PDA

View Full Version : The Unbiased Truth About Nova



Maciamo
Jun 2, 2004, 18:28
This thread is dedicated to the discussion of the article The Unbiased Truth About Nova (http://www.wa-pedia.com/practical/teaching_at_nova.shtml) written by Brooker.

Brooker
Jun 2, 2004, 19:25
Thanks for posting the article Maciamo! I hope people find it useful.

PaulTB
Jun 2, 2004, 19:31
This thread is dedicated to the discussion of the article The Unbiased Truth About Nova (http://www.wa-pedia.com/practical/teaching_at_nova.shtml) written by Brooker.
First impression - before having read it - any article titled "The Unbiased Truth About" isn't. :p

Buddha Smoker
Jun 2, 2004, 20:20
I love hearing all the stories about Nova and reading the articles....It's nice to see the mixed opinions of companies like Nova....I just don't care for those companies but that is my opinion. I have met people who absolutely love Nova which is good because it means they enjoy it.

PaulTB
Jun 2, 2004, 21:40
Well after having read the article the only think I think it lacks is addressing some of the common NOVA (rumours/slanders).

A little section of Q & A's like ...

"Q. I've heard that ____ is that true?"

with a short statement as to whether (to his knowledge) it (has no foundation/is possible/happens).

This site A guide for those considering teaching English for Nova in Japan (vocaro.com/trevor/japan/nova/level_up.html) addresses common 'NOVA Myths'.

I found this news article (www.japantoday.com/e/?content=news&cat=1&id=297100) in a quick Google search.
- American teacher takes Nova to court over dismissal

Buddha Smoker
Jun 2, 2004, 21:58
I think one of my favorite parts was this.


Being a Gaijin in Japan
The experience of living in a foreign country always comes in three stages :

Stage #1: Euphoria - Everything is so new and exciting. Even going to the supermarket is an adventure.

Stage #2: Depression - This is mostly caused by missing Stage #1 as it fades away. This stage is short, but very intense.

Stage #3: Acceptance - In time you become comfortable in your new surroundings.

I've seen this is so many cases. Never happened to me and this is my home now but I find it amusing even though it might not be.

playaa
Jun 2, 2004, 22:57
I went through each stage of the above, but I wouldnt say depression lol..

Arch
Jun 2, 2004, 23:10
Wow thx for posting that ! great info , espicially as im looking for that sorta thing in japan. I have heard all sorts from Nova. I dint know teachers werent alowed to sorta hang out with students. My friend dint have a good time with nove, maybe that because he dated one the students !. However im looking for a temp work experience placement i guess, and it isnt proving easy, however im sending e-mails to quite a few companies.

Brooker
Jun 3, 2004, 06:31
Wow, what a response! Thanks everyone!

PaulTB wrote....

Well after having read the article the only think I think it lacks is addressing some of the common NOVA (rumours/slanders).

To be honest, I'm not familiar with what all the rumors and slanders may be (they certainly didn't want to spread that kind of thing around while I was working there) or I would have addressed them. If you have any particular examples, I'd be happy to address them here.

Playaa wrote....

I went through each stage of the above, but I wouldnt say depression lol..

A friend of mine who'd lived abroad told me about "the stages" before I went to Japan. It could have been a self forfilled prophecy (which I kind of doubt) but when it did happen to me just like he said it would it helped me to understand what I was feeling and helped me to not feel like I was going crazy. I remember thinking, "This is terrible, going to the supermarket does nothing for me now!"

Buddha Smoker
Jun 3, 2004, 06:52
Wow, what a response! Thanks everyone!

PaulTB wrote....


To be honest, I'm not familiar with what all the rumors and slanders may be (they certainly didn't want to spread that kind of thing around while I was working there) or I would have addressed them. If you have any particular examples, I'd be happy to address them here.

Playaa wrote....


A friend of mine who'd lived abroad told me about "the stages" before I went to Japan. It could have been a self forfilled prophecy (which I kind of doubt) but when it did happen to me just like he said it would it helped me to understand what I was feeling and helped me to not feel like I was going crazy. I remember thinking, "This is terrible, going to the supermarket does nothing for me now!"

I know the adjustion to Japan can be difficult for most foreigners just because it's not what they are used to. Also, if it takes a while to make friends then I can understand why the depression sets in. The thing is to make friends and enjoy yourself while you are here but enjoy yourself in a mannerly way too.

I've seen tons of my friends go through the depression stage...I never had any problems but everybody is not like me either.

budd
Jun 3, 2004, 09:31
i was depressed when i CAME BACK to america (the first time, i deal with it better now)

Mandylion
Jun 3, 2004, 13:16
Just a small correction, under the "Conclusion" section, JET is listed as a "other large company" along with Berlitz, ECC, and the rest.

JET is a government program run in partnership with a private organization and local administrative bodies (like most setups in the Japanese government) and the wages are paid from taxes, like any other public servant. JET is not a profit oriented organization like NOVA etc.

Not a big point, but it might save some Google users a bit of confusion.

Otherwise, great article Brooker :-)

BlogD
Jun 6, 2004, 19:41
Re: NOVA--from what I have picked up from speaking a a good number of people who taught at NOVA schools (including my sister-in-law, who worked at two different branches), the chain is somewhat of a hit-or-miss proposition. Many NOVA schools are clean, well-operated and respectable; many, however, are as bad as the stories you hear. My sister-in-law, for example, worked for one of the better branches at her second office, but her first was a mess. Many of the "slanders" were in fact true, and the biggest problem was the complete lack of professionalism among the teachers and the "meat market" attitude that the students were open for sexual pursuit.

Other basic problems annoyed many people, especially those who were familiar with better terms at many other language schools. Probationary salary, being docked for sick days, and other cutbacks in the early 90's that were likely prompted by the economic recession and collapse of the market which many schools were deeply involved in (e.g., the "Bilingual" school).

Personally, I lost respect for NOVA back in the whole drug-testing dispute. One teacher who worked for a Kyoto branch was caught with marijuana and arrested in 1994. NOVA thereafter required their teachers to undergo drug testing. IMHO, that's a huge no-no. It assumes guilt on the part of any and all teachers; it is an invasion of privacy; and worst, at a time when Japanese saw foreigners as being criminals and drug addicts, it reinforced that stereotype and affirmed discriminatory beliefs. Teachers who failed to comply were either fired or let go at the end of that contract (as compliance with drug testing was introduced as part of the new contract).

That policy prompted the formation of a union which still exists to this day (find the web site here (http://www.novaunion.com/).) Having worked at two institutions that suffered union organizations, I am rather strongly adverse to such organizations as they form here in Japan for schools--they tend to filled with angry, petty and vindictive people who are more interested in revenge and vitriol than in finding solutions. But if I had been a NOVA teacher at that time, I likely would have joined.

And as distasteful as unions are, they do tend to force the schools to clean up their act--though a side-effect is often over-regulation and a complete lack of flexibility. But it may be that if NOVA is a better place to work today, the union may be one of the reasons why.

Another point about NOVA is the whole McSchools issue. I earned a degree in TESOL and have some respect for educational standards, and from what I have heard, NOVA is not the best place for real learning. And it is possible--I worked for two different conversation schools that actually took the entire issue seriously, hiring people with real training and experience, sending teachers and staff to TESOL conventions, holding teacher meetings to discuss improvement of the curriculum. Maybe NOVA does this nowadays, I don't know--but they certainly did not do this always.


-------------------

Re: stages of acceptance in a new foreign home--that's a very normal and universally accepted set of stages, I remember discussing the exact same thing when I first moved to Japan, and I am sure people have noted it for a long time.

What I find less discussed but even more important is terms of motivation in regards to integration. Those who come to a new country to make money and leave (or other such reward-driven motives) can be said to have "instrumental" motivation; those who come and immerse themselves in the new culture, learn the language, make native friends, etc., can be said to be working under "integrational" motivation.

Ever known your teaching co-workers in Japan to be highly insular, only going out to pubs and places with their gaijin friends, not learning the language or really knowing the people, and saving as much as they can for going back home? These tend to be the same people who are incessantly immersed in *****-and-moan sessions about how bad Japan is and what's wrong with Japan. People who come to the country just to get paid and don't try to integrate, in my observation, tend to be almost universally unhappy in Japan and negative about their experiences in general.

Contrast that to those who integrate, take on a Japanese hobby, learn the language, make friends--they tend to be highly positive and enjoy life in Japan.

So if you plan to come--or if you are here and find yourself in the former group described above--do your best to learn, accept, immerse and integrate. It will almost certainly improve your experience here.

Just my two cents.

Brooker
Jun 7, 2004, 04:58
BlogD wrote....

Personally, I lost respect for NOVA back in the whole drug-testing dispute. One teacher who worked for a Kyoto branch was caught with marijuana and arrested in 1994. NOVA thereafter required their teachers to undergo drug testing.

My understanding was that Nova tried to institute drug testing, but was never allowed to for some legal reasons. Throughout my time at Nova, I never heard any mention of drug testing.


That policy prompted the formation of a union which still exists to this day

Wow, I had no idea Nova had a union. That's weird. I never joined or paid any dues (to my knowledge) because I didn't know it existed. None of my bosses or coworkers ever mentioned anything about a union. I wonder if it's either something they try to keep quiet or if it's just that the union is very ineffectual.


Another point about NOVA is the whole McSchools issue.

I do think this is one of the main drawbacks of Nova.


Contrast that to those who integrate, take on a Japanese hobby, learn the language, make friends--they tend to be highly positive and enjoy life in Japan.

Well said. It's all about your motivations and attitude. I felt that only a small percentage of complaints about Japan were legitimate and the rest came from people in the "instrumental" group.

senseiman
Jun 7, 2004, 11:42
From an article in the Japan Times, it seems that NOVA's drug testing policy is still on the books, though thanks to the formation of the union and an Osaka bar association ruling against it, it has never been used.

I'm not surprised a lot of NOVA employees haven't heard of the union, the company does its best to supress knowledge of it by transferring or not renewing the contracts of employees involved in union activities. I've read quite a bit about it here:

www.letsjapan.org

Blue 3
Jun 28, 2004, 19:06
Hello.

My first post here. I've been lurking for quite some time and I thought I'd post something concrete. But before that, I'd like to thank Brooker for a fine job with the Article. I'm an English teacher, currently working for Nova. I've been working there for 3 years, I'm on my fourth. I've only lived in Kyushu so I don't really know how it is in Honshu and other places.

Anyway, we just recently got official word that Nova will be updating it's Textbook by October.

That's all.

senseiman
Jun 28, 2004, 19:35
.

Anyway, we just recently got official word that Nova will be updating it's Textbook by October.

That's all.

Isn't the book they use now so old that it has references to the Soviet Union and Bay City Rollers in it? Does updating mean getting a new kind of textbook or just a slightly less out of date version of the old one? Curious minds want to know!

Blue 3
Jun 28, 2004, 19:43
I should add that I haven't used it yet. I'm sure that they tested in somewhere in Tokyo and/or Osaka. Maybe someone else can follow up on that. There is a phase out period which, I assume, means that it would be fairly similar to the old book structure wise.

Yes, it's true...There are references to the Bay City Rollers and even smoking sections on Airplanes.

I'll update when we receive a copy.

Ewok85
Jun 29, 2004, 02:00
NOVA thereafter required their teachers to undergo drug testing. IMHO, that's a huge no-no.
If you have nothing to hide then wheres the problem? I'd be there the next day with a bucket of my own fluids willing to let them test it to pieces (oops did i spill it on you? sorry. OH god, all over the floor now, ah well, i'll bring some more tomorrow. No? Its ok?)

I found the union a while back while looking for info about Japanese work laws (knowledge is power and all that). Seems like a good deal to me :cool:

Edit: I did like this bit "Don't work for Nova if you have claustrophobia"
Now Japan is hell on earth for people with claustrophobia. I remember being in the foreign teachers lounge in a Japanese High School during lunch, myself and a friend, 2 same aged Jet teachers from england, first week in Japan, and the 45yr old verteran American teacher. He was a legend. Anyway, so were chatting away cramped into this tiny room full with filing cabinets and 3 desks jammed in. Barney, the american is writing notes and us others are gasbagging away (talking) when a small earthquake hits. These young american girls FREAK OUT and start looking around as if the roof would cave in. Barney doesn't even look up and put his hand out and supports the filing cabinets from falling down until the quake stops and then goes back to work. Myself and Julien just laugh at Barney's non-reaction and these green English girls freaking out over a small earthquake! :D

Blue 3
Jun 29, 2004, 15:50
Regarding Schedules:

Actually, there are 3 shifts available at the moment for full-time teachers.

Early Shift 10:00 - 5:40
Middle Shift 11:40 - 7:20
Late Shift 13:20 - 9:00

with 2 consecutive days as days off.

This i know to be company wide with certain exceptions. For example, some Nova Branches are inside shopping malls that close earlier or open later. Another example is when the school is not that popular which means that it's closed certain days. This means that the teachers will be working at another branch nearby.

There are options for people who do not have their University diploma. They can work Part-time. This means that they are a different contract very similar to a working holiday contract. The shifts that are available to them are as follows:

Flex Shift 5:00 - 9:00

Usually, Tuesday to Saturday. In some places they work a full-time shift on Saturdays as overtime.

The contract is very different between the Full-time Teacher and the Part-time teacher. PT teachers make less money but they have more free time to find themselves. PT teachers are more available to do overtime which can add up if the demand exists. There are usually more OT in the Big Cities.

People who've been with Nova after a while tend to get the shifts they want. Some teachers like "Titled Instructors" and other trained teachers don't have to teach a 8 regular lessons. They sometimes teach Toeic or Travel or Business classes or Kids or Voice(freestyle conversation). Smaller schools typically have plenty of free lessons to go around for everyone.

I'm tired, i'll write more about vacations later.

Brooker
Jun 29, 2004, 18:18
Blue 3 wrote....

I'd like to thank Brooker for a fine job with the Article. I'm an English teacher, currently working for Nova. I've been working there for 3 years, I'm on my fourth.

Thanks. I'm glad you liked it. :balloon:


Actually, there are 3 shifts available at the moment for full-time teachers.

The schools where I worked didn't offer the middle shift. Is that a new thing?


There are options for people who do not have their University diploma. They can work Part-time.

My roommate was a part-timer. I think he had a diploma, but going part-time allowed him to get hired earlier in his case. He had a lot of free time and saved a lot of money (he, in particular, was very motivated to do so) and he did overtime whenever he could.

Ewok 85 wrote....

If you have nothing to hide then wheres the problem?

I've heard this argument many times and it fails to "hold water" with me. Lack of guilt doesn't mean that your privacy and rights should be sacrificed. Like the Patriot Act (kind of a tangeant here), but if the government, or anyone, wants to bug your house they'd better go through the appropriate steps. If the power and control of the company you work for is not limited, the company will surely be happy to watch over and control every aspect of your life if given the chance. I've taken drug tests for jobs before (without incident) but I don't like the idea that standing up for your rights and privacy is sometimes viewed as being some kind of admission of guilt, when, if you believe in something, you should stand up for it whether you're guilty or not. If there's a good reason to suspect an employee is using drugs (because it's affecting his/her work performance or something) a test might be in order, but testing everyone automatically seems a little paranoid.

Ewok85
Jun 29, 2004, 22:45
Lack of guilt doesn't mean that your privacy and rights should be sacrificed.
They want you to pee into a cup man! Is that too much to ask?
If they test everyone and it comes up negative what have you lost? Not alot. Whats the company lost? A fair bit of money from having to run all these tests and looking stupid at a huge pointless exercise.

m477
Jun 29, 2004, 23:59
Yeah seriously, WTF is wrong with a drug test? You people realize that every time you change jobs for the rest of your life you will probably have to take a drug test? I'm starting to believe that the people that complain the most about NOVA would say the same things about ANY job because it hasn't really hit them that they aren't in college anymore.

PaulTB
Jun 30, 2004, 00:23
Yeah seriously, WTF is wrong with a drug test?
Depends whether you like poppy seeds on your roll or not...

http://www.a1b2c3.com/drugs/test2.htm

Brooker
Jun 30, 2004, 12:21
Ewok85 wrote....

They want you to pee into a cup man! Is that too much to ask?

I don't really take issue with drug tests (although I don't see the point in automatically testing everyone) what I took issue with is the line of reasoning you used.


If you have nothing to hide then wheres the problem?

To make a parallel to another issue.... I'm not a terrorist, but I still don't think the books I check out should be traced, my home should be bugged, my movements should be monitored, etc. I'm not one to think that the government is watching me, but I believe in protecting the rights of myself and others. Also, if you're not a drug user and they have no reason to suspect you of being one, why should you have to bother to take the test?

But this is way off topic, if you'd like to continue this, maybe we should do so elsewhere.

PaulTB
Jun 30, 2004, 18:19
Also, if you're not a drug user and they have no reason to suspect you of being one, why should you have to bother to take the test?
Found the following on false positive rates.

http://community.healthgate.com/GetContent.asp?siteid=ucsd&docid=/healthy/athlete/2001/drugtest/drugtest

"Approximately 30-50% of all positive results are false-positives, meaning that the test found the presence of illicit drugs even though none were taken."

Frankly that's beyond normal suckage into the bloody stupid range.

metqa
Jul 1, 2004, 09:30
I worked for Nova for a year, never heard of Union or drug testing. But OMG, some of the people should be screened for decency and sanity. You're right that the big city schools often have people who want to move up. And some are willing to "date" their way to the top. (I really wanna give names but that wouldn't be right wouldn it :D )

They really are a business, and you are lucky if the people in charge are caring otherwise you get your job threaten if you call in sick. My school told me that my probation would be extended for another month, even though I was sick with the flu and the runs (which I got from a sick student).

I want to go back to Japan, I would probably use Nova again, to get in and then get out as soon as possible it it got nasty again. The guy in charge of our group didn't even offer to renew my contract because I didn't get along with his chinese Aussie girlfriend who insulted every other teacher and spread lies and rumors and tried to make others feel bad. I stood up for the other teacher because they were good people from America and Australia and England and we all got along except for her. Oh well. I heard she dumped him for the head teacher.

As far as drug test and false positive. I know of a poor young navy fellow who loved to eat the lemon poppy bagels from the morning vendor, and he tested positive for opiates or something. This poor guy was like the biggest "boy scout" and he was devastated. Lucky for him they figured it out, but now the vendor is not allowed to sell his lemon poppy bagels anymore, and they were the best!

Blue 3
Jul 3, 2004, 19:13
Blue 3 wrote....


Thanks. I'm glad you liked it. :balloon:



The schools where I worked didn't offer the middle shift. Is that a new thing?




As far as I know it's been around since 2001. That's when I started working for them. I also know it's company-wide because it was in the "Introduction to Nova" booklet that every new teacher gets upon employment.

