises my high level of education and my career goals. I don't think I will have issues with utilisation in her classes. Likewise, the other permanent JTE has a similar outlook. The final JTE is a substitute, and while she seems overtly resentful of my abilities and classroom control, she'll be gone soon. Even in private, she has not responded well to polite suggestions or corrections. Ah well, it can't be helped. There's always one.

4) It's Japan, and Japan is better than !Japan.
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OneJoelFifty



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 463

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds good, thanks for sharing.

I wouldn't hold too much hope for improving communication between the lot of you. Just focus on the relationships with people at the school(s?) and it should be fine.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kionon wrote:
1) I've been given housing and started working, but I have not yet signed a housing contract or an employment contract. I have a copy of the housing contract, and the housing is adequate and decently priced. I not only haven't signed the employment contract, I don't have a copy. I have heard from other people who signed the contract there is a non-compete clause stating that the employee will not pursue direct hire anywhere in Japan for two years after the contract ends. Pretty certain this is illegal. Glenski, do you have any info on this?
Let's start with something more important. You have a visa, presumably, and are working at a job, yet you have no employment contract. Uh, why? They had to submit something resembling a contract to immigration in order to get your visa. Where is it?

Obviously, my feeling is that you should get it ASAP. It helps to protect both parties.

Illegal non-compete clause? I honestly do not know whether it is illegal. What exactly does it say? (FWIW, corporations have these, but IMO usually for high level execs or people working in sensitive security-prone positions. You are not in that.)

If it's not illegal, the next point is whether it's even reasonable or enforceable. Let us know the exact wording.

Quote:
2) I was specifically told in the interview process they would need to change my visa from a Specialist visa to an Instructor visa. I brought it up in our one initial meeting and was told, "oh yes, we must do this. A supervisor will go with you." Yet four days later, I have yet to hear a peep about it.
You cannot work as an ALT and have a Humanities visa. That is most certainly against immigration regulations.

Quote:
3) I was told I would also have help with changing my addresses on all of my documentation. I probably don't need this help, I have already located my ward office, ward central police station, and ward driving license office. However, the help was promised, so... It'd be nice to have just in case I run into some kind of issue.
You can't have it both ways. It's provided or not. Sounds like a flaky way to run a business, but as long as you don't need it, shrug it off.

Quote:
4) I have yet to meet with the Board of Education. This is very weird to me, as I had a very close relationship with my previous BoE
My memory fails me here. Are you hired by a dispatch agency or the BOE? If it's the dispatch, I would think it would be strange to have an office in a BOE. Other dispatch ALTs will have to confirm whether that is common practice.

Quote:
Also, there is a ridiculous amount of paperwork, and I must only stay at schools from a specific time to a specific time. If I am at a school for less than the time, my pay gets docked. If I am there for more, it is on my "own time." This seems odd, because I am salaried, not hourly. Neither my schools nor myself are particularly happy with the BoE about this.
I am surprised that you didn't know this up front. I'm not surprised at the appalling conditions, though.

Quote:
5) In less than a week, I have already determined there are serious communication issues between myself, Interac, the BoE, and the schools. This isn't exactly unexpected, but I think I am right to be concerned that if I am not constantly asking for clarification, I may cross a bureaucratic line. This will make the outside-of-class aspects of my position difficult to complete.
Pretty much a standard complaint about many dispatch agencies. Didn't you know this going in? I'm sorry, but I have no real solution to it, either.

Quote:
6) This area kind of sucks for shopping, despite the higher population versus my previous position. Not a work related gripe, just a gripe. It seems to me prices are higher, selection is worse.
Was there a chance you could have checked it out before moving in? Can you relocate? Who chose your accommodations?
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Kionon



Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Posts: 226
Location: Kyoto, Japan and Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:
Let's start with something more important. You have a visa, presumably, and are working at a job, yet you have no employment contract. Uh, why? They had to submit something resembling a contract to immigration in order to get your visa. Where is it?


Uhm. I've had my current visa since August of 2010. It is valid until August of 2013. I've had previous visas to that. I was only hired a week ago.