Brooker
Jul 4, 2004, 09:06
The first school I worked at was really small and that may be the reason why there were only two shifts. The second school was big, but I probably just wasn't paying any attention to any shift except mine. :p

PopCulturePooka
Jul 8, 2004, 15:21
I disagree with your section regarding the no interaction policy.


Preventing teachers sexing students? Thats fine (although I would argue that its still imposing on the private lifes of teachers and I assmume adult students).

Saying a teacher can't go to an english speaking dentist, or play basketball with a group of guys or talk too someone on the train or get help doing something really difficiult at the post office because the other person or people are NOVA students? Out right bollocks.

Heh, not that it matters. The majority of teachers DO socialise with students to some degree. From basketball, gym buddies and dentists to dirty dirty bedroom gymnastics.

Blue 3
Jul 9, 2004, 02:10
I disagree with your section regarding the no interaction policy.


Preventing teachers sexing students? Thats fine (although I would argue that its still imposing on the private lifes of teachers and I assmume adult students).

Saying a teacher can't go to an english speaking dentist, or play basketball with a group of guys or talk too someone on the train or get help doing something really difficiult at the post office because the other person or people are NOVA students? Out right bollocks.



I really don't think that the "no socialization" policy applies to this case. Nova hands out discount coupons for lessons for teachers' families every year. Does this mean that Nova wants to separate teachers from their families who are interested in studying English?

I question most people's knowledge about the socialization policy before making judgements about it. Because it seems that nobody knows enough about it. It's true that teachers socialize with students. But i don't think they would get fired unless it leads to Nova having a bad image. As with any company from any country, image is a commodity. What would the implications of having a relationship with a student outside of NOVa be?

If you worked for NOVA, weren't you told of the no socialization policy in orientation? Why wouldn't you quit if you didn't agree with it? At that point you would have had the Visa anyway. Couldn't you make friends outside of work?

For the cases above, I'm sure that upon notifying the AAM about the case, I wouldn't think that the teacher would be in trouble. I wouldn't think that they would fire you just because you happen you didn't realize your friend's mom was a Nova student.

And another thing, the policy doesn't just apply to Teachers. The staff are also discouraged to hook up with the teachers or students.

PopCulturePooka
Jul 9, 2004, 09:36
I really don't think that the "no socialization" policy applies to this case. Nova hands out discount coupons for lessons for teachers' families every year. Does this mean that Nova wants to separate teachers from their families who are interested in studying English?

I question most people's knowledge about the socialization policy before making judgements about it. Because it seems that nobody knows enough about it. It's true that teachers socialize with students. But i don't think they would get fired unless it leads to Nova having a bad image. As with any company from any country, image is a commodity. What would the implications of having a relationship with a student outside of NOVa be?

If you worked for NOVA, weren't you told of the no socialization policy in orientation? Why wouldn't you quit if you didn't agree with it? At that point you would have had the Visa anyway. Couldn't you make friends outside of work?

For the cases above, I'm sure that upon notifying the AAM about the case, I wouldn't think that the teacher would be in trouble. I wouldn't think that they would fire you just because you happen you didn't realize your friend's mom was a Nova student.

And another thing, the policy doesn't just apply to Teachers. The staff are also discouraged to hook up with the teachers or students.
Case in point. A student of ours is an ex-Judge. Very respected.

He was getting conferred by the emperor and invited one of our teachers to the ceremony as she had helped him alot over the years. Like this is a BIG thing.
The teaher was worried. Declining an invite such as this would be considered very rude, yet going would be a break of rules.
She asked the branch AT what she should do. He told her she should tear up the invite and forget about it. She kinda hmmmmmm'ed at the idea and didn't bring it up again. Few days later the AAM calls her, saying she found out the teacher got an invite to this official thing. Then reminded the teacher of the rule and the penalties for breaking it.

In the end the teacher decided it was much ruder to decline the invite then not.

Now how was going to an event such as this threatening NOVA to the point where an AT got involved?


Regarding making friends outside the classroom. Your young, you don't speak any Japanese (NOVA told you it wasn't needed), you're not a heavy party-goer etc. Where do you find friends who you can communicate with? Personal ads? Had bad experiences with them ones back home. The very few language exchanges I had seemed one sided. More english teaching than Nihongo, not really a friendship thing. Instead you have a place full of people you know can communicate well in english, some who want too be freinds.

But you cant because of a rule that can't be fully justified.

Sure you may not get fired the first time. But theres still diciplinary action too be had.

I said somehwere here that I agree shagging students may be too far, but NOVA's rule is ZERO interaction. Why can't NOVA do what the other schools do? Have a socialisation rule that allows for friendship etc but requests teachers deal with students in a professional manner?

Re: The fmaily vouchers. I saw them and I was confused. I asked the AT about it and he mumbled not knowing for sure but was pretty sure they were for staff only, not teachers.

Blue 3
Jul 9, 2004, 10:24
Case in point. A student of ours is an ex-Judge. Very respected.

He was getting conferred by the emperor and invited one of our teachers to the ceremony as she had helped him alot over the years. Like this is a BIG thing.

[edited]

Now how was going to an event such as this threatening NOVA to the point where an AT got involved?



So let's say that this teacher is allowed to go to this event. An invite, I'm assuming, was made within NOVA. And a teacher from the same school then get's invited by a student to coffee because the student has a crush on the teacher. And they fancy each other. How would this look? Should the first case be exempted just because "this is a Big Thing"?




Regarding making friends outside the classroom. Your young, you don't speak any Japanese (NOVA told you it wasn't needed), you're not a heavy party-goer etc. Where do you find friends who you can communicate with? Personal ads? Had bad experiences with them ones back home. The very few language exchanges I had seemed one sided. More english teaching than Nihongo, not really a friendship thing. Instead you have a place full of people you know can communicate well in english, some who want too be freinds.



Making friends is easy, finding good friends takes time. Let's not forget that other teachers make friends out of school all the time. Take one of the members here for example who just went out to a bar by herself and made a lot of friends at the end of it. I don't think that you would be fired or reprimanded if a friend you made outside of Nova ended up being a student. But you should cover your *** and tell your AAM.




But you cant because of a rule that can't be fully justified.

Sure you may not get fired the first time. But theres still diciplinary action too be had.

I said somehwere here that I agree shagging students may be too far, but NOVA's rule is ZERO interaction. Why can't NOVA do what the other schools do? Have a socialisation rule that allows for friendship etc but requests teachers deal with students in a professional manner?


I would really want some documentation on it because it seems to me that the rule is like the Bible being interpreted in so many ways. And different AAM's have different takes on it. And people are afraid to ask about it.



Re: The fmaily vouchers. I saw them and I was confused. I asked the AT about it and he mumbled not knowing for sure but was pretty sure they were for staff only, not teachers.

I'll post a copy when I find one.

PopCulturePooka
Jul 9, 2004, 11:08
So let's say that this teacher is allowed to go to this event. An invite, I'm assuming, was made within NOVA. And a teacher from the same school then get's invited by a student to coffee because the student has a crush on the teacher. And they fancy each other. How would this look? Should the first case be exempted just because "this is a Big Thing"?
Who cares how it looks? They are consenting adults I assume and as long as its coffee and mainly harmless what right does NOVA have to tell teachers, and students, what they can and cant do in their spare time if its not breaking laws?

However I think the two situations are different. One is a casual invite for coffee. One is a formal invite to a formal ceremony where a denial would look incredibly rude and I think impact for more negatively on NOVA then going would.



Making friends is easy, finding good friends takes time. Let's not forget that other teachers make friends out of school all the time. Take one of the members here for example who just went out to a bar by herself and made a lot of friends at the end of it. I don't think that you would be fired or reprimanded if a friend you made outside of Nova ended up being a student. But you should cover your *** and tell your AAM. Like I said, if you're not a bar going type? Non-drinker?
Granted I am, but then I'm also shy to the point where I don't go alone and find it very difficult to talk to people, especially when theres language barriers involved.
If I go with my foreign friends, well they are... sukebe. Going out with them isn't too make friends, its to do dirty things to horny Japanese girls.

Oh and If I do make a friend who HAPPENS to be a nova student elsewhere (or lapsed to a point) and tel my AAM all the will say is 'break of the friendship'. Knowing my AAM thats a given.

Mind you I find the idea of banning interaction with any student regardless of what branch they go too even more ridiculous then the rest of NOVA's rule. How any bad can come of me going out with a student who goes to a school hours away from mine that I will step foot into is beyond me.




I would really want some documentation on it because it seems to me that the rule is like the Bible being interpreted in so many ways. And different AAM's have different takes on it. And people are afraid to ask about it.
Therein lies one of the problems. Its unfairly and unevenly applied. My friend must refuse official and important invites. Another teacher at another school gets told by her AT that she is being to social and friendly with students. That walking with them when she goes to get lunch is BAD and she must stop. Yet the same AT freely admits to drinking with a 19 year old student when he is approaching 50.




I'll post a copy when I find one.
cool

senseiman
Jul 9, 2004, 22:38
I agree with firsthousepooka. No matter what way you look at this rule, it is complete nonsense. Its also counterproductive both for teachers, students and NOVA. I've worked as a teacher in Japan for a little over four years, never with NOVA, and I've found that a lot of my best memories are of times spent with students outside of the class. It also gives the students extra opportunities to speak English, which increases their satisfaction and in turn increases the profitability of the school. In a sensibly run school (relatively speaking) everyone wins.

But NOVA is run by assholes. The only reason NOVA has this stupid rule is because they have the biggest rip-off way of selling classes to students. Most other schools have structured courses and schedules and students sign up to take a specific course with a specific curriculum lasting a specific amount of time. But at NOVA they just sell tickets that can be used for any type of lesson the student wants at any time they want within a limited period of time. There is no curriculum to speak of, no real course of study for students to follow and most of the lessons just descend into free conversations completely devoid of any purpose. If they allowed teachers to interact with students in their free time, what would be the motivation for students to pay money to NOVA for 'free time conversation lessons' when they can get the same thing for free by making friends with the teachers? Most other schools attempt to offer something of educational value, but at NOVA they don't even seem to make any pretense that what they offer is of value. The reason they ban social interaction is so that they can monopolize it and turn it into a commodity they can sell to their students. All that bullshiit about not understanding each others cultures or wanting to avoid trouble is just laughable.

NOVA is a crap company, completely rotten to the core.

Brooker
Jul 10, 2004, 08:51
I must admit, as a teacher, I never liked the no socialization policy. I wanted to be able to make friends with the students and I think I would have gotten more out of my time in Japan if I had.

senseiman wrote....

a lot of my best memories are of times spent with students outside of the class.

On the other hand, I can understand why Nova would want to have that rule. It's true, Nova doesn't really care if you make friends while you're in Japan and for them there's less potential for problems if you don't socialize with students than there is if you do. And a huge company like Nova isn't going to want to bother to deal with these things case to case, it's so much easier for them to just make a blanket policy that you can't socialize with students under any circumstance.

I'm not someone who would abuse being able to socialize with students, but I knew some gaijin who were in Japan to have sex with Japanese girls and a no socialization policy might slow them down a bit. Teachers aggressively hitting on students in class is just creepy. I know it doesn't always happen when teachers are allowed to socialize with students, but it does happen.

PopCulturePooka
Jul 10, 2004, 10:26
I'm not someone who would abuse being able to socialize with students, but I knew some gaijin who were in Japan to have sex with Japanese girls and a no socialization policy might slow them down a bit. Teachers aggressively hitting on students in class is just creepy. I know it doesn't always happen when teachers are allowed to socialize with students, but it does happen.
Truse me, it happens anyway.

All you need is a man to man with a student or to 'accidently' take the elevator with them and you have your window.

davis2000
Nov 28, 2004, 21:00
I found the unbiased truth article a little naive. You only need to read the Nova Union websight or to have been a victim of Nova management to know that it is not always a genki experience working for this language school. During the induction process you are warned that if anything goes wrong with a student and they accuse you of wrongdoing, that Nova will always side with the student. Fine, so they warn you. But when a psycho decides to accuse a teacher of something and you are transferred schools and not offered another contract, it really irritates you. It seems that students do not need to provide evidence supporting their claims, but can make accusations about teachers and get them sacked at will. A company with a backbone would at least give a teacher working in a foreign country the opportunity to appeal or view the evidence, but all they are concerned with is keeping things out of newspapers. I'm sorry, but could someone please write an article titled, 'The awful truth about Nova.' :p

Brooker
Nov 29, 2004, 04:48
I'm sorry, but could someone please write an article titled, 'The awful truth about Nova.' :p

There are plenty of those out there, believe me. Most of the stuff you'll find about Nova on the internet is written by disgruntled former Nova teachers who are trying to get revenge for some unfortunate situation that happened to them. I wanted to write something that was neither FOR or AGAINST Nova. And, for me, my Nova experience was mostly positive, but I think that's in large part because I had the right attitude about the whole situation.


But when a psycho decides to accuse a teacher of something and you are transferred schools and not offered another contract, it really irritates you.

This happened to a coworker of mine (kind of). A student was stalking him and being really weird. He did all the right things, like informing the boss. When the head office heard about it, the order came down from one of the highest ranking people in the company to simply transfer him to another school to avoid any problems. He was not happy about it, but there was nothing he could do. I wasn't thinking about that when I wrote the article. However, I don't think you'd have to worry about not getting another contract. You'd have to repeatedly do something really wrong for that to happen.

I guess the main point of my article was, "Nova isn't that great, but who cares?" For most people who work at Nova, it's not a career move, it's just a way to travel and live in Japan. And, for that, Nova did for me exactly what I wanted it to do. If teaching was my thing and I wanted to work for a quality company, I would have made more of an effort to get a job elsewhere.

PopCulturePooka
Nov 29, 2004, 07:28
However, I don't think you'd have to worry about not getting another contract. You'd have to repeatedly do something really wrong for that to happen.

Wrong now man.

In recent months many peoples contracts haven't been renewed. Many times with no reasons given.

It seems uniform in that long term teachers who have been here 3 or so years have been getting ditched.

Theres reports that some reasons given ar etrumped up severly and even when pushed by the Union NOVA refuses to provide proof or back up to their claims.

In fact theres already a number of lawsuits coming up against nova for unfair dismissal and discrimination. Not too mention two breach of copyrights.

Brooker
Nov 29, 2004, 08:19
I went to Japan in September and visited with some of my friends who are still working for Nova and they said Nova hasn't been getting enough new applicants and they're getting desperate. If that's the case, I doubt they'd start getting rid of more people.

The only people I saw get fired or not have their contracts renewed while I was in Japan were the people who were constantly clashing with the company. If you fly below the radar and don't make a big issue over every little rule, they really aren't going to have any reason to get rid of you. The people who were clashing with the company all the time were unhappy enough that they just should have quit anyways.

PopCulturePooka
Nov 29, 2004, 18:15
I went to Japan in September and visited with some of my friends who are still working for Nova and they said Nova hasn't been getting enough new applicants and they're getting desperate. If that's the case, I doubt they'd start getting rid of more people.

The only people I saw get fired or not have their contracts renewed while I was in Japan were the people who were constantly clashing with the company. If you fly below the radar and don't make a big issue over every little rule, they really aren't going to have any reason to get rid of you. The people who were clashing with the company all the time were unhappy enough that they just should have quit anyways.
Dunno where your friends are man, all the stories I've heard are 100% the opposite.

That NOVA is no longer the open doorway to Japan. That more and more applicants are failing. And again I reiterate, taht contracts are being cancelled with 'ne reason given'. That one happeed to a guy I know A popular and well liked teacher. Had a lot of good reports from students. He had one issue once with a stalker student, that was resolved. 8 months later his contract was not renewed. The official line was literally 'No reason given'. It was a big shock in the area and his AT raged against it and almost got canned for it. Rumour is he was canned because he knocked back an AT promotion.

This story has been popping up a lot. Popular well liked teachers with GOOD records, so called AT material, are being dumped recently. Some of the court cases coming up are because the fired parties believe that so called 'student complaints' that are the reasons for dismissal are being trumped up and basically fabricated, as their is no proof or paper trail of any complaints against some teachers.

It should be pointed out that most teachers who are finding themselves at the end of this treatment are long termers who have been here 3 years or more. Therefore some believe that NOVA is loosing money (maybe because of the copyright suits against them and the legions of students who quit when the horrible new lesson methods and textbook came in) and that long term teachers are too expensive. Heck the best teacher at our school has been here 3 years and makes 30,000 yen a month more than me. Is that worth it to NOVA when all the lessons can now be now by a cheap newbie of the plane in the exact same manner as you must follow a strict plan?

senseiman
Nov 30, 2004, 10:52
Yeah, I know for a fact that these Eikaiwas can simply not renew your contract for any reason they like without regard to your performance as a teacher. I worked for AEON for a couple of years and got engaged to another teacher who also worked for AEON. The very next day after we announced our engagement, the manager took me aside and basically said "Congratulations on the engagement, I'm not going to renew your contract." End of story.

As it turned out, leaving AEON was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me, so I'm not at all upset about it now, though at the time I was majorly pissed off. Those companies are not to be trusted as employers. The people I really feel sorry for are the saps who have been working for them for 10 or 15 years and are basically too old to change careers but are still stuck doing work designed for 23 year olds with no qualifications whatsoever. If one of them gets the sack for no reason (as does happen) that can probably ruin their lives.

Brooker
Nov 30, 2004, 14:51
I'm not saying it's good or bad, but the reason they have you sign a new year long contract every year is obviously so they can not renew it if they decide they no longer want you. They're under no legal obligation to renew a contract. That should be obvious to anyone the first time they sign their first year long contract. I'm not saying it's right or wrong. But if you're having a problem with people not getting their contracts renewed, what you really should be complaining about is the fact that teachers are only given year long contracts to begin with, not that they're not being renewed. If my job now only gave me a year long contract, I'd tell `em where to stick it. But when I was working for Nova I didn't really intend on staying for more than three years anyways (as it turns out I stayed about half that long for unrelated reasons). I guess a lot of my perspective on my Nova experience stems from my intentions and expectations about the whole thing.

iwantmyrightsnow
Nov 30, 2004, 18:02
, but the reason they have you sign a new year long contract every year is obviously so they can not renew it if they decide they no longer want you. They're under no legal obligation to renew a contract.

Actually you are wrong. After a number of contract renewals courts have ruled that yearly contract workers cannot just be non-renewed. For companies to "fire" the teachers they must have strong cause that fall under "socially acceptable reasons" as proscribed in Japanese Labor Law.