Quote:
Obviously, my feeling is that you should get it ASAP. It helps to protect both parties.


Of course. I keep sending them messages/texts/etc.

Quote:
Illegal non-compete clause? I honestly do not know whether it is illegal. What exactly does it say?


I don't know. I don't have a copy!

Quote:
That is most certainly against immigration regulations.


I am (recently) aware of this. This is precisely why they said they needed to change my visa and precisely why I agreed. If it is such a huge deal, why are they ignoring me?

Quote:
Sounds like a flaky way to run a business, but as long as you don't need it, shrug it off.


Well, I changed all of my documentation myself.

Quote:
My memory fails me here. Are you hired by a dispatch agency or the BOE? If it's the dispatch, I would think it would be strange to have an office in a BOE. Other dispatch ALTs will have to confirm whether that is common practice.


This is an Interac thread. I was hired by Interac. My previous position was also dispatch, not Interac, but in reality, I had little contact with my dispatch company unless something went wrong. I answered pretty much directly to my schools and to the BoE. And while I somewhat knew enough about itaku/hakken to think this was not "supposed" to be the case, it worked for everyone involved. I was also working on a Humanities visa, which, at the time, I did not know was illegal.

Quote:
I am surprised that you didn't know this up front. I'm not surprised at the appalling conditions, though.


Didn't know what? That the BoE here at this location is batshit insane? Why would I? My previous experience was with a BoE where I was in regular meetings with BoE officials and the process worked well. Why should I not be surprised by this?

Quote:
Pretty much a standard complaint about many dispatch agencies. Didn't you know this going in? I'm sorry, but I have no real solution to it, either.


Only by word of mouth, not from personal experience. It's not entirely unexpected because of what I have read about here and on other forums. This is the first time it has ever happened to me, however.

Quote:
Was there a chance you could have checked it out before moving in? Can you relocate? Who chose your accommodations?


I've been all around the city. It's not just my immediate area.

A note, aside from the question of the contract, I am not asking for solutions. Not really complaining, per se. I'm a big boy. OneJoelFifty asked for details, so I have him details.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kionon,
I would say that it is up to you to decide how important it is to work on the wrong visa and for Interac to drag its feet. They undoubtedly read forums like this, so there's a chance they will see this thread and respond. Personally, I doubt it.

If you yourself want things to change, and mere messages to the upper echelons fall on deaf ears, call in the Labor Standards Office. If you are unwilling to do that, then either file your half of the paperwork yourself and have immigration call Interac for the other half, or choose between working illegally and giving Interac an ultimatum.

Kionon wrote:
Didn't know what? That the BoE here at this location is batshit insane?
What is that supposed to mean, exactly? No, you wrote that "there is a ridiculous amount of paperwork, and I must only stay at schools from a specific time to a specific time. " I take it this is different from an earlier experience and on top of that, that nobody explained this difference to you?

Quote:
Quote:
Pretty much a standard complaint about many dispatch agencies. Didn't you know this going in? I'm sorry, but I have no real solution to it, either.


Only by word of mouth, not from personal experience. It's not entirely unexpected because of what I have read about here and on other forums. This is the first time it has ever happened to me, however.
Stick around, and I suspect it won't be the last.
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OneJoelFifty



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 463

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You said there's a lot of paperwork that might keep you at school late. Just marking, or something else? I'm interested to know what they have you doing extra to justify the higher salary.

Technically, almost everyone is salaried I think. But dispatch companies tend to assign a monetary value per hour for that salary, and use it to make deductions for lateness, etc.

Don't rock the boat when you've just got there and haven't even signed a contract yet. Focus on getting on well with the teachers and principal/vice principal at your school, and your students. Once you're settled in and your school like you, then you can start complaining if you want to.

Where are you living?


Last edited by OneJoelFifty on Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Kionon



Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Posts: 226
Location: Kyoto, Japan and Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:
I would say that it is up to you to decide how important it is to work on the wrong visa and for Interac to drag its feet.