Of course companies do still just non-renew but people individually and unions have won reinstatement or hefty financial payouts.

www.generalunion.org

matteo72
Dec 27, 2004, 11:50
Hello,
I am an Italian man and I am thinking about going to Japan next year in order to attend some Zen training.
Since I am planning to stay in Japan for one or two years, I would like to find a job in Japan, like teaching English ( I am fluent in English ) or any other job that could leave enough time to do my Zen exercises when I do not work.
I would like to ask you few questions about NOVA:
1) Touristic visa in Japan is for a 3-month stay, nothing more. In the NOVA page they claim to offer their teachers a visa for Japan. Is that a working visa for Japan ? Does that mean that you can stay in Japan for more than three months without having to go out ( to Korea, for example ) and then back in Japan ?
2) Is it difficult to be recruited ? Do you need to speak Japanese ? What kind of qualifications do they need ?

Brooker
Dec 27, 2004, 11:56
Once you're hired by Nova they will sponsor you for a Visa that's good for three years. If you continue with the company they will renew your Visa for as long as you're with the company. So, once you get hired, you can stay for pretty much as long as you want.

Contact Nova for an application. The only qualifications are that you're a native speaker and have a college degree in any subject. They may take issue with you not being a native speaker of English, so you may have to prove to them in some way that your English is fluent. There may also be opportunities to teach Italian in large cities. Speaking Japanese is not required as it's forbidden to speak Japanese in class. They want total immersion in English.

myrrhine
Dec 28, 2004, 04:42
too add to brooker, "native" to them means you have letters that say you have 12 years of pre-college education taught in english, as well as a bachelors (or equivalent) taught in english. without the 12 years, no-can-do. but i think nova even has an italian section? maybe not. but i'd check it out. also there's places like berlitz.

matteo72
Dec 28, 2004, 06:34
Well, I worked in an English-speaking environment for about two years, did some University courses in the U. S. and preformed pretty well with the GMAT and TOEFL tests ( tests about your knowledge of English ).
Maybe this will help.
Let' s hope, otherwise, I will try to see if any school looks after Italian-speaking teachers

Many thanks for the help.

Is it better to send an application when you arrive in Japan or earlier ?

Brooker
Dec 28, 2004, 12:51
Is it better to send an application when you arrive in Japan or earlier ?

You MUST apply to Nova before you arrive in Japan. I don't think Nova will hire people who are already in Japan. Not sure why. You may have to travel (to England maybe) to do the interview. In my case, the closest Nova office was San Francisco, but my interview was in Seattle (where I live) because they sent an interviewer as many people in Seattle were applying. But they probably won't come to Italy. Good luck. :wave:

matteo72
Dec 28, 2004, 15:33
Thank for the tip, Brooker.
I think they have an office in Paris, so I will call them there.
Let' s see if I have any chance to be hired even not being a native English-speaker.
I will let you know.

Brooker
Dec 28, 2004, 15:42
Yeah, keep us posted on your progress.

When I worked for Nova in Yokohama, I knew a couple guys who were native speakers of German and French who taught at another branch. I think they had a much more impressive list of qualifications than most of us English teachers, since there are fewer availabilities for non-English teachers. But, you might want to also look into teaching Italian.

Non-English foreign teachers usually only teach in the big cities. If you don't mind teaching on live video (personally, I'd mind) they teach every language imaginable in Osaka.

matteo72
Dec 28, 2004, 21:25
Brooker,
thanks for your informative answer !!
I plan to move to Tokyo so, hopefully, there might be language schools who need Italian-speaking teachers.
Let' s hope !!

myrrhine
Dec 30, 2004, 03:49
about the whole english qualification bit - it's a japanese requirement for the type of visa you get to be a language instructor to have 12 years pre-college education in the language you want to teach, i'm afraid. and in the true spirit of bureaucracy, i'm thinking it's not flexible.
don't think nova themselves would care except that their teachers do have to have visas. so i'd look into italian instead (i'm guessing that's your education)
but good luck - hope it works out for you one way or another!

matteo72
Dec 30, 2004, 13:51
Too bad that they do not accept non-English native English-teaching teachers.
Do you know if there might be any different job for me, since I am graduated in Mechanical Engineering ?
unfortunately, I do not speak one word of Japanese.
I do not think there are many language schools which look after Italian teachers ..

PopCulturePooka
Dec 30, 2004, 15:55
http://teachinjapan.com/ is Nova's recruitment site.
They actually have an option there for Italians. Its in flash though so cant directly link you.

Ewok85
Dec 30, 2004, 21:48
You MUST apply to Nova before you arrive in Japan. I don't think Nova will hire people who are already in Japan. Not sure why.

While in Japan I went to my local to try and get just information about being hired, go told to ring some number, no thanks. So I went to the HQ and asked if they had any papers or brochures, I was basically told that if you want to work there you have to apply through an overseas office. Definite apply BEFORE you go, but theres other companies that may hire you (GEOS, AEON, etc etc)

matteo72
Dec 31, 2004, 00:54
Ewok85 and FirstHousePooka,
thanks very much for your answers and suggestions !!
It has been a great to ask for help in this forum.
It seems that I am learning many important things !!
Thanks again,
Matteo

Brooker
Jan 1, 2005, 07:26
Do you know if there might be any different job for me, since I am graduated in Mechanical Engineering ?

What a coincidence. I'm starting school next week for a second degree in Mechanical Engineering. :p I don't know if you'd have much luck finding a job in that field in Japan though. There are many teaching opportunities for foreigners in Japan, but there aren't very many other opportunities.

matteo72
Jan 2, 2005, 00:07
Second ?
You mean you are already graduated and you want to be graduated another time ?
I do not understand ..
Or you have a " bachelor " degree and you now want a " master " ??
Yes, I read in many places that Japan working environment is " closed " to foreigners ..
That' s too bad !!
But I will see, until now when I wanted to work somewhere I more or less made it.
Japan will probably prove to be more difficult, but I am willing to work as a waiter, as a dish-cleaner, at evry honest job I can find if there is no job available for Italian-speaking teachers.

Brooker
Jan 2, 2005, 05:40
Second ?
You mean you are already graduated and you want to be graduated another time ?

Yes.

I know, I must be crazy. I'm starting again from the beginning. Some of my classmates will be like ten years younger than me.

Mike Cash
Jan 2, 2005, 10:06
Regarding the "No Socializing!" policy, while I don't agree with it I would like to point out that it does have one positive side to it.

At the first school I worked for, a small privately-owned school, they insisted that we socialize with the students outside working hours. If the students invited us out for parties, drinkathons, whatever....we were to go. The school viewed this as being the same as the sort of after-hours socializing that businessmen are expected to engage in for the good of the company.

It was fine for the teacher who was single. But my wife didn't care much for it, and neither did I. Not that I'm anti-social, but because I'm a tight ba5tard. All that socializing was running into a fair bit of money.

I eventually had to butt heads with the manager over it. The manager insisted that we have to socialize with the students for the good of company (even though we were just contract employees). I said if that is the case then we should be paid overtime and have our expenses reimbursed.

She quit insisting that we had to socialize with the students.

misa.j
Jan 3, 2005, 07:30
I went to NOVA Shimokitazawa-kou in Tokyo, and I liked it a lot. It was a good stepping stone before I came to America and took ESL course.

I especially liked how they kept no more than 3 students at most for each class, and the schedule was flexible which worked out great for me since I had irregular time off. The teachers were from many countries, so I got to practice listening to different accents; they were also very helpful with me when I was having setbacks to go to the next level, had a private conference and tried to listen to my problems.

I think teachers can feel as professinal as they want to at NOVA, or at least they seemed so to me.

TwistedMac
Jan 3, 2005, 07:58
Something like a year ago Nova was pulled in to court for their "no socializing" rules. They lost.

The policy is still in all the papers, but they can't *legaly* tell you to "not socialize or you'll get fired".

PopCulturePooka
Jan 3, 2005, 11:33
Something like a year ago Nova was pulled in to court for their "no socializing" rules. They lost.

The policy is still in all the papers, but they can't *legaly* tell you to "not socialize or you'll get fired".
Basically yeah.
but NOVA management, right to to the top with Monkey Bridge and Lundqist are... jerks.

TwistedMac
Jan 3, 2005, 11:48
NOVA management, right to to the top with Monkey Bridge and Lundqist are... jerks.
and that, I take it, is the "unbiased truth about NOVA"? ;)

Mike Cash
Jan 3, 2005, 15:17
I went to NOVA Shimokitazawa-kou in Tokyo, and I liked it a lot. It was a good stepping stone before I came to America and took ESL course.

I especially liked how they kept no more than 3 students at most for each class, and the schedule was flexible which worked out great for me since I had irregular time off. The teachers were from many countries, so I got to practice listening to different accents; they were also very helpful with me when I was having setbacks to go to the next level, had a private conference and tried to listen to my problems.

I think teachers can feel as professinal as they want to at NOVA, or at least they seemed so to me.


You were one of the rare students who is actually serious about learning English and who (obviously) put a lot of time and effort into it outside Nova. And that is the most important part. Good teachers can't make a lousy student good. Bad teachers can't make a good student lousy.

There are a few students who utilize Nova and become very proficient at English....but it is because of how those students use Nova, and not because of anything Nova inherently does well, because they do nothing well except advertise.

Smart students study outside class. They review what they learned. They prepare for future lessons. They spot points they need help understanding and the next time they go, they have several good focussed questions for the teacher. They go to the voice room and actually talk. They do well even with bad teachers. Why? Because they are taking responsibility for their own progress.

The vast majority of the students, however, never study outside class. They never review what they learned. They forget practically everything new from one lesson to the next. They don't often go to the voice room, and when they do, they don't speak. They do poorly even with good teachers. Why? Because they've been led to believe they'll learn English by osmosis, effortlessly. And because they expect the teacher to care more about their English than they do.

If anyone wants to know why I left the exciting world of Eikaiwa to be a truck driver, with longer hours, lower pay, and zero prestige....the above paragraph is part of the reason.

PopCulturePooka
Jan 3, 2005, 17:53
And there is one reason why eikaiwa, for a big company, is a dead end job.

Bravo MC! Bravo!

matteo72
Jan 4, 2005, 00:53
Brooker,
may I dare to ask you why you do this ??
I mean, it took me six years to finish my University education and I would not go back to it for one million dollars.
Well, I would go back to it for one million dollars, that is a way of saying that I did not like it.
However, I can not apply to any position at Nova, for teaching English they require you to be native, and to teach Italian you must go to Osaka, while I need to stay in Tokyo.
Let' s see if I can contact other schools.

myrrhine
Jan 5, 2005, 06:07
matteo - i ran into the same problem that you're having when i applied to nova, they turned down my app because of my address in sweden (without asking about my schooling, mind you. anyways, annoyance aside...)
well i was pretty frustrated and really looked into the whole thing and unfortunatly the problem is not with nova here, it's with japanese policy.
in other words, to go and work (at least legally) you need a work visa. and to get a work visa to be a language teacher, you need 12 years pre-college education with the language of instruction being the same language you're going to be teaching.
i hate to be squelching hope here, just figure you might as well know before spending alot of time figuring it out. in other words, to work legally, contacting other schools won't help unless you can get letters saying that all your schooling was in english. in which case you might as well go with nova, or whatever.
that's bureaucracy - caring more about documents than documented ability. blah.

http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/03.html
this site sums it up pretty well.
now, that said, there are other options out there - perhaps some kind of cultural visa? or is italy one of the countries that can get working holiday visas?
and (i'm not sure about this) it might be possible to get some work on the side as an english or italian tutor...
whatever happens, good luck!

misa.j
Jan 5, 2005, 08:53
by mikecash: The vast majority of the students, however, never study outside class. They never review what they learned. They forget practically everything new from one lesson to the next. They don't often go to the voice room, and when they do, they don't speak. They do poorly even with good teachers. Why? Because they've been led to believe they'll learn English by osmosis, effortlessly. And because they expect the teacher to care more about their English than they do.
Then, why do those barely-there students want to even waste their money on NOVA?
Oh well, I guess it's not very important to discuss about what their intentions are, and I can totally understand how it is frustrating for instructors to wait until they break the ridiculously thick ice.

Back to my experience if I may, I had a funny luck to win six months free lesson at another Eikaiwa school, where most teachers were Japanese; their teaching method wasn't good at all, plus the teachers spoke Japanese to the students often. It was as bad as taking the English class at a high school. Compared to that, I got a lot more from NOVA.

PopCulturePooka
Jan 5, 2005, 09:38
Then, why do those barely-there students want to even waste their money on NOVA?
Their work makes them, its a hobby to escape the drudgery of house wifedom, they are school kids wanting to 'study' (of course they never do), they are young girls who want foreign guys, because its 'fun' etc. A myriad of reasons, yet many act exactly like mike said.

matteo72
Jan 5, 2005, 18:06
myrrhine,
still I have not given up all hopes, maybe somebody needs an Italian teacher, after all ..

Brooker
Jan 8, 2005, 15:58
Brooker,
may I dare to ask you why you do this ??
I mean, it took me six years to finish my University education and I would not go back to it for one million dollars.

It's a long story, but the short answer is that I've decided I don't want to be stuck in my current field for the rest of my days. And I don't want to have just any old "Joe job," so I've got to go back to school so that I can do well in a new field. Basically, I decided that I'd rather be the guy making "the plan" than be the guy carrying out "the plan". In the field I'm in now, I'll always be a "worker bee". When I got out of school I said I'd never go back. But for a long time now, my mind has been stagnating and I'm enjoying being stimulated again and (surprisingly enough) I grew to miss the school environment.


However, I can not apply to any position at Nova, for teaching English they require you to be native, and to teach Italian you must go to Osaka, while I need to stay in Tokyo.

Sorry to hear things aren't going as you'd hoped. Keep looking. I'm sure you'll find something.

matteo72
Jan 8, 2005, 21:14
Well, good luck to you Brooker !!

PopCulturePooka
Jan 10, 2005, 21:44
40 NOVA teachers are unaccounted for in South East Asia following the Tsunami.
Other NOVA teachers find out about this via a newspaper article.
No internal messaging has been recieved, no show of comapssion from up above for people who may have lost friends and loved ones, no offering of grief councelling.

The silence from NOVA in this matter is more than deafening. Think about it. 40 teachers. Thats a LOT of people. The other companies have one or two missing. NOVA has 40.

Yet they show a HUGE lack of compassion in this.

Do you want to work for a company like this?

40 people.

matteo72
Jan 10, 2005, 21:59
Sorry, FirstHouse Pooka, but, may I ask where did you get this information that 40 teachers from NOVA are missing ??

PopCulturePooka
Jan 10, 2005, 22:09
Sorry, FirstHouse Pooka, but, may I ask where did you get this information that 40 teachers from NOVA are missing ??


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20050109a2.htm


Dozens of English teachers still missing
40 employees of Nova chain unaccounted for in tsunami-hit region

By KANAKO TAKAHARA
Staff writer

More than 40 English-language teachers working in Japan who may have been in areas hit by the Indian Ocean tsunamis on Dec. 26 were still unaccounted for as of Saturday.
The tally by The Japan Times was based on information provided by major English-language school operators and people teaching under the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, through which foreigners work in local government organizations throughout the country.

The whereabouts could not be confirmed of 40 non-Japanese teachers at Nova Co., the country's largest chain of private language schools, while officials at Geos Corp. and ECC Co. each said they had two teachers still unaccounted for.

Meanwhile, an official at the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR), which oversees the JET program, said the organization was unable to contact one of its teachers as of Friday night. The official added, however, that this person was headed for Cambodia and was unlikely to have been affected by the temblor or the massive tsunamis that ensued.

A spokesman for Nova said that of its roughly 6,300 non-Japanese employees nationwide, the whereabouts of 40 who may have been in the tsunami-hit region were still unknown.

"But we have yet to receive information that any of our employees have died or have been injured," he added.

After a holiday break, classes at Nova began Wednesday in eastern Japan and Thursday in western Japan.

Meanwhile, a Geos spokeswoman said two of its non-Japanese teachers, who had said they were traveling to India, remained unaccounted for. The school was waiting to see if they will return to work Tuesday as scheduled.

ECC said that as of Thursday it was unable to get in touch with two foreign staffers who may have been in the tsunami-ravaged region. The company said it has about 600 non-Japanese teachers working full time at its schools nationwide.

Meanwhile, some other major language-school operators -- Aeon Corp., Berlitz, Gaba Corp. and International Education Center -- said that all of their non-Japanese employees have been accounted for.

Trying to determine exactly how many non-Japanese residents of Japan may have been affected by the disaster has been difficult, mostly because tallies of the missing and dead are primarily based on passport information rather than place of domicile.

Many Tokyo embassies of countries with a large number of nationals living in Japan said they do not have sufficient information on missing people. Relatives and acquaintances of those who may have been tsunami victims are being advised to contact their embassies directly in South Asia.

The Foreign Ministry has also said it does not have information on non-Japanese who live in Japan.

"When a person is involved in an accident or a natural disaster overseas, local authorities report the fact to the nation that issued that person's passport," a Foreign Ministry official said. "So if the person is not a Japanese national, we will not receive that information."

The Japan Times: Jan. 9, 2005
(C) All rights reserved

Nova sounds oh so caring there.

'we cannot confirm'... No messgae of condolence, that they are worried, that they hope the teachers are safe and fine.

matteo72
Jan 11, 2005, 12:22
And they ( NOVA ) did not issue any formal communication about this fact ??
They passed this more or less under silence ??
If this is the case they are really without a heart !!
And I do not care if there is any teacher from NOVA taking down my name in this moment !!
Drat !!
I can not believe this ..

Brooker
Jan 13, 2005, 06:29
P.S.

I'd like to add that I kind of regret the title I gave to the article (mainly the use of the word "unbiased"). I think it may tend to make people suspicious about my intent in writing the article (the opposite result I was hoping to get by choosing that title). The reason I chose that title was that I wanted to convey that I'm not advocating on Nova's behalf. It seems a lot of people were interested in information about Nova and I had some info to share. After my time at Nova, I don't feel I owe any loyalty to Nova, but I also don't harbor any negative feelings towards Nova. If the article sounds positive about Nova that's just because I'm generally a pretty positive person. My main point was that Nova might not be great, but for people with certain goals, you can USE Nova to get what you want (like I did).

phelonious
Feb 17, 2005, 03:01
i don't know, nova kind of sounds like working in america before labor laws existed.

TheKansaiKid
Apr 9, 2005, 08:43
I really enjoyed Booker's article, I found myself agreeing with almost all of it. I myself spent 2 years at Nova, and while I did my share of grumbling about various aspects of "Nova life" I found the company to be generally fair. I wouldn't say Nova was compassionate, they are a large corporation trying to make money, most companies are. I knew the rules before I signed on, I carefully read the contract and understood the reasoning behind most of their policies. At contract renewal I was given what I thought was a fair raise, and was offered another raise at the end of my 2nd contract. I had better prospects elsewhere, but I enjoyed my time there. Welcome to capitalism.

bungleman
May 20, 2005, 11:59
I don't really see myself as a NOVA apologist, but the "40 people missing" story is an obvious example of twisting the statistical import of information to make an irresponsible statement.