Extremely important, given that I want permanent residency... I'm sure they do read these and other forums. I'm also under no illusion that they can figure out who I am. Again, I was asked for details, so I am giving details. This should help prospective Interac employees make a more informed decision. I think this is a good thing, and so should Interac...

Quote:
If you yourself want things to change, and mere messages to the upper echelons fall on deaf ears, call in the Labor Standards Office. If you are unwilling to do that, then either file your half of the paperwork yourself and have immigration call Interac for the other half, or choose between working illegally and giving Interac an ultimatum.


I won't (knowingly) work illegally. My process is going to be a bit different from the one you suggest here. I'm going to go back to my interviewer. If there should be no joy there, then I will file my half of the paperwork myself. If that doesn't work, then I will approach the Labor Standards Office. Without a doubt I am doing one or several things that are illegal, but not willingly, and not by design. I'm trying to make a good faith effort to meet my obligations, but it is difficult...

Quote:
What is that supposed to mean, exactly? No, you wrote that "there is a ridiculous amount of paperwork, and I must only stay at schools from a specific time to a specific time. "


I consider that "batshit insane." A reasonable amount of paperwork is... well, reasonable. It's not really the particular number of forms as much as what needs to be recorded. It is difficult to fill up the necessary documents with accurate information. Even with my high level of involvement, sometimes there is just plain downtime. The paperwork does not really recognise "downtime." I'm sorry, but no one is going to have two classes a day and then spend six hours planning lessons or grading or making posters. I'm pretty quick about that sort of thing, so there's always at least an hour or two, not including lunch, where I'm doing other things. It's not that I am not willing to do more, but many actions are time specific leading me to...

I can't stay past a certain time? How am I supposed to be involved in extracurricular activities? How am I supposed to supervise clubs? It'd be one thing if the schools didn't want me to be involved, but they do.

Quote:
I take it this is different from an earlier experience and on top of that, that nobody explained this difference to you?


This is different from my earlier experiences, and on top of that, nobody explained the difference to me. Or rather, they said, "this is the case, do it." No explanation at all. My conjecture is that it comes down to the contract between the BoE and Interac, and if my hours are not specifically circumscribed, Interac will demand more money. Pure guesswork on my part. It's possible, even plausible, that the BoE specifically wants to keep ALTs from appearing in any way like actual teachers/employees.

Quote:
Stick around, and I suspect it won't be the last.


I suspect you're right--which is why I want out of the dispatch game.
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OneJoelFifty



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 463

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kionon wrote:
I can't stay past a certain time? How am I supposed to be involved in extracurricular activities? How am I supposed to supervise clubs? It'd be one thing if the schools didn't want me to be involved, but they do.

This is different from my earlier experiences, and on top of that, nobody explained the difference to me. Or rather, they said, "this is the case, do it." No explanation at all. My conjecture is that it comes down to the contract between the BoE and Interac, and if my hours are not specifically circumscribed, Interac will demand more money. Pure guesswork on my part. It's possible, even plausible, that the BoE specifically wants to keep ALTs from appearing in any way like actual teachers/employees.


Are you sure this is the case? It's much more likely that it's "These are the hours you get paid for." I've never heard of ALTs being told they can't stay on their own time to get involved after school.
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Kionon



Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Posts: 226
Location: Kyoto, Japan and Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OneJoelFifty wrote:
You said there's a lot of paperwork that might keep you at school late. Just marking, or something else?


No, that is not what I said. There's a lot of paperwork that presents an unreasonable effort mostly because it is inaccurate. The paperwork does not match reality, which bothers me, because I don't like to sign my name (again, knowingly) to falsehoods.

Quote:
I'm interested to know what they have you doing extra to justify the higher salary.


This is an excellent question. I requested the higher salary based on what I did in my previous position, which I have described in some detail already. Club supervision, prepping for the eiken, helping with speech contests (this is the big one, I would sometimes be at the school for 10-12 hours). The schools always had the flexibility to send me home earlier one day so that I might stay significantly longer on another. I always went to Sports Days and Cultural Festivals, and those are usually on weekends. Sometimes I was even an active participant...

It seems unlikely I'll be able to do any of that "extra" stuff given the restrictions on my hours.

Quote:
Technically, almost everyone is salaried I think. But dispatch companies tend to assign a monetary value per hour for that salary, and use it to make deductions for lateness, etc.


In my previous positions if you were late more than a set number of times without good reason, you were simply fired. Or at least, told you would be. I don't think anyone was ever late more than once. I always arrive 15 minutes to half an hour early. Always have. In every position in every industry. As I was taught in the Navy, "if you're on time, you're late." I'm not really concerned about arriving early. I'm concerned about staying past the arbitrary (to me) ending time.

Quote:
Don't rock the boat when you've just got there and haven't even signed a contract yet. Focus on getting on well with the teachers and principal/vice principal at your school, and your students. Once you're settled in and your school like you, then you can start complaining if you want to.


I have no issues with the the staff or my students, and my lessons are fine. As I said, they're on my side about this. The BoE did not tell them anything about these restrictions. They were as shocked as I was.

Also, we've been involved in other conversations here, you know I am by definition a "boat rocker."

Quote:
Where are you living?


That's one detail I'd rather not give. If Interac is reading, the details I've provided are already enough for them.
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Tsian



Joined: 10 Jan 2012
Posts: 85

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I would definitely pressure them to have your paperwork prepared for a visa change ASAP, chances are immigration will not be overly upset if you are slightly late in applying for a visa change from one category to another, as you have been maintaining appropriate employment.

That said, every situation is different.

As for a desk at the BoE... having one (or even spending much time at all at the BoE) would surprise me. I've not heard many (any?) stories of dispatch ALTs having BoE desks.

Personally, I am a direct hire, but I have been to the city office a total of 3 times, and met with my BoE supervisor about 6 times (most of them being when he visited my school on patrol or with paperwork). (That said, some direct hire positions include BoE desk time too.).

If you want to help with clubs and other such things (and your school is willing to let you do so) then by all means do so. Just don't expect to be reimbursed for the time (and don't try writing it on your time card). If you view it as off the clock volunteer work, you should be fine (incidentally, it's technically volunteer work for the full-time teachers as well -- their contracts are probably 8-4:30).

However I suspect it is rather unlikely that you, as a dispatch ALT, will be asked to supervise any clubs (though if you have a good relationship with some of the teachers, you can probably help out with a club without problem)
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Kionon



Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Posts: 226
Location: Kyoto, Japan and Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OneJoelFifty wrote:
Are you sure this is the case? It's much more likely that it's "These are the hours you get paid for." I've never heard of ALTs being told they can't stay on their own time to get involved after school.


I was certainly told if I stay longer it was "on my own time," but if I leave early, I will have to either mark it down on my paperwork as not having left early (which I strongly oppose) or I will be docked. So my options are either be inflexible or be untruthful. I'm not even opposed to, "You can't leave early for any reason," but that isn't what I was told either.

I don't really care how the accounting is done internally, I just want to be able to do my job, in as little or as long as it takes me to do it, without worrying about my pay being docked or being unable to serve the needs of my students.

My concern is not getting the paperwork right and getting on the BoE's bad side losing money and still not doing my best for my students.
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Kionon



Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Posts: 226
Location: Kyoto, Japan and Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tsian wrote:
While I would definitely pressure them to have your paperwork prepared for a visa change ASAP, chances are immigration will not be overly upset if you are slightly late in applying for a visa change from one category to another, as you have been maintaining appropriate employment.


Not exactly. I've been out of work for a while, because I was finishing my MA. I know I need a letter of resignation from my previous employer. I told immigration more than once that I was working on my MA in the US, and I was never told my visa would be invalidated. I was certainly prepared for it.

Quote:
That said, every situation is different.


Welcome to Japan.

Quote:
As for a desk at the BoE... having one (or even spending much time at all at the BoE) would surprise me. I've not heard many (any?) stories of dispatch ALTs having BoE desks.


You have now!

Quote:
Personally, I am a direct hire, but I have been to the city office a total of 3 times, and met with my BoE supervisor about 6 times (most of them being when he visited my school on patrol or with paperwork). (That said, some direct hire positions include BoE desk time too.).