To claim that NOVA behaved in a callous manner because they did not issue a bulletin about the 40 people who may have been in the area shows an inability to process simple information.

When people fill in Holiday requests they mention where they are going to, and Thailand is a hugely popular trip amongst NOVA employees. It is extremely rare for these employees to use mobile phones in Thailand, and somewhat unlikely that they would check-in after the disaster.

Out of over 6,000 employers it is extremely likely that at any time of year 40 or more are taking paid leave, stating Thailand as the destination. People on vacation at the time of the disaster could have returned to japan before the Tsunami, decided to cancel the trip when news spread, or (most likely) been in a completely different area of the country.

Had the article claimed that 40 NOVA employees had failed to come back from their planned vacation this would be news. The fact that NOVA cannot contact 40 employees on a vacation to a given destination is not.

Many NOVA employees were in Thailand when the Tsunami struck, but I have not heard of any casualties...

Ewok85
May 21, 2005, 01:27
I work for Telstra, the largest telco in Australia that has over 10,000 employees and operates in a number of foreign countries. Within days of the disaster we were given memos that all employees who were in the area at the time were OK, and a few reletives and friends were unaccounted for etc.

There were various company wide charity events (nominate a certain amount of your salary, say $50, to go to the releif fund and the company will match it, they'll pay $50 as well), etc, including Telstra hosting and provinding the manpower and equipment for a televised concert to raise money where people phoned in and gave money - which raised over AU$20million in around 3 hours. Not bad!

Its not hard to just go "we feel sorry for the people affected by the tsunami" at the very least.

PopCulturePooka
May 21, 2005, 22:54
""May 16, 2005

To All Instructors

Regarding: Work time and the interval between lessons


From April 2005 lesson times were adjusted so that all lessons in
the branches and the Multimedia Center had the same start and finish
times. With this change, all lessons in the branches are now 40
minutes in length, and a small clarification of work hours as well
as an adjustment to operating procedures is outlined below.

Following this change to all 40-minute lessons, the total work time
for a lesson period will be defined as 40 minutes of lesson time
plus two minutes each for lesson selection and file comments before
and after the lesson, for a total lesson period time of 44 minutes.
A new, faster sheet for completing student files after lessons will
be introduced from June 1st 2005.

The remaining time in the interval between lessons, outside of the
work time defined above, is considered free time, in addition to the
lunch break.

For instructors enrolled in the Japanese Employees' Health Insurance
and Employees' Pension Insurance programs (Shakai Hoken), however,
only the lunch break is considered free time. All of the interval
between lessons is considered work time in this case and, as before
these instructors may be asked to complete duties other than lesson
selection and completing file comments during the lesson interval.

Instructors who wish to apply for a change in Shakai Hoken and work
time status, should submit a General Request form to the Payroll
Administration Section by May 31st 2005. Information regarding
Shakai Hoken can be found in the Overview of Social Insurance in
Japan booklet available in each branch and on Education Online. Any
specific questions about Shakai Hoken not covered by this booklet
should be submitted on a General Request form to the Payroll
Administration Section.

Please contact your Assistant Area Manager if you have any questions
regarding this clarification of work time and the lesson interval.


Anders Lundqvist
Director, Education Quality Control Center"

Dear Teachers.

If you exercise your right to Shakai Hoken then you will be given extra work and less breaks.
If you decide to be ripped of and use JMA you will work lower hours and have less money, and may in the future be no longer regarded as full time.

jhough37
May 22, 2005, 07:53
Dear Teachers.

If you exercise your right to Shakai Hoken then you will be given extra work and less breaks.
If you decide to be ripped of and use JMA you will work lower hours and have less money, and may in the future be no longer regarded as full time.

Well, while what you are saying is correct, I would wonder what else they would be asking you to do for the extra six minutes you "may" be asked to work as someone enrolled in Shakai Hoken. Is NOVA really going to give every employee not enrolled in JMA an extra half hour of work a day? Are they going to get a cleaning shedule to do while ther coworkers sit around for 6 extra minutes?

I am curious to know how this works, this memo says lesson times changed in April, and the memo is dated May 16th, so from April-May was everyone getting extra break time? Since May 16th have all Shakai Hoken workers been asked to do extra work during JMA workers breaks? Please share.

PopCulturePooka
May 22, 2005, 08:05
Well, while what you are saying is correct, I would wonder what else they would be asking you to do for the extra six minutes you "may" be asked to work as someone enrolled in Shakai Hoken. Is NOVA really going to give every employee not enrolled in JMA an extra half hour of work a day? Are they going to get a cleaning shedule to do while ther coworkers sit around for 6 extra minutes? Actually apparantly the time between the breaks is closer to 10 minutes, and the popular rumour is those who must work between it will be doing demo lessons, kids demos, CAT tests etc. Sound unreasonable?
I was once given a kids demo to do in the 10 minute break. And then expected to be able to have a lesson planned, give feedback about the kid and bolt into the next class on time.


I am curious to know how this works, this memo says lesson times changed in April, and the memo is dated May 16th, so from April-May was everyone getting extra break time? Since May 16th have all Shakai Hoken workers been asked to do extra work during JMA workers breaks? Please share.I am unsure about that part of it.

So far though it reads like punisihing those on Shakai Hoken.

Brooker
May 22, 2005, 09:11
I always found the ten minute "breaks" to be inadequate. I drank a lot of water during the course of the day because my throat got dry from talking all day. Thus I had to make many trips to the bathroom - almost every break. To do that and write file comments and plan your next lesson is a lot to do in ten minutes. I always got hammered at my reviews for writting such brief file comments. And if you have to do a movement :blush: there's no chance at all of finding time to do that during a break. To call this time a "break" isn't very accurate because you spend most of that time doing work.

This is my biggest criticism of Nova - the fact that you feel like you're rushing all day. I've heard of other schools where the teachers have plenty of down time (in some cases TOO much).

jhough37
May 23, 2005, 02:30
Brooker, that is why you take your files with you to the bathroom, combine everything into one break. heheh :relief:

PopCulturePooka
May 23, 2005, 09:04
Brooker, that is why you take your files with you to the bathroom, combine everything into one break. heheh :relief:
Also good when theres no loo paper!

Brooker
May 23, 2005, 09:23
That's what I always wanted to do with them. :D I hated filling out those comments. It's so pointless.

PopCulturePooka
May 23, 2005, 09:35
That's what I always wanted to do with them. :D I hated filling out those comments. It's so pointless.
Did most people even read them?
I saw a scan once of like two full pages of comments for one student. All straight 3's or obviously randomly assigned numbers and EVERY comment was generic like 'good work' or 'did ok'.

Brooker
May 23, 2005, 09:43
-- Good effort.

-- Come to voice class.

These were my standard notes. I also really liked...

-- 3PS

...which just means that the student dropped the third person "s" a lot, like "He drive(S)"

The staff would look at the file comments when they were reviewing the student's progress. But some of the staff members had pretty limited understanding of English, so they didn't really know what the comments meant anyways.

Apri1
May 24, 2005, 09:13
do you have to have a bachlors degree to teach with nova? I know you do with the jet program. I only have an associates degree. Can I teach in japan under any program with just that?

el_toro
May 27, 2005, 01:51
Hello guys - this is my first post on these boards.

I've discovered some excellent info so many thanks first off.

I'm keen on getting involved in the Nova program, but want to enquire how difficult would it be for me to break my contract?

I want to experience life and culture in Japan and working with Nova seems a great way of getting a visa, accomodation and work. Due to personal reasons, i don't wish to stay much longer than 4/5 months so would it be an issue for me to resign at this stage?

Thanks for your help.

jhough37
May 27, 2005, 02:16
Good question El Toro, from what I understand, NOVA of course does not want you to break your contract; but you can. Be aware of some things though. I know here in the states, unless I work a certain amount of time in Japan, my income made over there becomes taxable. Are you looking at breaking your contract and returning to Scotland, or just finding different employment in Japan?

el_toro
May 27, 2005, 06:16
I'm hoping to go travelling - i'd like to spend some proper time in Japan but with the cost of living over there it seems a necessity to have a job to be able to afford to live in Japan.

Ideally, I'd like to spend 4/5 months with Nova, then spend a month or so going round Japan sightseeing before heading down to Australia to meet friends.

Obviously i will not be saying that if/when i have my interview with Nova!

I'm just curious over how much notice would be required, if they withhold your earnings etc. If the money is liable for taxation (either in UK or Japan) then i don't mind too much.

Alternatively if anyone else knows an alternative company i could work for in Japan that will provide equal ease of sourcing visa/accomodation then let me know!

I know it seems a bit underhand but i'm sure a big company like Nova could handle the inconvenience of an early departure!

PopCulturePooka
May 27, 2005, 08:21
Given that the average length of stay for a NOVA teacher is apprantly 8-10 months I don't see breaking contract is particularly bad.
Technically I broke my contract after 6 months. The most I was told is that I wouldn't get a reference letter from them (not that the so called reference was all that useful anyway).

I actually reapplied for my job back as I found a massive need to stay in Japan but thats a different story.

Bottom line is you can break the contract quite easily, with no repurcussions.


Unless NOVA has suddenly rediddled their rulebook.

PS I'd stay a month or two long than you're planning. You won't really get a decent full pay packet until the third or fourth month, especially if you take the cash advance. You need to be there at least 6 months to make some decent $$$.

jhough37
May 27, 2005, 08:22
a lot of people leave NOVA early. Our esteemed Brooker did himself... :-)

el_toro
May 27, 2005, 22:02
How does the pay system work with Nova? Do you get paid upfront/on the month or the month later?

Is accomodation costs deducted from pay?

Thanks guys

jhough37
May 28, 2005, 02:52
It depends on your housing situation, but if you live in NOVA provided apartments, your utilities and monthly rent are deducted from your monthly paycheck. You get paid the month after you work. So you need to bring enough money to live in Japan for at the most, a month, before you get paid.

Brooker
May 28, 2005, 09:49
do you have to have a bachlors degree to teach with nova?

Yes, although I've heard they'll do a part-time deal for people who don't have degrees with the possibility of becomming a full-time employee at your next contract.


jhough37 a lot of people leave NOVA early. Our esteemed Brooker did himself...

Well, yes and no. I broke the second contract I signed, but I completed the first one. I didn't find any repercussions from breaking my contract, although they weren't very happy about it.

duff_o_josh
May 28, 2005, 21:19
i heard nova teahcers are in for a pay cut. also in osaka there was manager and some teachers traficking drugs from the building and when they were caught nova didnt turn them over, they just simply transfered them to other branches throughout japan. with them hiring anyone with a degree, no wonder they are blacklisted.

Apri1
Jun 2, 2005, 01:15
thank you, brooker!

hintgiver
Jun 2, 2005, 23:23
Hope you all are having a wonderful day. I found Bookers article quite constructive. You really were able to objectively relay information about NOVA, exactly what I was looking for.

I have my interview with NOVA in their Toronto office next week. I was wondering if anyone can share their interview experience with me, especially if it was at the office in Toronto.

I can speak, read, and write Japanese quite well. I understand how NOVA can see this as a hindrance to my teaching ability since their classes are based on total immersion. However, do you really think my language ability will be seen as a large negative if I make it clear in my interview that even though I know Japanese I feel it should not be used when I am teaching clients?

One final question for now, does anyone know anything about the Multimedia branch in Osaka? I am hoping to get a position in Osaka and see they have sponsored multi-media positions open. Wondering if anyone has worked for or has heard anything? Objective information would be most helpful.

I currently teach high school English in NYS in the United States. A lot of the negatives I hear about NOVA are very similar to the negatives of working as a teacher in the US. I just wonder how many people who work for NOVA are teachers and have taught in the past. I wonder if their opinions are seriously different. (I cant say much on this though until I go and experience it for myself.

Thanks in advance,
All my best,
Ted

Brooker
Jun 4, 2005, 08:26
Hope you all are having a wonderful day. I found Bookers article quite constructive. You really were able to objectively relay information about NOVA, exactly what I was looking for.

Glad it was helpful. :-)


I can speak, read, and write Japanese quite well. I understand how NOVA can see this as a hindrance to my teaching ability since their classes are based on total immersion. However, do you really think my language ability will be seen as a large negative if I make it clear in my interview that even though I know Japanese I feel it should not be used when I am teaching clients?

It probably won't come up, so you could just not mention it. And, even if it does come up, I don't think they'll care. There are lots of Nova teachers who speak Japanese quite well (just not in class).


I just wonder how many people who work for NOVA are teachers and have taught in the past.

Round about none of them. I met very few teachers who had prior teaching experience. I think you'll be rather unique in this respect.

PopCulturePooka
Jun 4, 2005, 09:03
Actually doesn't NOVA pay experienced teachers a slight extra in their salary?
Or has that too been a victim of the cost cuttings?

jhough37
Jun 6, 2005, 14:19
NOVA does pay teachers an extra bit, or at least they did when I interviewed with them in FEB, they had an extra bonus to your monthly wage if you were certified.

el_toro
Jul 2, 2005, 00:57
I've got an interview with Nova next month - can anyone help and provide advice on what i should be expecting at the interview?

Cheers guys.

Brooker
Jul 2, 2005, 08:12
http://www.wa-pedia.com/practical/teaching_at_nova.shtml

Go to "Interview and Qualifications."

masayoshi
Jul 13, 2005, 03:08
This is an informative thread indeed. Thanks to Brooker and others contributing!

Nova caught my attention at a graduate fair since it seems to be quite relaxed about its recruitment process (I'm not British national BTW but studied in English since small). I'm not making teaching a career but would like to experience Japan and its neighbours. So Nova, with its 1 year contract, looks promising

I've read about how selfish and unconsiderate the corp is and the hectic schedule it imposes on its employees. But one thing I'd like to know. Is the pay any decent? Can you actually save with the salary? If I'm applying, I'll be going for the flexi-schedule. The pay is less though

From Nova's site, working say, in Tokyo reaps 195,000-223,000 yen per month. Is that enough? I've heard of the high cost of living in Japan, especially Tokyo (If it's more expensive than London, should be pretty tough >_<)

Maciamo
Jul 13, 2005, 10:32
I've read about how selfish and unconsiderate the corp is and the hectic schedule it imposes on its employees. But one thing I'd like to know. Is the pay any decent? Can you actually save with the salary? If I'm applying, I'll be going for the flexi-schedule. The pay is less though

From Nova's site, working say, in Tokyo reaps 195,000-223,000 yen per month. Is that enough? I've heard of the high cost of living in Japan, especially Tokyo (If it's more expensive than London, should be pretty tough >_<)

Hi Masayoshi,

In fact, there has been numerous threads about the cost of life in Japan. First thing, never believe that Tokyo is more expensive than London, even if some dumb reports still rank Tokyo as the world's most expensive city. That is not true ! I kow both cities quite well, and I can tell you that more often than not London is twice (yes 2x) more expensive than Tokyo. This works for transportation, accommodation, restaurants, mobile phones, books, etc. The few things that are cheaper are European-made cars, brand clothes or food that are exported to Japan. Prices that are comparable include international cloth chains (Gap, Zara, etc.), computers (because it really depends where you buy it) or Japanese cars.

You can easily find accommodation under 100,000yen/month in central Tokyo (equivalent of Westminster or the City in London, where people normally can't afford to live), and 50,000yen/month if you are willing to commute 20min (equivalent of living in Ealing or Fulham in London).

The minimum salary legally required for a working visa in Japan is 250,000yen (what Nova pays), so even living at walking distance of the Imperial Palace you can still save say 100,000yen/month once food and transportation is paid.

masayoshi
Jul 17, 2005, 19:15
wow thanks a lot Maciamo! Sorry I didn't check other threads since I thought it would be most appropriate to ask here. Now I have a better idea about the situation. I live in Camden myself and need to travel to central London, so wouldn't mind commuting as such in Japan.

Saving around 100,000 yen a month doesn't look too bad!

Brooker
Jul 18, 2005, 06:31
Is the pay any decent? Can you actually save with the salary?

I made more money at Nova than I've ever made at a job here at home and lived veeery comfortably while I was in Japan. I don't think there's ever been a time in my life when I had to worry about money less. I could pretty much buy, do, and go what/wherever I wanted.

For more info on the subject, go to this article...

http://www.wa-pedia.com/practical/teaching_at_nova.shtml

and check out the section on "Money and Saving".

el_toro
Aug 15, 2005, 22:23
I've got an interview with Nova next month - can anyone help and provide advice on what i should be expecting at the interview?

Cheers guys.


Well the interview didn't go as well as was suggested - i was not offered a place with Nova.

Can anyone recommend any other companies i could possibly apply with to work in Japan?

Brooker
Aug 19, 2005, 07:48
Try Geos, Aeon, Berlitz. I don't have much info about these other companies but other members might.

el_toro
Aug 27, 2005, 05:26
I'm disappointed about not getting this position with Nova - i was under the impression, at least from Brookers posts, that they recruit practically anyone with a degree (i have a masters qualification) and can speak English (i'm fluent in 2 other languages too).

One of the guys at Nova told me that they only had a certain amount of spaces so couldn't offer me a position.

In your opinion, should i even bother applying elsewhere - especially if NOVA -the company that recruit anyone - gave me a refusal?

Feel pretty deflated about this.

headsupcustoms
Aug 28, 2005, 04:07
I just recently got accepted at AEON, so feel free to email me at [email protected] if you want to know anything about them. I personally chose AEON over the others, thought it was the better way to go. But everyone has their own opinions (meaning this isn't meant to be read as me saying AEON is the best). I would certainly try the others, just for the heck of it. Best luck!

Brooker
Aug 28, 2005, 07:30
(i have a masters qualification) and can speak English (i'm fluent in 2 other languages too).

Aha, you're overqualified. I never met anyone at Nova who had a masters in anything. They're afraid you'd eventually realize that you could do a lot better and leave for another company (which you probably would). Keep looking. You'll find something. I would try Berlitz. It's not easy to get into, but I've heard it's a quality company. They might appreciate your qualifications. Don't get discouraged.

By the way, you are a native English speaker, right?

xerxes99
Aug 28, 2005, 10:33
I was Just offered a job in Osaka in Nova's multi-media Center. Anyone here ever worked there?

smile7
Sep 15, 2005, 21:27
Nova is great!

PopCulturePooka
Sep 15, 2005, 21:46
Nova is great!
Hahaha why?

roger
Jul 25, 2006, 00:43
Hi all, I wish I found this thread before I came to Japan and joined NOVA. Here is my experience from working at NOVA:
http://www.untitled-project.com/archives/000131.html

ArmandV
Jul 25, 2006, 01:05
Does Nova or any of the other English-teaching companies have age requirements? What's the maximum age?

DoctorP
Jul 25, 2006, 02:14
I laugh everytime I see this thread! There is no such thing as "unbiased truth"!

Buntaro
Jul 25, 2006, 06:40
I worked at Nova and I have a Master's degree (quite rare, as noted above.) I was actually paid a little more just because of my Master's. If you have one, tell them.

There is a danger of being "over-qualified" at Nova. Do not be waving around a bunch of high-falootin' theory in your interview. That is exactly the kind of thing they do not want to hear. We had one lady in our training class who had taught at the college level in Japan, and she brought a lot of her "own stuff" into the classes. She did not survive training.... The main thing is, just stick to the text, and do not get fancy.

Age: Not me, but they hired one fellow at age 65.

ArmandV
Jul 25, 2006, 12:28
Age: Not me, but they hired one fellow at age 65.


Me neither...yet! But it may be something to consider doing after retirement. It may be a good gig to do as a retiree. Heck, I wouldn't mind moving to Japan after retirement and get a job teaching English, even part time to supplement Social Security and 401k savings. Thanks for the info.

fablewarrior
Feb 14, 2007, 19:02
O.k. I understand that if you have a degree that it is very easy to get a job at Nova, so my question is... I am currently in the NAVY out of Yokosuka and will be getting out soon and I have a Certificate of completion in the Culinary Arts so in that respect I am certified but can I get a job at Nova w/out a degree? I have can speak japanese pretty good because of the fact that my fiance` and soon to be wife has helped me to to learn the language and living with her family has helped me alot as well.Can someone help me?:souka:

Elizabeth
Feb 15, 2007, 00:38
O.k. I understand that if you have a degree that it is very easy to get a job at Nova, so my question is... I am currently in the NAVY out of Yokosuka and will be getting out soon and I have a Certificate of completion in the Culinary Arts so in that respect I am certified but can I get a job at Nova w/out a degree? I have can speak japanese pretty good because of the fact that my fiance` and soon to be wife has helped me to to learn the language and living with her family has helped me alot as well.Can someone help me?:souka:
I seriously doubt it with a large franchise operation like NOVA. They probably wouldn't even know what you're talking about with a Certificate of Completion. That's their way of filtering down a pool with thousands of applicants and if you didn't show a degree, no problem, we'll move in to the next person who does. To anyone with language skills and particularly teaching experience, though, smaller schools I'm sure would be willing to offer much more flexibility. Good luck ! :-)

ET_Fukuoka
Feb 15, 2007, 01:31
I know of 2-3 cases in my 5 years Nova history where teachers have not had degrees. In all of the cases NOVA didn't have to sponsor the instructors, and they only worked part time. It all depends on how needy they are for teachers and who is the area manager.

If you want to stay in Japan I would start taking some university classes!! There are several Foreign Universities that offer degree programs.

Elizabeth
Feb 15, 2007, 07:16
O.k. I understand that if you have a degree that it is very easy to get a job at Nova, so my question is... I am currently in the NAVY out of Yokosuka and will be getting out soon and I have a Certificate of completion in the Culinary Arts so in that respect I am certified but can I get a job at Nova w/out a degree?

I know of 2-3 cases in my 5 years Nova history where teachers have not had degrees. In all of the cases NOVA didn't have to sponsor the instructors, and they only worked part time. It all depends on how needy they are for teachers and who is the area manager.
Yeah, that really sucks that there isn't even a military exemption. It's like telling someone you have the drive and determination to make it into the US
Navy but we're not sure you can withstand the pressures teaching at an eikaiwa. Which is of course, insane. :(

BTW, how well you speak Japanese isn't going to matter to them either since you wouldn't be using it at all in the classroom or to socialize with students during off hours. Unfortunate in a way since mine is also pretty good and I'm thinking of going the same route as a means to live in Japan to study the language...:blush:

fablewarrior
Feb 15, 2007, 13:14
Hello everyone I am new here and I am planning on getting a spouse visa when I come back to japan, I am currently in the NAVY and will be out soon and want to come back to japan to teach English for a few years and then move on eventualy but can I get a job being that I only have my Naval certification as a Culinary Specialist? I checked with the Diahai Mall here Yokosuks and the pay is 1800$ yen a month and maybe more if you impress them a lttle and they want you.

Elizabeth
Feb 16, 2007, 20:29
Hello everyone I am new here and I am planning on getting a spouse visa when I come back to japan, I am currently in the NAVY and will be out soon and want to come back to japan to teach English for a few years and then move on eventualy but can I get a job being that I only have my Naval certification as a Culinary Specialist? I checked with the Diahai Mall here Yokosuks and the pay is 1800$ yen a month and maybe more if you impress them a lttle and they want you.
You may want to start a new thread to get more exposure for other types of positions. Many people have an allergy to reading anything NOVA-related. :-)

I know of 2-3 cases in my 5 years Nova history
Man, I bet they were sorry to see you go. Five years at Nova ! Good Heavens ! What was your secret where so many others have failed ? :-)

And to think you could have had a career with them...:p

senseiman
Feb 17, 2007, 01:49
Here's a News Flash about NOVA:

http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/399281

Looks like the company might be in trouble. First they had teachers getting busted for drugs, now the whole company is under investigation for ripping off students.

Glenski
Feb 17, 2007, 07:10
fablewarrior,
If you have a spouse visa, you can work at any place that thinks you are qualified. That is the key, not whether you have a degree or not. (Of course, some employers may want you to have a degree regardless of your visa status.)

ET_Fukuoka
Feb 17, 2007, 10:01
You may want to start a new thread to get more exposure for other types of positions. Many people have an allergy to reading anything NOVA-related. :-)
Man, I bet they were sorry to see you go. Five years at Nova ! Good Heavens ! What was your secret where so many others have failed ? :-)
And to think you could have had a career with them...:p

The secret to lasting that long at NOVA is being flexible and being at good schools (find them and transfer ASAP!!). Most of the students were super cool so it out weighed the company politics and Bull_hit. Except for the last year at NOVA I got nice raises, but then they started to cutback and were being very anal about sick days etc. I think that's when they over expanded and were having money problems. I used NOVA, NOVA didn't use me is the way I thought about it. They helped me meet a lot of cool people, funded my drifting habit, and helped me pay off a lot of my debt. The only thing they got from me was someone that went to work and had a good time.

If/When I go back to Japan I probably wouldn't work for NOVA full time. If i HAD too, i would only work part time.

Carmen
Feb 18, 2007, 11:36
What a great article, Brooker! I think you are right on. My boyfriend is doing the program now and what you have described is right in line with what you described here. Thanks for a great article. I signed up for an account just to post my appreciation.

Elizabeth
Feb 22, 2007, 02:36
The secret to lasting that long at NOVA is
being flexible and being at good schools (find them and transfer ASAP!!). You mean if your manager is a lying tyrant and the other instructors are total freaks who couldn't get a job anywhere else, that's a bad place ? lol



I used NOVA, NOVA didn't use me is the way I thought about it. They helped me meet a lot of cool people, funded my drifting habit, and helped me pay off a lot of my debt. The only thing they got from me was someone that went to work and had a good time.
As long as you don't put this on your application and don't get any student complaints anyone could be there to set up their own business for all they probably care...lol

Sounds like you had a blast,ET_Fukuoka!!! :cool: I'm sure I would love the students too and I'm older than average but what better way to stay young than being in a cubicle with 20 somethings at NOVA all day !!! :p

Elizabeth
Feb 22, 2007, 09:22
Here's a News Flash about NOVA:
http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/399281
Looks like the company might be in trouble. First they had teachers getting busted for drugs, now the whole company is under investigation for ripping off students.
A very interesting read. Thanks for posting, senseiman ! :-) I didn't realize the lesson fees at NOVA were cheaper than their competition (assuming this refers to other large eikaiwas), but the company deals with dozens of lawsuits every year and by doesn't seem to lose very many of them. They'll most likely find a loophole to exploit in this case as well that allows them to continue undercutting their clientele. :okashii:

Sukotto
Feb 23, 2007, 03:06
Here's a News Flash about NOVA:
http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/399281
Looks like the company might be in trouble. First they had teachers getting busted for drugs, now the whole company is under investigation for ripping off students.


coke is foolish,
cannabis is less harmful that beer or cigarettes.
(try to prove cigarettes or beer are less harmful, you won't be able to)
(and no i don't smoke or other things)

But that's not the Nova's fault.
People can hide their nasty habits pretty darn well.
You know, uncombed hair and wacky tshirts don't mean anything (these days). Maybe 30-40 years ago?

senseiman
Feb 23, 2007, 04:59
A very interesting read. Thanks for posting, senseiman ! :-) I didn't realize the lesson fees at NOVA were cheaper than their competition (assuming this refers to other large eikaiwas), but the company deals with dozens of lawsuits every year and by doesn't seem to lose very many of them. They'll most likely find a loophole to exploit in this case as well that allows them to continue undercutting their clientele. :okashii:

I think this is a cut above the run-of-the-mill anti-Nova lawsuit, Usually the government doesn't get involved. Its definitely not the end of the world for NOVA but this time they are getting way more bad publicity and may face administrative action by the government (as opposed to just paying damages to aggrieved clients). I read that NOVA's stock dropped about 14% the day this story came out.

Glenski
Feb 23, 2007, 06:52
They want you to pee into a cup man! Is that too much to ask?
If they test everyone
Let's stop right here. They DON'T ask everyone. The discrimination is made because the JAPANESE employees don't have to go through this. NOVA has been called on this (in court, I believe, too), and it is ILLEGAL to have such drug testing only for foreigners. The fact that they haven't had the actual testing done in years shows that they know this, but they STILL keep the illegal clause in their contracts.

If someone wants you to pee in a cup, tell them you will if they will, too. THEN, see what they say.

I have not visited this thread much, but a quick glance shows that there is a TON of misinformation here. I wish I had time to straighten things out.

faustz
Mar 3, 2007, 22:23
Hi there, this is my 1st psot here and i got a few questions,

1) While working in NOVA, the min salary of 250,000 does it already include the rental fee for the place you are staying at? or must you pay for that yourself from your salary?

2) I live in Singapore, i have not attended University yet but i have got a diploma in engineering, is a diploma counted or must you still have to attend and get a degree from a Uni?

Thanks

Iron Chef
Mar 4, 2007, 01:11
Rent is not included in your base salary and must be deducted accordingly. And yes, you must have some sort of accredited University degree in any academic discipline. Not sure what the credentials are on your Diploma but it probably wouldn't be enough.

faustz
Mar 4, 2007, 01:26
ahh, may i know how much on average is the rent?
Thanks for the reply

ET_Fukuoka
Mar 4, 2007, 13:52
55000-59000 I think is what I paid for a NOVA apartment. Thats sharing too. It's a good place to start but I would recommend getting out as soon as you can if you plan on staying in Japan for any longer than a year.

Glenski
Mar 5, 2007, 10:38
Rent depends on location. If ET Fukuoka is living in Kyushu, he will probably pay less. Most people I have seen on the forums will quote you roughly 70,000 yen/month per PERSON in a shared apartment, but as much as that is highway robbery, it includes utilities (up to about 8000 yen/month, I think).

Look at NOVA's web site. It clearly lays out how much you get paid depending on location (and bear in mind the early months are lower because you are on probationary salary).

Mike Cash
Mar 5, 2007, 12:57
Putting several teachers into a Nova-sponsored apartment and then charging each of them the full rent for the place (while acting like they're doing the teachers a favor) is a time-honored Nova tradition.

GaijinPunch
Mar 5, 2007, 13:15
The discrimination is made because the JAPANESE employees don't have to go through this. NOVA has been called on this (in court, I believe, too), and it is ILLEGAL to have such drug testing only for foreigners.

It is? The same way it's illegal for the police discriminate by doing 'random' ID checks only on foreigners? The same way a real estate agent can simply stop a foreigner at the door and say, 'sorry, we don't have any places that rent to foreigners'. This would also be the discrimination found in Onsens in Hokkaido I would assume. Despite it's legality, it is painfully clear that protection against such practices is non-existant. Nova isn't going to get in trouble to ask it's employees for proof that they're not doing something very illegal.

Monolake
Mar 5, 2007, 22:34
Hi everyone,

I have a few questions for all the Nova experts in the house. I rather whimsically applied on-line to Nova the other day and they contacted to come on in for an interview. I am living in Japan (7 years), married to a Japanese National and study at a Japanese University. I only want to work part-time but can't work out if they actually employ part-time or not.

One other comment: from the tone of this thread, I may be far to qualified to work at Nova (even if it is basically only for some Yen). I have an M.A. and I'm chewing my way through a Phd. Seems like a recipe for disaster!....

Cheers

Glenski
Mar 6, 2007, 08:06
It is [discrimination]? The same way it's illegal for the police discriminate by doing 'random' ID checks only on foreigners? The same way a real estate agent can simply stop a foreigner at the door and say, 'sorry, we don't have any places that rent to foreigners'. This would also be the discrimination found in Onsens in Hokkaido I would assume.Yup, all of those are examples of discrimination. Pretty clear.


Despite it's legality, it is painfully clear that protection against such practices is non-existant.
Legality of discrimination? Discrimination is illegal, as evidenced by Japan signing the 1995 anti-discrimination treaty. HOWEVER, as you pointed out, the rub is that Japan has not followed up on that by enacting any laws to put teeth into the treaty. So, yes, there are few, if any, protective practices against discrimination. Not sure what point you were making unless it was related to the next point.

Nova isn't going to get in trouble to ask it's employees for proof that they're not doing something very illegal.Oh, really? How do you know that? They have not done drug testing since the mid-1990s for a reason. The union won a court case against them showing that it was discrimination to test only foreigners. These 2 links show the start of the process.
http://www.novaunion.com/zet/M3.html
http://www.novaunion.com/zet/NPS11.html (Ignore the statement in this article that says NOVA is going to have all employees drug tested, not just foreigners. That never happened.)

Monolake,
Downplay your degrees. Nod a lot in the interview. Accept their teaching policy and you'll have a better chance of getting a job there, for what it's worth.

As far as PT hours go, it depends on you how many hours you want to teach.

Monolake
Mar 6, 2007, 08:38
Monolake,
Downplay your degrees. Nod a lot in the interview. Accept their teaching policy and you'll have a better chance of getting a job there, for what it's worth.
As far as PT hours go, it depends on you how many hours you want to teach.[/QUOTE]

Glenski,

Cheers for the advice.

M

GaijinPunch
Mar 6, 2007, 10:57
My point is that many laws, discrimination being the main one, are rarely, if ever, enforced in Japan.

Elizabeth
Apr 4, 2007, 16:42
I think this is a cut above the run-of-the-mill anti-Nova lawsuit, Usually the government doesn't get involved. Its definitely not the end of the world for NOVA but this time they are getting way more bad publicity and may face administrative action by the government (as opposed to just paying damages to aggrieved clients). I read that NOVA's stock dropped about 14% the day this story came out.
It isn't the end of the line by any means, although this ruling today by the Japanese Supreme Court today did go against the company and agreed that refund amounts for cancelled contacts were systematically undercalcuated.
As a result, NOVA has been ordered to compensate the plantiff more than 300,000 yen and will be threatened with a freeze on admitting new students for noncompliance. Anyone know how much their stock price went down the day this ruling was announced ? The publicity is getting more and more damaging. It'll be really interesting to watch the fallout from all this on pending cases as well as NOVA's overall financial health and corporate viability.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20070404a1.html

Glenski
Apr 4, 2007, 20:29
Yeah seriously, WTF is wrong with a drug test?
Well, how would you feel if only a certain type of people were required to take the drug test? Let's be creative:

Only people with blue eyes.
Only people that are left-handed.
Only people that have a certain blood type.

Pretty discriminatory, wouldn't you say?

Ok, now let's talk about the REAL story. The NOVA teachers are the only ones at that company who have the drug testing clause in their contracts. None of the Japanese employees do. DISCRIMINATION.

THAT'S what's wrong with the drug testing.

pipokun
Apr 4, 2007, 22:06
...
Legality of discrimination? Discrimination is illegal, as evidenced by Japan signing the 1995 anti-discrimination treaty. HOWEVER, as you pointed out, the rub is that Japan has not followed up on that by enacting any laws to put teeth into the treaty.
...

Yes, some LDP members and the ruling coalitions have been eager to enact the controversial human right law for years.
I bet the current gaijin right activists will turn "no more highly controlled society" activists after the enactment.

KirinMan
Apr 4, 2007, 23:01
Ok, now let's talk about the REAL story. The NOVA teachers are the only ones at that company who have the drug testing clause in their contracts. None of the Japanese employees do. DISCRIMINATION.
THAT'S what's wrong with the drug testing.

While I agree that is is discriminatory in theory, it appears to me that the only employees of NOVA to be "caught" using or possessing illegal drugs are it's "foreign" staff. I have not heard of any of their Japanese staff being caught or arrested for breaking the drug laws here in Japan.

I agree that it should (NOVA) have the same rules for all of it's employees

Howver, I wonder if for example the coaching staffs of any NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, (sorry for those that are unfamiliar with the acronyms, National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, or National Hockey League), in the US are tested for illegal drugs as well. What about any soccer league? Do they test for illegal drugs? If they do do the staff and administration get tested as well?

What about the coaching staffs and mangers of any Olympic team? Do they get tested after every event? I doubt it.

THe NOVA teachers are the "kanban" or sign-board front of the company, they are the "athletes" that make or break the company and when their "stars" go or get out of line it is rather easy to understand the company's position in making "testing" a part of their organization.

One other thing, any "new" employee of NOVA is notified of this testing procedure before they are hired, so if anyone has a problem with it there is no need for them to accept employment with them.

I have a hard time with understanding people that know the rules and regulations ahead of being hired and then bitching about them afterwards. If they didn't like it in the first place there was no need for them to accept the job in the first place.

DoctorP
Apr 5, 2007, 08:11
One other thing, any "new" employee of NOVA is notified of this testing procedure before they are hired, so if anyone has a problem with it there is no need for them to accept employment with them.

I have a hard time with understanding people that know the rules and regulations ahead of being hired and then bitching about them afterwards. If they didn't like it in the first place there was no need for them to accept the job in the first place.


Very well said...It is amazing how common sense is thrown out the window sometimes isn't it!

Jun 13, 2007, 23:27
It isn't the end of the line by any means, although this ruling today by the Japanese Supreme Court today did go against the company and agreed that refund amounts for cancelled contacts were systematically undercalcuated.
As a result, NOVA has been ordered to compensate the plantiff more than 300,000 yen and will be threatened with a freeze on admitting new students for noncompliance.NOVA Dealt Penalty for Deception (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20070614a1.html)
Nova Corp., the nation's largest English-language school chain, was ordered by the government Wednesday to partially suspend business for six months for lying to customers about its services.NOVA Barred from Making Long Contracts (http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20070614TDY01002.htm)
The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry said Wednesday it ordered Nova Corp., the nation's largest English language school chain, to suspend for six months its recruitment of customers for new contracts of more than one year or 70 lesson hours, starting Thursday.NOVA Handed Suspension Order over Tuition Fee Practices (http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/national/archive/news/2007/06/13/20070613p2a00m0na015000c.html)
Furthermore, when inviting students to take lessons, the company advertised that they could book lessons any time they wanted, but because of the difficulty in securing teachers, it remained difficult to make bookings.NOVA's response (http://www.nova.ne.jp/index_compliance.html)

Ewok85
Jun 14, 2007, 01:14
The floodgates open!