I only dealt with my dispatch company if things went wrong. When they went right, as was 99.9% of the time, I might as well have been direct hire.

Quote:
If you want to help with clubs and other such things (and your school is willing to let you do so) then by all means do so. Just don't expect to be reimbursed for the time (and don't try writing it on your time card). If you view it as off the clock volunteer work, you should be fine (incidentally, it's technically volunteer work for the full-time teachers as well -- their contracts are probably 8-4:30).


I've never had a time card exactly. Just a day card. 8:20 to 4:30 was my stated hours in the contract, but I never actually wrote "8:20.... 4:30..." I just wrote, "here." I would usually get there at eight, leave around five, unless it was Speech Contest time. If I left before one, I had to go to my desk at the BoE. If I left after one, I could go home with the understanding that once Speech Contest rolled around, I'd be there until seven or eight at night--and I'd probably have come in at seven or seven thirty in the morning too. Speech Contest and Eiken prep were written into my contract, part of my yearly responsibilities. I couldn't very well have met those responsibilities if I left at 4:30 on the dot every day.

Quote:
However I suspect it is rather unlikely that you, as a dispatch ALT, will be asked to supervise any clubs (though if you have a good relationship with some of the teachers, you can probably help out with a club without problem)


Except for the fact that I spent years doing just that.
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Tsian



Joined: 10 Jan 2012
Posts: 85

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wait, so you were dispatch before when you had a desk at the BoE. Interesting to hear -- sorry for some reason I thought you had been direct hire.

May I ask, what club were you supervising? Were you regularly the only teaching watching over them? I must say, it sounds like you really did have a good situation.

I suspect that Interac would frown on you leaving early... the general rule seems to be (and I would say this isn't limited to dispatch hires or even to the English teaching realm) that while you are more than welcome to stay late, leaving early is not really accepted.

---

As for immigration... I've heard various interpretations of what you would need to do to lose your visa, with 6 months of no work being one often raised figure. That said, as long as you submit all the proper paperwork for your change of status (preferably including an explanation) you will probably be fine.
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Kionon



Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Posts: 226
Location: Kyoto, Japan and Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tsian wrote:
Wait, so you were dispatch before when you had a desk at the BoE. Interesting to hear -- sorry for some reason I thought you had been direct hire.


The company only has two branches, they're essentially franchises, and my branch was essentially the "owner" of the franchise, and then all of the ALTs. I wasn't technically direct hire, but in reality? I was direct hire. The BoE told me they would direct hire me with a temporary teaching license as soon as I got into a Japanese university earning my full teaching license. I'm pretty much looking at going back in April. I just couldn't do it because of the MA.

Quote:
May I ask, what club were you supervising? Were you regularly the only teaching watching over them? I must say, it sounds like you really did have a good situation.


Art Club, and as far as I could tell, yes. The art teacher was also part time, so you might say it was 50/50, but as far as I am aware, there was no full time teacher supervisor. It was the two of us, and myself most often, even on days she was present. They didn't really need much supervising. I mostly just sat at the desk in the room and drew manga characters with them.

At another school, I taught trombone to ichinensei, as I first went to school to be get a Music Ed degree, but ended up with English instead.

Quote:
I suspect that Interac would frown on you leaving early... the general rule seems to be (and I would say this isn't limited to dispatch hires or even to the English teaching realm) that while you are more than welcome to stay late, leaving early is not really accepted.


Interac doesn't care. The BoE cares. Or so that was what I was told. The problem is, if you don't balance it out, you could easily end up working like 60 hours a week or more...

...welcome to Japan?

Quote:
As for immigration... I've heard various interpretations of what you would need to do to lose your visa, with 6 months of no work being one often raised figure. That said, as long as you submit all the proper paperwork for your change of status (preferably including an explanation) you will probably be fine.


It was longer than that, and I addressed it with immigration at every border crossing. I did keep paying my taxes and I did renew my drivers license. All immigration ever said was, "Oh, it has been a long time, hasn't it?" Then they would stamp me in as normal.
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