Sooo glad I'm as far away from the English teaching circuit as you can possibly get. I'm hoping for a removal of English as a compulsory topic by 2010.

senseiman
Jun 14, 2007, 03:39
Yeah, I'm glad I got out of English teaching too. I imagine if and when NOVA folds the market will be flooded with teachers.

Sukotto
Jun 14, 2007, 07:06
Yeah, I'm glad I got out of English teaching too. I imagine if and when NOVA folds the market will be flooded with teachers.


I better hurry then,
since i am philosophically opposed to a college degree (for myself, even
though i am like 2/3 through),
it might be my last best chance to be able to live there for a while.

I know all private English language schools, including NOVA, have a policy
of hiring teachers only with a 4 year college degree, but I've read stuff
in internet/rumor land that one might be able to work part-time.
Then with over time make up the difference for survival.

Elizabeth
Jun 14, 2007, 09:19
I better hurry then,
since i am philosophically opposed to a college degree (for myself, even
though i am like 2/3 through),
it might be my last best chance to be able to live there for a while.
I know all private English language schools, including NOVA, have a policy
of hiring teachers only with a 4 year college degree, but I've read stuff
in internet/rumor land that one might be able to work part-time.
Then with over time make up the difference for survival.
If you get more interested in the language, going over for a year of study would be another option. It may be prohibitively expensive and even less flexible in terms of eligibility, but there's always the possibility of looking for a teaching position or other PT work within the confines of a roof over your head and a guaranteed meal or two a day.

If the Japanese government does not come to NOVA's rescue in the next several months and it is either 'allowed' to shut down or goes through a major downsizing I'd say in the short term it's a total waste of time to apply without a degree. More reputable eikaiwas would likely start raising their standards by requiring MAs or TEFL degrees at the same time they're lowering salaries, increasing hours and letting go of older teachers to take advantage of the supply/demand imbalance.

Over the longer term of course NOVA could go under and come back under a different name or a variety of smaller, equally suspect, if not shadier, firms could spring up to absorb the glut. Then you'd absolutely have to burn the midnight oil to make up any difference.

It'll be really interesting to see how this all plays out by the end of the year. :souka:

senseiman
Jun 14, 2007, 09:26
Why on earth would you be philosophically opposed to a degree? Its a tool that you can use to get the type of job in Japan that you want, if you can get one then go for it, otherwise your options are pretty limited.

The main problem for you is that the normal avenue for non-degree holders, the working holiday visa, isn't available to Americans. I say go finish that 1/3 of the degree you've got left.

Also, about that "4 year degree" requirement, if you've got a 3 year degree then they'll still take you. I had a 3 year undergraduate degree from a Canadian university and I was hired by both GEOS and AEON despite that fact without any trouble.

Ewok85
Jun 14, 2007, 12:44
Yeah, I'm glad I got out of English teaching too. I imagine if and when NOVA folds the market will be flooded with teachers.

But these people aren't "teachers" - working in an eikaiwa using fixed lessons based on textbooks with classes of 3 or less people, a vast majority of these people have not studied education or have any qualifications in education.

If anything it will flood the market with untrained and on the whole inexperienced (as the majority of NOVA people that I know are fresh graduates) foreigners - some of which will find work as ALT's, but those who are doing what I consider "serious" teaching (ie. direct hire) won't be bothered.

But then there is always the question of will the employers care? Would they rather someone who is educated, trained and experienced as a teacher of ESL, or someone who will work for less but doesn't have the same experience? Money is a factor too.


but I've read stuff in internet/rumor land

Not a rumour - a fact. To be able to work more than one year (if you are British, Canadian, Australian) you need to have completed a degree from a registered college or university. And its not NOVA's choice, its the governments order.


Why on earth would you be philosophically opposed to a degree? Its a tool that you can use to get the type of job in Japan that you want, if you can get one then go for it, otherwise your options are pretty limited.

I am not the greatest advocate of tertiary education either. For example I only went to University for one year, completed the most advanced Japanese course available.... then quit. There was nothing left for me. Meanwhile I was expected to study, and pay a fair amount too, so I would have enough "credit" to be able to study and pay for more subjects I have no interest in, etc. I also did a computer science course, found it to be total dribble, was denied being allowed to study 2nd year material, so refused to go to lectures and only turned up for the exam.

I know plenty of CS graduates, most of which don't have any real world experience at using a computer, and just have theory that in the real world is pretty much useless unless you want to go back and teach CS. They would be better off just making them read technical whitepapers than the stuff they already teach.

KirinMan
Jun 14, 2007, 13:34
. I'm hoping for a removal of English as a compulsory topic by 2010.

Never happen in fact it will most likely become a compulsory subject in ALL elementary schools here in Japan maybe by that time.

NOVA exists because of the failings of the current way of teaching compulsory English. What I would rather see is NOVA disappear along with all the rest of the "eikaiwa's", which wont happen either I'm afraid.

Even if NOVA folds someone somewhere here will step up and fill in their shoes.

Sukotto
Jun 14, 2007, 14:58
Not a rumour - a fact. To be able to work more than one year (if you are British, Canadian, Australian) you need to have completed a degree from a registered college or university. And its not NOVA's choice, its the governments order.


I meant a rumor that one might be able to get on at NOVA w/out the degree.

I've heard it was gov't law for any gov't run institution for 4yr college degree requirement.
But I did not know it was law for private run institutions. I just
thought it was their policy.

Bucko
Jun 14, 2007, 15:16
I'm so glad I got out when I did. Getting that final pay cheque last month was a big relief, now all I have to worry about are my friends that are still there. Poor buggers. English teaching in Japan is such a joke. Now that I'm actually at a properly managed, legitimate Japanese language school with properly qualified teachers, I look back to the "English teaching" days as something of a complete sham. Teachers who get very little training, teachers who hardly understand the workings of English, let alone being able to teach it, students who don't question or challenge you, it's just a joke. I don't know why they make students learn English at school for four years. Language is a thing that takes years upon years to learn. Either make English a subject compulsary from the first grade of school, or get rid of it completely.

Elizabeth
Jun 14, 2007, 16:01
If anything it will flood the market with untrained and on the whole inexperienced (as the majority of NOVA people that I know are fresh graduates) foreigners - some of which will find work as ALT's, but those who are doing what I consider "serious" teaching (ie. direct hire) won't be bothered.
I imagine quite a lot of these NOVA folks -- particularly the younger, fresher inexperienced graduates at the bottom end -- will simply end up leaving Japan if their branch closes. Their only other competitive options may be to wait around for one of the other large eikaiwas to expand or work for bottom rock wages at a startup. And there will almost certainly be greater govt. regulation and oversight of anyone that comes up to fill the hole than there has been on the industry until this point.

Although I personally rather suspect the company isn't going anywhere in the short term, and that a much smaller, leaner, hopefully nicer :), more student-oriented NOVA will still be around in some form come next January. Whether it will still be under the same management, recruiting out of its overseas offices, hiring at all for that matter, and how many of its some 500,000 students will be looking for another teacher are the real acid test questions we'll all be looking to guage and endlessly analyze over the next few weeks and months. :-)

Iron Chef
Jun 14, 2007, 20:13
It's amusing to read some of these replies... I take myself and my craft seriously. I've been self-employed and owner/operator of my own language school for a couple years now. And I am very successful at it. In fact, I have turned away students and new contracts now for the last six months simply because there aren't enough hours in the day for me anymore.

Anybody can call themselves an "English teacher" but the ones who willingly dedicate their time and patience to commit themselves to helping a student progress are few and far between. NOVA dropped the ball on that one. Like most of the major eikawa, it was all about the signups. Getting them into the system was/is their only real priority. Student care and aggressively helping students to achieve the goals they set out for themselves fell along the wayside.

Oh well, more business for me I suppose should I choose to take it up lol. If I told you the number of current eikawa branch school managers and teachers I teach atm (NOVA, AEON, GEOS, ECC, etc.) as my own students you'd all be surprised... Guess it just shows that even the company employees don't have faith in their own system anymore.

Expect to see more entrepreneurs like myself stepping up to fill in the void. I don't do contracts with students, I let them pay me monthly on the same day every month or they can opt for a pay-as-you-go rate per lesson/class. There are no extra fees or additional charges tacked on. EVER. There is no penalty for makeups or having to cancel a class (with reasonable notice). And there are no stipulations or penalties about deciding to leave should the student feel dissatisfied with their progress/instruction for whatever reason. In other words, I do everything NOVA doesn't.:-)

Ewok85
Jun 14, 2007, 22:03
I meant a rumor that one might be able to get on at NOVA w/out the degree.
I've heard it was gov't law for any gov't run institution for 4yr college degree requirement.
But I did not know it was law for private run institutions. I just
thought it was their policy.

It hasn't got the slightest thing to do with the company - its all about immigration. No degree, no work visa. No work visa - no work.

bakaKanadajin
Jun 14, 2007, 22:28
The CEO said he wasn't thinking about stepping down. He may not be under any heat to do so yet, but who knows, the media and executives are old hands at the attack and save-face game. He may be packing up his bearer bonds and heading for the back door as I type this, you just can't tell.

I don't think the market for Eikaiwas is necessarily going anywhere. It's not as if thousands of really busy people have time to undertake a serious curriculum and start seeing a private teacher. The whole concept of being able to sign into a class and practice what you already know or just keep up your skills is still desirable.

It's a trade-off though, if you want convenient lessons (let's say Nova's anytime/anywhere policy did work) what degree of personalization could you expect if you were seeing a different teacher all the time and coming in last minute? Many times I've planned a lesson to the T only to have some bloody sign-in who's already done the lesson screw everything up. All my quick-thinking goes out the window and I have to do something less interesting to accomodate this individual who can't commit to a schedule in advance.

NOVA has to do a lot to improve its customer service first of all, and then its curriculum and teaching standards, etc. but I think sometimes the whole concept of some Japanese people taking English as a hobby and 'accessorizing' their life with it also plays a role in creating the problems. Learning is a serious undertaking that requires home-study and practice, many students at Eikaiwas don't do this.

Iron Chef
Jun 15, 2007, 02:10
Learning is a serious undertaking that requires home-study and practice, many students at Eikaiwas don't do this.

Amen to that. Serious students have to take it upon themselves and abandon the notion that no matter how much they pay, going once or twice a week for 50 minutes at a time to learn English but then leaving it at the door when you leave will get you nowhere. At any rate, NOVA will have some to spin some serious damage control I suspect. Will be interesting to see how they deal with the fallout of the decision against them.

senseiman
Jun 15, 2007, 03:16
It's amusing to read some of these replies... I take myself and my craft seriously. I've been self-employed and owner/operator of my own language school for a couple years now. And I am very successful at it. In fact, I have turned away students and new contracts now for the last six months simply because there aren't enough hours in the day for me anymore.
Anybody can call themselves an "English teacher" but the ones who willingly dedicate their time and patience to commit themselves to helping a student progress are few and far between. NOVA dropped the ball on that one. Like most of the major eikawa, it was all about the signups. Getting them into the system was/is their only real priority. Student care and aggressively helping students to achieve the goals they set out for themselves fell along the wayside.
Oh well, more business for me I suppose should I choose to take it up lol. If I told you the number of current eikawa branch school managers and teachers I teach atm (NOVA, AEON, GEOS, ECC, etc.) as my own students you'd all be surprised... Guess it just shows that even the company employees don't have faith in their own system anymore.
Expect to see more entrepreneurs like myself stepping up to fill in the void. I don't do contracts with students, I let them pay me monthly on the same day every month or they can opt for a pay-as-you-go rate per lesson/class. There are no extra fees or additional charges tacked on. EVER. There is no penalty for makeups or having to cancel a class (with reasonable notice). And there are no stipulations or penalties about deciding to leave should the student feel dissatisfied with their progress/instruction for whatever reason. In other words, I do everything NOVA doesn't.:-)


That is awesome. I spent a couple of years doing pretty much the exact same thing, ie teaching students on my own out of my apartment. I don't know if I would call it a "school", though we did have an room set up as a class. Like you I only charged students monthly and never had any formal contracts. It worked out great for me too, it was the best time I had in Japan.

You seem to view the (potential) collapse of NOVA as a good thing. I don't think it is a good thing for the private operator though. I always thought it was useful to have the big schools around because you could easily undercut their prices (which are outrageous) while offering even better service. They serve a pretty useful function in creating demand for English lessons (through their marketing, etc) and in soaking up teachers (I note that some object to the use of that word to describe NOVA employees but I find that attitude a bit condescending).

If NOVA goes under the market will be flooded by teachers. This will probably have a lot of consequences for the small operator, who may face more competition from ex-NOVA teachers. Unlike competing with NOVA itself, which charges ludicrous rates, these teachers will offer private lessons at a reasonable rate.

Of course, the other effect of a NOVA collapse will be a bunch of students without a school. The problem though is that a lot of those students probably won't just go to another English school, but will just quit altogether. A lot of them were probably just brought into English lessons by the NOVA marketing machine and, without that, they'll probably loose their interest.

So the bottom line will be less demand for English lessons with more English teachers offering lessons for lower prices. Thats a tough market.

Bucko
Jun 16, 2007, 20:08
I've never quite understood the whole "I want to study English conversation" thing. Surely a well rounded process of grammar, vocab, plus speaking practice is much better overall than the rubbish people learn at "conversation schools". I saw so many students over the years who complain that their grammar, spelling, writing, well, pretty much everything, was bad. "It's no wonder" I thought, you come here and repeat a few lame situational phrases from a monkey, and you expect to be learning?

Seriously, without bragging, I've been studying Japanese for two and a half years, and I'm pretty sure that my ability in every single area, except for maybe vocab, is better than many of the "high level" students at Nova, who have been "studying" English for 5, 10 years plus.

I've just recently heard the phrase "English fetish", which might be part of the reason. I.e., it's not important to be able to communicate properly, or even really learn the language. The primary goal is to be able to coin up some random phrases to satisfy some weird desire to, well, be able to coin up random phrases. In fact, if 95&#37; of all English schools were shut down then the country would still function with no problem. I laugh when I hear reasons like "because English is the global language". Haha, like that's their (maybe 80% of "student's") real reason. 80% of the people studying English in Japan (which is like 5% of the population or something) don't need English. If they did then there wouldn't be so many bad students, and they'd realise they're not learning it properly and demand higher quality lessons, higher quality content etc so that they actually COULD get access to English information sources. No, their true reason is to fulfill that weird fetish to be able to speak a few random, useless phrases, maybe to look cool or intelligent or something.

Elizabeth
Jun 16, 2007, 22:11
I've never quite understood the whole "I want to study English conversation" thing. Surely a well rounded process of grammar, vocab, plus speaking practice is much better overall than the rubbish people learn at "conversation schools". I saw so many students over the years who complain that their grammar, spelling, writing, well, pretty much everything, was bad. "It's no wonder" I thought, you come here and repeat a few lame situational phrases from a monkey, and you expect to be learning?

The emphasis on learning is slight because these schools realize most students are coming for decidedly unacademic reasons. They want to meet foreigners, socialize, experience something different, get out of the house, etc...which makes for an expensive hobby but isn't necessarily anything condemnable once you understand it isn't likely they'll ever either need to use or even have the opportunity to practice speaking English outside of class.

Of course at NOVA things were always done a bit different, and always a bit more underhanded....no hanging out with instructors, so we'll have to con students into enrolling as a way to find more Japanese friends (remember that "NOVA tomo" ad ?!). Hilarious !! :p

bakaKanadajin
Jun 16, 2007, 23:28
I've never quite understood the whole "I want to study English conversation" thing. Surely a well rounded process of grammar, vocab, plus speaking practice is much better overall than the rubbish people learn at "conversation schools". I saw so many students over the years who complain that their grammar, spelling, writing, well, pretty much everything, was bad. "It's no wonder" I thought, you come here and repeat a few lame situational phrases from a monkey, and you expect to be learning?

I have to agree and disagree here. You're right that learning 'English conversation' as your one and only means of becoming proficient in English is flawed. Learning phrases by rote completely avoids the inner structures that allow one to create ones own language. Being able to tailor your skills to participate in different situations is made easier by figuring out how to 'think' in another language, and that only comes through analyzing grammar and seeing the thought processes behind it, its logic.

However in the defense of some Eikaiwa students and also myself, once you have learned those key grammar points and built your vocabulary into something fairly well-rounded, knowing how to naturally execute a conversation is a challenge. Most people who show up on the door step of Eikaiwas are quite well-versed in grammar but simply don't have the ability to immerse themselves in English to the degree that they're thinking in English and producing it naturally. They think in Japanese and produce something thats English but still not intelligible to a native speaker. All my theory and studying didn't amount to anything the first time I tried to have a conversation, using language is different from studying it.


Seriously, without bragging, I've been studying Japanese for two and a half years, and I'm pretty sure that my ability in every single area, except for maybe vocab, is better than many of the "high level" students at Nova, who have been "studying" English for 5, 10 years plus.

I too have been studying for a very short time (around 1 year) and I also seem to be ahead of my peers in terms of my reading, writing and speaking ability. I would wager that you and I delved quite deeply into our grammar books and dictionaries, I know I did, and that our progress wouldn't be as far along if we'd relied solely on a Barron's or LonelyPlanet phrase book. So again I agree with you there, rote-learning isn't the way to go.

But another commonly overlooked skill is listening. I'd go so far as to say listening is just as important, if not slightly more so, than speaking. Conversations go both ways and listening at a near native-speaker level is paramount. As a former teacher I can adjust my speech to suit the level of anyone from a beginner to an advanced person, but most regular individuals won't do that. Listening and processing quickly is a hard thing to improve at. Again, being in an immersive environment is the only way to achieve this, and the Eikaiwa or some form of 'conversational coaching' becomes necessary. My language exchange partners are a valuable part of my learning process at the moment.

Bucko
Jun 17, 2007, 12:12
Interesting discussion. I'd just like to add that I'm not totally against the "Nova way". In fact, I'd actually quite like to take Japanese lessons in the Nova style because, as bakaKanadajin says, being able to tailor your skills to participate in different situations is made easier by figuring out how to 'think' in another language.


Most people who show up on the door step of Eikaiwas are quite well-versed in grammar

I'd have to disagree with you here. I'd have to say that, even though these people have been "taught" grammar, they don't actually know it. They either forget it quickly, or consider it unimportant, thus never learning it from the beginning. The Eikaiwa companies actually use this mentality to sell their product too, telling people that they "don't need grammar", thus people end up not being too concerned about it, which turns into a viscious cirlce. Whether it was the Eikaiwas who started this philosophy to get lazy people to sign up, or whether the lazy people wanted a different way to learn is not really clear though. Nevertheless, that's the mentality. Also, if you look at the quality of many of these student's written English, you'll see that grammar learning has been severely neglected, so I don't believe that most people are well-versed in grammar. Which again supports my (pretty understandable) belief that only a well-rounded learning process of Nova-like conversation, plus decent, solid grammar study will get these students anywhere. If, however, they are simply the types that have the so-called "English fetish" then by all means they should simply go to Nova and not worry about anything else. But they're not allowed to complain that their English sux :p

Sukotto
Jun 17, 2007, 12:42
Why on earth would you be philosophically opposed to a degree? Its a tool that you can use to get the type of job in Japan that you want, if you can get one then go for it, otherwise your options are pretty limited.
The main problem for you is that the normal avenue for non-degree holders, the working holiday visa, isn't available to Americans. I say go finish that 1/3 of the degree you've got left.
Also, about that "4 year degree" requirement, if you've got a 3 year degree then they'll still take you. I had a 3 year undergraduate degree from a Canadian university and I was hired by both GEOS and AEON despite that fact without any trouble.


US has 2yr Associates degrees.
and working holiday visas for Americans?
these people are too crazy, as the following may attest to:


oh, boy,
are you ready for this one?


you're all going to totally rip this apart, i know.
i'll try my best. i never put it "on paper", so to speak.
just had varying ideas going around in my head for a number of years.
and, if i list spell them out to you, it might be the end of it and might just
wind up getting one after all because a) you might convince me otherwise; or b) whenever i say i am going to do something, i often do not do it.
so here the opposite.

my very first semester in attending university was a 2nd semester and the school i went to wasn't that big so the first Japanese language course was not taught during this semester. i'd had it in high school and my Japanese teacher suggested why don't i go to college for Japanese after he learned i didn't really have any plans after high school. i could get a degree in anything and go to Japan to teach English. so Japanese language was
the primary reason i went after taking a couple years off not really thinking too much about attending during that time.
that was what got me to go in the first place. had it not been for Japanese language, i would not have gone to college at all.
with my first semester not having Japanese, when it was almost done i almost failed to make the minimum required gpa because one particular course i'd just about given up on. i didn't really want to be there any way and i'm not taking the courses i wanted, so why should i be there? an adviser convinced me to go talk to one prof about the particular class. so i remained in college.

even though i really had my doubts about wanting to be there at all.
i felt college was for the rich people.
why should i get to be a privileged shmuck?
maybe i could become an "expert" and tell other people the way
things should be or how they should live their lives?
that seemed kind of immoral to me.
for instance, i don't want to become a social worker and tell some kid they had better shape up or face the consequences. coercion.

and the whole "IQ" test thing is culturally biased.
"so we college graduates are smart because we have these
degrees that show a mastery of set of knowledge X."
which whom deems that particular knowledge important?
generally speaking, groups that control more of the planets resources
than the rest.

those with the degree should get paid more money because those
that control most of the resources(money) deem that particular set
of knowledge valuable. why? because it helps them keep control
of the resources, of course. share a little more of those resources
with with those (degree/knowledge holders) that can use their cleverness to help maintain the resources in the hands of the few.


and if you are not able to obtain enough of the pre-determined set
of knowledge that is good at helping maintain the resources in the hands that they are, you should just get less resources of the earth. or so it is determined by those (we allow) to lay claim to a disproportionate amount of the earth's limited resources.
the earth is not an endless resource, therefore, the theory that a "rising tide of economic goodness will raise all ships" is rather incorrect.
only so much can be "re-invested" in resource extraction, the source of all real wealth -the earth, because there is only so much resources to extract.
simply adding some numbers to current numbers and "inventing" more value or wealth is a flaming joke; a house of cards ready to crumble when it goes on too long.

that's also a sort of time line of ideas as i obtained or contemplated them. (perhaps poorly)

so,
college is primarily about the restocking of the ruling class.

at least in a society with such disparities in wealth as the US,
despite the idea of "class" being well hidden behind ideology and rhetoric.


today,
the ruling class primarily hides their privilege behind the legal protections
of the corporation. not only privilege in disproportionate access to the earth's resources, including the resources in other peoples' countries which are actually a particular people's first and foremost, but also the privileges that the legal form called the corporation constructs, such as limited liability for the owners/shareholders, among others. these privileges were primarily constructed over the past century, century and a half.



and criticizing corporations i've found out, not in a collge class, but in extra-curicular activities (http://www.poclad.org/index.cfm), is not a "communist" endeavor:
"I hope we shall take warning from the example and crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."
said (Letter to Logan, 1816). THOMAS JEFFERSON

gI see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.h
– U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864

and the patron saint of capitalism
Adam Smith condemned corporations (http://www.poclad.org/articles/morris01.html) for their effect in curtailing "natural liberty."


so blah, blah, blah,
the us is the belly of the beast.

something bad was going to happen but we didn't know what.
well, lots bad was already happening coming from dc, but mostly
didn't affect people in the US so much.
then the US flat out invaded 2 countries,
dropping the war by proxy and usual low-intensity warfare of arming dictators and death squads (read Pinochets & Contras).
(low-intensity meaning attacking civilians; not very low-intensity for those it was aimed at: unionist/worker rights advocates, church groups, community groups, democratic organizers, etc...)


and maybe cute Japanese girls almost got me to leave this trash heap.
but thanks to others who are much smarter than i, this did not happen.



regarding going to Japan without a degree to try to get a job,
i also thought this not such a good thing because
one should respect the requirements of one's host.
i mean, "white males", be they wealthy land holders or not,
have historically gotten their way throughout history.
so here lies a very good reason, imo, to not try to weasel one's
way into a job in Japan without a degree.


yeah, yeah, sounds nice.
so who wants to give me a job?
not


yeah,
that about sums it up.
and going to Japan is an escape from this reality.
so, yeah.
forget about it.
at least for now.
lame-duck presidents still might claim they have a legal power
to attack Iran. impeachment is the least we can do for the rest
of the world; for those that live on the periferary of the empire,
to say we are sorry. will that happen? or are too many of us,
myself included, addicted to American Idle?
if only i'd stop sitting in front of this damn screen!

Ewok85
Jun 17, 2007, 13:14
You should have studied English in college, might make your posts easier to read.

nice gaijin
Jun 17, 2007, 13:16
There are a lot of thoughts floating around in that post, I'm not sure exactly what point you are trying to make, Sukotto...

Pepe
Jun 17, 2007, 20:09
1st: University (or College in American English) is not only about imparting knowledge in individuals, but also the tools to create, interpret and apply knowledge in a productive fashion. As to the idea of restocking the elite class, I fear you are not only barking up the wrong tree, but also are projecting.

2nd: A 4 year degree from the U.S. is equal to a 3 year degree in many other countries - the result is a Bachelors degree in 'x', so I suggest we use the termn Bachelors degree instead of 4 year degree, as in NZ a 4year degee either infers a double major or honours.

I apologise in advance if I offended/infuriated anyone, I couldn't be bothered sugar coating this post.

Sukotto
Jun 17, 2007, 23:03
There are a lot of thoughts floating around in that post, I'm not sure exactly what point you are trying to make, Sukotto...


basically,
college in general is a privilege.
so why should i take it.

even with the background of decent elementary and secondary
schools to provide the needed background requirements for entry;
if one is lucky enough to be born in neighborhoods
that make it difficult for one not to drop out-even as early as the 4th grade, as with one guy i met. This guy was in the 20s mind you. Not our grandparents' generation.
the background of decent upbringing too, is a privilege.

granted, a local state college is not Yale, Harvard, or any of those others
that produce snobs and twits that think that so much think they deserve so much of the planet's resources that they will actually kill to defend it.
witness forcing other countries to accept the legal structures called corporations, call it the "free" market, and construct some sort of philosophy to try and justify it. the "corporation" is not the same as 'making a snowball and selling it to someone'. a corporation, that is made of laws, is actually government interference in the economy - if defending the corporation is part of one's philosophy that makes one believe controlling so much of the earth's resources/wealth is only "natural" and government should not interfere with it.
the corporation is a historic tool of imperialism/colonialism to extract wealth in the name of the king.

so, maybe if i went to one of those "prestigious" schools, i'd more likely be in the ruling class. but they are always looking for servants; people to manage their money at the banks, their newspapers while having the same assumptions they do (such as great concentration of wealth is only natural, or those noted above corporations), and even their imperial grand strategies(note today's neo-cons, or liberals that have corporations butter their bread).


to Pepe:
nothing you wrote upset me.
i'm not of the ruling class, nor am i wishing to enter it.
so i do not understand the projecting thing.
but, the US does indeed have a ruling class.
even though there is no queen or nobility present.
though we are brought up not to recognize it.
yes, you might actually say indoctrinated.

college is about getting an education,
and/or about job training.
but it is also used to justify a system that is...
not entirely just


Ewok85 said:
"You should have studied English in college, might make your posts easier to read."
:lol: :sorry:


that stuff is basically
why i have not wanted to get a bachelor's degree.
it started out simple, but only got more complex or wordy over the years.
or maybe that's all just made up so i can
justify wanting to just hang out and play video games instead?
something i actually find little time for these days. :(

Iron Chef
Jun 19, 2007, 01:49
Seriously, without bragging, I've been studying Japanese for two and a half years, and I'm pretty sure that my ability in every single area, except for maybe vocab, is better than many of the "high level" students at Nova, who have been "studying" English for 5, 10 years plus.

That's because you have been living in Japan for some time now (I assume). You probably interact with Japanese daily. Take a Japanese student of English and transplant them for the same amount of time while they pursue English study in a total immersion environment and watch their progress skyrocket. Paying for a 50 min. class at an Eikawa then leaving your English at the door when you leave until the next time you arrive gets a student nowhere.

ArmandV
Jun 19, 2007, 02:37
That's because you have been living in Japan for some time now (I assume). You probably interact with Japanese daily. Take a Japanese student of English and transplant them for the same amount of time while they pursue English study in a total immersion environment and watch their progress skyrocket. Paying for a 50 min. class at an Eikawa then leaving your English at the door when you leave until the next time you arrive gets a student nowhere.

This reminds me of junior high Spanish classes. You go in for an hour's worth of instruction and as soon as you leave the classroom, the Spanish stays in the room and becomes "fugitive information" to you.

Sukotto
Jun 19, 2007, 06:10
basically,
college in general is a privilege.
so why should i take it.

i'm not saying it SHOULD be a privilege, just that it IS - currently.
and continues privilege onto the next generation.

Glenski
Jun 19, 2007, 11:07
sukotto,
Have just read a few of your more recent posts. Sounds like you are against getting a college degree, yet you want to come to Japan for work. Is that it?

Well, let me enlighten you on a few things.

1) To work here, you need a proper visa. Work visa is more common, and it requires either a bachelor's degree (or equivalent) or a minimum number of years of experience (3 for a teacher). Don't have either of these? No work visa. You can work on other types of visas, but you probably won't like them:
student visa (if you are enrolled in a school here FT),
cultural visa (if you are here to study a craft under a master),
dependent visa (if you are married to a foreigner with a work visa),
spouse visa (if you are married to a Japanese).
None of these requires a degree, and except for spouse visa, you can only work part-time (with permission from the government). You still have to face the fact that many employers will require a degree, any degree for teachers.

2) There is no working holiday visa for Americans. You don't need a degree for it, and with a year of college, WHV holders can work for NOVA part-time. The PT thing is NOVA's policy. Moot point for you, though.

3) You think college is for the rich. Wrong. It is for people who can afford to go, and that means people with money or the means to get it (in the form of loans, grants, scholarships, etc.). I was in the latter category. Poor family but got through college with assistance. I'm not the first or the last.

4) You wrote this:

i felt college was for the rich people.
why should i get to be a privileged shmuck?
maybe i could become an "expert" and tell other people the way
things should be or how they should live their lives?Are you suggesting that college graduates are experts and tell others how to run their lives? If so, think again.

5) You also wrote:

those with the degree should get paid more money because those
that control most of the resources(money) deem that particular set
of knowledge valuable. why?College graduates don't always get more money. Learn who does, if money is that important to you. It's not about power, no matter how much you think it is. Look how much money carpenters, plumbers, and electricians make, for example, and compare it to what a social worker makes, or a government employee at the DMV. If you are here just to dis on the "ruling class", then talk politics, not academic qualifications. Look at the ruling class in countries where there are military dictatorships. How many of those guys are college educated?

6) And, another quote:

regarding going to Japan without a degree to try to get a job,
i also thought this not such a good thing because
one should respect the requirements of one's host.
i mean, "white males", be they wealthy land holders or not,
have historically gotten their way throughout history.Not all foreign workers in Japan are white males. You have a lot to learn.

7) More:

going to Japan is an escape from this reality.If this is the case for you, I suggest you buy a ticket, plan a vacation, and spend time here as a tourist first. See what you envision as that "escape" vs. "reality". If you think the USA is a "trash heap", wait till you have started to live and work here. It's not all roses.

8)
basically,
college in general is a privilege.
so why should i take it.If you want a job here, you'll need it. If you don't have it, you'll need the experience. Pretty straightforward. That "privilege" opens a lot of doors, though.


it is also used to justify a system that is...
not entirely justIt is your prerogative to look at college education any way you like. Sadly, IMO, you choose to look only at the negative side. I think there is a stronger, hidden reason other than the political ramifications and sociological philosophies you spout here, though.

With all the mumbo-jumbo you type here, why not just go back, sleep through a few political science classes, and get a degree in that, then apply to the JET programme or an eikaiwa? Personally, with your attitude here, I think you'd fail the interview miserably, though.

FrustratedDave
Jun 19, 2007, 12:22
I don't really care if I get ripped to shreds for saying this, but on a whole English teaching in the private sector is pretty lame, sure there are some great teachers out there, but they are very few and far between.

Why I say this is b/c any old harry whos mother language is English can get 4 days training and become an English teacher. What percentage of these teachers actually have degrees for being an English teacher back at home? I dred to think of all the wrong information about grammer and such that has been conversed through one of these big English schools. I realise that they are conversation schools, but some natives can't use correct grammer in speech let alone on paper.

Just my thoughts on the matter and this is why I did not become an English teacher, b/c I had no confidence to be able to teach absolute correct grammer.

Bucko
Jun 19, 2007, 13:12
That's because you have been living in Japan for some time now (I assume). You probably interact with Japanese daily. Take a Japanese student of English and transplant them for the same amount of time while they pursue English study in a total immersion environment and watch their progress skyrocket. Paying for a 50 min. class at an Eikawa then leaving your English at the door when you leave until the next time you arrive gets a student nowhere.

That's exactly true, and it's the point that I was getting at. If you want to learn a language properly then going to one or two classes a week is not going to do anything for you. So when they complain about their lack of English, and how English is "too difficult", I want to tell them that their way of learning is flawed, and they shouldn't really expect too much. If all they want to do is have it as a hobby, then fine, but for those students who say "I wanting to use English at jobu" then they might want to reconsider.

Iron Chef
Jun 19, 2007, 13:15
I don't really care if I get ripped to shreds for saying this, but on a whole English teaching in the private sector is pretty lame, sure there are some great teachers out there, but they are very few and far between.

There are two kinds of "English teachers" in Japan (from my experience):

1) Those who do it because they can. It's the only thing they are legally qualified to work as while in Japan. Simple as that. They are considered native-speakers, have an accredited four-year degree, and do it as a ways to support their weekend lifestyles while playing the cultural tourist for the duration of their stay. Most have no real inclination towards teaching as a career and this usually shows in the classroom. Minimal preparation + minimal effort = a lot (not all, but enough...) of the major Eikawa teachers I have met/dealt with.

They leave their work at work and rarely take anything home with them. Additional handmade supplements/worksheets/handouts etc. made by the teacher in their offtime? Forget it. 2 minutes before their shift is scheduled to be over they are waiting to punch/sign/clock out. Student care is minimal, sometimes non-existant. I've seen foreign teachers cut students off just as the lesson time was up and proceed to usher them out the door.

One time a student even posed a question a few minutes before his lesson was scheduled to end to a teacher whose lesson I was observing. The teacher immediately looked at the clock, looked at me, looked back at the clock, then said curtly "Sorry, time's up. Save your questions for next time and we'll get to them." How would you feel as a student who just forked over a couple month's salary to sign up only to get that kind of treatment for your money?

The good news is most of these teachers don't renew their contract past a year or two at most. They save a little (if they haven't blown it all yet) and return home to find careers more suitable to their liking. Of course a few teachers become inspired and perhaps move on to the second kind of teacher I have found.

2) Those who do it because they enjoy it. At some point you cross that road where you start to take pride in your work. Or maybe you don't and stay forever labeled as one of those I mentioned above. Helping your students achieve their goals becomes just as much a reward for yourself as the money you're earning. The work is challenging, sometimes tedious, but never boring. You enjoy what you do and this too shows in the classroom. Outside preparation + extra effort on your part to go the extra mile = a great teacher. You customize, tailor, adopt and adapt as much as you can to suit the needs of your students. You learn to focus on their weak areas while reinforcing their strengths simultaneously. Progress is slow but measurable. Ultimately the student accomplishes what they set out for and the satisfaction they have in doing so is undeniable. This kind of cause-and-effect only serves to validate your motivations further as a teacher.

I myself went from being the first kind of teacher to becoming the second kind. For many, the whole teaching English thing is only a short-term gig to be enjoyed while it lasts. It gives people an easy in to Japan and allows them to see what Japanese life is all about firsthand. For others like myself, teaching has become a career that I enjoy tremendously and with enough time, effort, and a little risk taking has become more financially rewarding than anything I could be doing back home.

Glenski
Jun 19, 2007, 14:45
That's exactly true, and it's the point that I was getting at. If you want to learn a language properly then going to one or two classes a week is not going to do anything for you. Not necessarily an accurate assessment, IMO. You do realize that eikaiwa students (adult ones) have already had 6 years or more of English education, so they are not starting from scratch to learn grammar, don't you? Eikaiwa means "English conversation", so these types of schools capitalize on people's perceived needs to get some spoken language skills because they don't usually get any in HS. Two classes a week is actually a bare minimum I would recommend anyone to take for such a course. You get out of it what you put into it. Some don't look at the book or any other materials between classes, while others study hard on their own. Pretty obvious who improves.


So when they complain about their lack of English, and how English is "too difficult", I want to tell them that their way of learning is flawed, and they shouldn't really expect too much. If all they want to do is have it as a hobby, then fine, but for those students who say "I wanting to use English at jobu" then they might want to reconsider.Precisely my point above.

Re: Iron Chef's assessment.
Yes, there are good and bad teachers. There are also mediocre ones. Not all teachers who are less than serious are bad teachers. Not all teachers who enjoy the work are good ones, either. And, it's not always the case that some come here because they can't find anything else to do in life; they may actually be seeking a change or some excitement. Of that crowd, some are good at teaching, some suck, and some are in between.

I came with no aspirations of staying here more than a couple of years as a teacher, and along the way I felt I would be able to land a different sort of job. Was I a crappy teacher back then? No. Did I prepare 2 minutes before each class? No, far longer. I took (and still take) my lessons seriously and have done quite well after almost 9 years. I haven't found that other sort of job, but I've taken my teaching seriously all the time. I've moved from eikaiwa to part-time HS job + private lessons to full-time HS to FT university work. I also have a side business of scientific proofreading.

But I think I can see what Chef might have been getting at.
1) the less than serious types
2) the serious types
"Serious" meaning people who care about how they teach and put an effort into it, whether they are talented enough, mediocre, or horrible at it.

Bucko
Jun 19, 2007, 15:27
Eikaiwa means "English conversation", so these types of schools capitalize on people's perceived needs to get some spoken language skills because they don't usually get any in HS.

And it's nothing more than that too. I got an email from a friend the other day feeling down about his English ability. One of this complaints what not being able to read or write properly, as well as not understanding the grammar properly. I asked him why he expected to be able to do these things when all he's being taught are cliched conversational phrases.

One of the biggest misconceptions of the typical eikaiwa student is that they already know the grammar and thus eikaiwa is a way to broaden their ability. This is total nonsense. What adult, after being out of highschool for 3 + years remembers any of the grammar they learnt? They might remember a few verb tenses, and the basic English word order, but that's about it. And even when they were in school they most likely absorbed only 50% of what they were taught.

I'll say this as many times as I can until I can get through to people, both students and teachers - the only students who will get something out of attending an eikaiwa are those that are concurrently learning the grammar that goes with it, i.e. high school students, university students studying English, and anyone else who constantly refers to a grammar book.

FrustratedDave
Jun 19, 2007, 16:47
Not necessarily an accurate assessment, IMO. You do realize that eikaiwa students (adult ones) have already had 6 years or more of English education, so they are not starting from scratch to learn grammar, don't you? Eikaiwa means "English conversation", so these types of schools capitalize on people's perceived needs to get some spoken language skills because they don't usually get any in HS. Two classes a week is actually a bare minimum I would recommend anyone to take for such a course. You get out of it what you put into it. Some don't look at the book or any other materials between classes, while others study hard on their own. Pretty obvious who improves.
Precisely my point above.
Re: Iron Chef's assessment.
Yes, there are good and bad teachers. There are also mediocre ones. Not all teachers who are less than serious are bad teachers. Not all teachers who enjoy the work are good ones, either. And, it's not always the case that some come here because they can't find anything else to do in life; they may actually be seeking a change or some excitement. Of that crowd, some are good at teaching, some suck, and some are in between.
I came with no aspirations of staying here more than a couple of years as a teacher, and along the way I felt I would be able to land a different sort of job. Was I a crappy teacher back then? No. Did I prepare 2 minutes before each class? No, far longer. I took (and still take) my lessons seriously and have done quite well after almost 9 years. I haven't found that other sort of job, but I've taken my teaching seriously all the time. I've moved from eikaiwa to part-time HS job + private lessons to full-time HS to FT university work. I also have a side business of scientific proofreading.
But I think I can see what Chef might have been getting at.
1) the less than serious types
2) the serious types
"Serious" meaning people who care about how they teach and put an effort into it, whether they are talented enough, mediocre, or horrible at it.
I am still going to say that the private sector is pitiful. I suppose it comes down to what anyone thinks is a good standard. I tell you if I was on the other side of that fence and was learning Japanese the same way, I think I would be a very dissapointed customer. I would want some one with qualifications in teacher that language, not some joe blow who has just fininshed a three year art degree and wants to make a quick buck and get or even worse someone who has no degree and is here on a working holiday and is using the English teaching as means to an end. I mean ,thats what it amounts to... How many people come to Japan with a teaching degree with aspirations of teaching Japanese English the way it is suppossed to be done? I will answer, they are very few and far between. But hey , I am not completely negative, b/c I know of some teachers that really do study and prepare for thier students, but again these are few and far between. I hate being like this , but I have more bad experiences than good.:(

bakaKanadajin
Jun 19, 2007, 23:17
I’d agree that there are some large discrepancies between the abilities and experience level of various teachers within different kinds of teaching programs. I also agree that places like NOVA do need to hire a little more carefully, but I’m not convinced the failure of Japanese Eikaiwa students rests solely on the Eikaiwa teachers. As Glenski pointed out, there’s a wide spectrum of both teacher and student ability out there as well as varying levels of commitment to the entire process. But just 50 mins. of anything per week, no matter how good the teacher is, won’t help if you don’t study.

I don’t doubt that among teachers there are varying levels of commitment and enthusiasm for the entire teaching enterprise, but these varying levels are mirrored in student commitment and willingness to study at home as well. Again, the only way I see the Eikaiwa as a total failure and waste of money is during the beginning stages where you’re attempting to teach language basically through mimicry and classical conditioning, much like the Rosetta Stone language software if anyone’s ever tried it. (I’m sure glad I didn’t pay for that crud.)

Beyond that, most students who come to an Eikaiwa fairly soon after graduating have had enough language exposure such that IF THEY STUDY, the pieces will come together more rapidly and those latent grammar lessons and vocabulary will bubble to the surface and serve a purpose. I may have had exceptionally smart students at my school or something, but I never saw anyone between the ages of 15-21 start at a 7C Nova level. (Bottom of the ladder). Most came in at a minimum of 7A, if not 6, and in some cases a low 5. I think the students need more credit regarding what they’re taught in school.

Beyond that, while the aftermarket English instruction industry could stand to hire better teachers, we all have to remember that flying teachers over here, finding people willing to re-locate, to go through the upheaval, survive in another country, etc., isn’t an easy thing to do and its usually going to be fresh university graduates and young people answering the call. Bob Smith, age 45, with years of teaching experience and a family, isn’t going to move to South Korea or Japan for anything less than 100k a year.

Standards could improve, but teaching is not rocket science and on average if the students would study more and not rely on 40 mins a week, they’d succeed faster.

Sukotto
Jun 20, 2007, 07:41
Thanks for the feedback on this stuff.
It has been one of the first times I have laid it out for anyone.




sukotto,
Have just read a few of your more recent posts. Sounds like you are against getting a college degree, yet you want to come to Japan for work. Is that it?
Well, let me enlighten you on a few things.


3) You think college is for the rich. Wrong. It is for people who can afford to go, and that means people with money or the means to get it (in the form of loans, grants, scholarships, etc.). I was in the latter category. Poor family but got through college with assistance. I'm not the first or the last.

Well, yeah. It's for anyone who can afford it, or who wants to enslave themselves with years or worse of indentured servitude called debt.
When I speak of poor, I was thinking of poverty. Like living in a neighborhood in which dropping out of school in the 4th grade is the smart thing to do because it is too dangerous to keep going, or whatever reason really.
There is class in the US, despite that every sitcom on tv attempts to paint
the world (excuse me, only the US) as all "middle class". And making lots of money makes you a good person, really... it does.

4) You wrote this:

This was how i felt when i first entered college at age 20.
Perhaps I should have added that i do not believe everyone
that acquires schooling is a shmuck. Nurses, doctors that don't
cancel their appointments just to play golf, social workers that
care, are a some that might aquire beneficial skills at a college.



Are you suggesting that college graduates are experts and tell others how to run their lives? If so, think again.

When I was at college, someone I knew was going into social work.
Work with youth in trouble with the law. I told him I could never do
that. There's probably some stuff they are in trouble for I'd feel
like a real hypocrite doing a job about. Smoking pot for example.
The laws around this are total b.s.
While I have not smoked it in many years, it is less harmful than
alcohol or tobacco, and should not be illegal.

5) You also wrote:

But you left out comments about what knowledge base is deemed
valuable. The private colleges such as Yeel, Harvord, etc... set the
standards for the entire country. If these places want 4 year foreign
language high school requirement, than other colleges and universities
follow suit. I happen to agree that more 2nd languages is a good thing.
But the point here is who sets the agenda. The wealthy.


College graduates don't always get more money. Learn who does, if money is that important to you. It's not about power, no matter how much you think it is. Look how much money carpenters, plumbers, and electricians make, for example, and compare it to what a social worker makes, or a government employee at the DMV. If you are here just to dis on the "ruling class", then talk politics, not academic qualifications. Look at the ruling class in countries where there are military dictatorships. How many of those guys are college educated?

Money IS power.
And money is not important to me.
A couple years ago, I would have gone to Japan to "teach" English with only my dictionaries and text books. And since I rarely drink (never got drunk until I was 25. no "straightedge" cult, just didn't) I wouldn't have been one hitting the bars or clubs that I imagine many people are into.

Someone asked me why I did not want a degree, so I responded.
That is why I have written such stuff in this string.
Schools are a major institution in which a society recreates itself.
That includes privileges that also existed.
Including class, which even the mighty land of equality has never
been free of. And in fact today the US is more divided by concentrations
of wealth than a place like Britain, with its monarchy.

I guess schools are really 2 1/2 things,
job training, and also education.
Falling under education would also be indoctrination.
Myths told here might be: the US won the cold war.
There is now, in the year 2007, a "clash of civilizations" (teaching er, cough, racism). And maybe taken less serious these days: before Europeans
arrived in Africa and brought with the institution "the state",
Africa was uncivilized.
Maybe even taught, that a corporation is as natural as the rain from above.
Or that all "Americans" really can have one common interest.




6) And, another quote:
Not all foreign workers in Japan are white males. You have a lot to learn.

Well, yeah.
I hear there are a lot of "Asians" doing construction jobs in Japan.

I meant the "white males" thing in a wider historical context.
But, still, if someone, anyone wanted to go live in another people's
area, shouldn't they respect the local customs, traditions, and even
modern rules, regulations, and laws?
One guy suggested to me:
With globalization, maybe one good thing that might come from it is that at least among the ruling class (finally) we might eliminate racism.
Despite backwards hicks, I believe it to disappear quicker at the bottom,
when people need their paychecks and can't fly away on a jet. White flight for the 21st century. ha! ewe. sorry, bad joke.

7) More:

well, the reality of fascism coming to the gosh darn ole us&a.
yup. that's a pretty ugly reality we might be facing sooner (if not already)
than we expect. some of us have been seeing this coming since well before Bushjr (who didn't invent empire for the us either, btw)



If this is the case for you, I suggest you buy a ticket, plan a vacation, and spend time here as a tourist first. See what you envision as that "escape" vs. "reality". If you think the USA is a "trash heap", wait till you have started to live and work here. It's not all roses.

And, admittedly, some of this is carry over language from earlier years.
"trash heap" stuff. Now it is a bit more evolved, naaw, pretty much the same: today it is fast food and American Idle.

Parts of me have come to realize that it is the same every where.
At least in the consumer societies. And referring to human interactions that is. Everybody wants to be loved and there is no such thing as "evil". Yes there are evil deeds, which are caused by ignorance and a lack of empathy (thank you Aung San Suu Kyi)




8) If you want a job here, you'll need it. If you don't have it, you'll need the experience. Pretty straightforward. That "privilege" opens a lot of doors, though.

You said it right there: "opens a lot of doors".
aka privilege.






It is your prerogative to look at college education any way you like. Sadly, IMO, you choose to look only at the negative side. I think there is a stronger, hidden reason other than the political ramifications and sociological philosophies you spout here, though.

I agree. I happen to believe that there is hardly ever, if ever, a single reason for anything. Or even a mere two reasons.

I'm not saying learning is not a good thing.
Whenever I criticize school in general, people
always get on my case about this.
They think I am against learning.
Learning, one does not need to attend an institution for this.



With all the mumbo-jumbo you type here, why not just go back, sleep through a few political science classes, and get a degree in that, then apply to the JET programme or an eikaiwa? Personally, with your attitude here, I think you'd fail the interview miserably, though.
Political science? ech.
As far as what our rulers do, in the name of our pain and their gain, it's just my opinion that people in the US need to pay more attention. Pretty much the rest of the world knows more about history and what the US gov't does than US citizens do. (But I've heard recently Japan has this problem too. ?)

I'm not trying to claim I am all caring or any such b.s.
Don't get me wrong.
I probably care no more about the stuff I've listed than any randomly selected
person living in the US.

I have thought of this stuff before.
I actually do highly doubt I care.
Afterall, if I really did care,
maybe I would volunteer to teach ESL
to Central American & Mexican immigrants or
tutoring for 7th graders that read at a 4th
grade level. Maybe that would just be putting
a band-aid on the dyke; treating the symptoms
rather than the disease? Still, that stuff does
need to be done.

I didn't mean to sound mean while typing my original post.
Sorry.
I just happen to have a bleak world view.
With "terrorism" being the new "red scare", it seems there might
be new cointelpro-style stuff for our generation.
Arundhati Roy describes perhaps similar stuff going on in India.
Maybe there will be a global "operation condor" among the so-called
"free democracies" of the world.

Sure, I could "get mine" while I still can.
...sigh.
and 28 other reasons as well.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback.

Glenski
Jun 20, 2007, 13:24
I am still going to say that the private sector is pitiful. I suppose it comes down to what anyone thinks is a good standard. I tell you if I was on the other side of that fence and was learning Japanese the same way, I think I would be a very dissapointed customer. I would want some one with qualifications in teacher that language, not some joe blow who has just fininshed a three year art degree and wants to make a quick buck I suppose I should add the word "frustrated" to my own moniker. I just started a (free) Japanese course at city hall (2 hours a night, once a week). Got to choose my own level, but since there were only 2 levels, and one was for complete ground-zero beginners, I opted for the "intermediate" course. The teacher DOES happen to be a certified, experienced teacher of Japanese, however she can't teach to save her life. Two hours of listening to her rattle on aimlessly (yes, no goal in sight and no sense of organization) drive us crazy. First class had 18 students, and second one had only 7. Go figure. She doesn't answer questions when posed. She tries to discuss 50-year-old concepts in the history of kanji (part of the course is to mix writing with speaking, but this is outrageous), and when I describe some of the stuff from class to my wife (Japanese), she says it's dead wrong. Little to no participation from students, despite the fact that we demanded it after the first class. Zero grammar structure, despite the same demand. Theme for last class was giving directions on the street, but there was no practice, and she only covered a helpful word or two, then seemed not to have prepared any examples to use in class. About half an hour or 45 minutes before the class ends, she starts looking at her watch every 5 minutes, suggesting that she has no idea how to fill the time, and that's when she starts repeating everything from the first hour (for the 5th time, mind you) or just talking to the ceiling instead of to us.

So, experience and qualifications don't necessarily make for a good teacher.


Beyond that, while the aftermarket English instruction industry could stand to hire better teachers, we all have to remember that flying teachers over here, finding people willing to re-locate, to go through the upheaval, survive in another country, etc., isnft an easy thing to do and its usually going to be fresh university graduates and young people answering the call. Bob Smith, age 45, with years of teaching experience and a family, isnft going to move to South Korea or Japan for anything less than 100k a year. I agree with the above, and yet you will also see signs that the eikaiwa business doesn't even want professional teachers. Besides the fact that they hire anyone with any degree, read this assessment (an account of what some eikaiwa managers perceive as professionalism vs. what real teachers at eikaiwa do). Makes for interesting reading.
http://www.eltnews.com/features/special/015a.shtml

Glenski
Jun 20, 2007, 13:53
Sukkoto,
You have a lot of pent-up feelings, and you also have a hard time staying on track. This thread is about NOVA, but let's keep a little to the side of teaching in Japan just to maintain some semblance, ok?

You don't want to get a degree. That's your prerogative. How you perceive it is also yours. "Privilege"? Well, yeah, don't you think if someone goes the extra mile to get some sort of training/education/related experience, they deserve a privilege over someone who didn't? It doesn't matter why the other person didn't -- be it poverty or choice. You do more, you get more in return. Save the social commentary for another forum, please.

Opening doors ("privilege") also happens by networking -- a very common way that qualified and sometimes unqualified people here get university jobs and high school jobs. It's not what you know, it may be who you know sometimes. No degree needed sometimes there, and it's LIFE, no matter where you go.


It's for anyone who can afford it, or who wants to enslave themselves with years or worse of indentured servitude called debt.You didn't even read or take to heart what I wrote, did you? There are scholarships and grants out there, which you don't have to pay back, hence no servitude or debt. Get off the soapbox. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. By the way, are you one of those in the poverty group that you said you really meant, or are you just whining for the masses?


you left out comments about what knowledge base is deemed
valuable. Didn't have to mention them because as has already been mentioned, any degree will get you a work visa here as a teacher. No real "knowledge base" is really required. So, if you want to come to Japan and work, you either have the experience or a degree in poly sci, anthropology, microbiology, quantum physics, or underwater basketweaving. It's all the same to places like NOVA.

(Granted, NOVA and GEOS will give you some sort of general knowledge test at the interview, but that's to begin the weeding out process for the truly uninformed.)


I hear there are a lot of "Asians" doing construction jobs in Japan.
I hope this was meant tongue in cheek, because you otherwise show a total lack of knowledge about the work force in Japan. Nuff said.


Someone asked me why I did not want a degree, so I responded.
That is why I have written such stuff in this string.
Schools are a major institution in which a society recreates itself.
That includes privileges that also existed.
Including classAgain, this is non sequitur for the thread. Besides, the elite classes of people you espouse don't always exist. Do you call someone with a BA in Art History a member of the elite? Or with a degree in paleontology? Or forensic medicine? Or culinary science?


Whenever I criticize school in general, people
always get on my case about this.
They think I am against learning.
Learning, one does not need to attend an institution for this.Learn all you want. It still won't get you a work visa unless you have the degree or the experience to go along with it. Pretty straightforward. You can criticize all you want, but that is the simple fact. Now, you are just trying to do what so many frustrated degreeless people do in these forums -- find a loophole or other means to get a job here. There aren't that many.

Your view of the world may indeed be "bleak", but that won't get you very far, whether towards a work visa, a teaching job in Japan, or anywhere else in life. People usually don't like complainers.

FrustratedDave
Jun 20, 2007, 17:27
I suppose I should add the word "frustrated" to my own moniker. I just started a (free) Japanese course at city hall (2 hours a night, once a week). Got to choose my own level, but since there were only 2 levels, and one was for complete ground-zero beginners, I opted for the "intermediate" course. The teacher DOES happen to be a certified, experienced teacher of Japanese, however she can't teach to save her life. Two hours of listening to her rattle on aimlessly (yes, no goal in sight and no sense of organization) drive us crazy. First class had 18 students, and second one had only 7. Go figure. She doesn't answer questions when posed. She tries to discuss 50-year-old concepts in the history of kanji (part of the course is to mix writing with speaking, but this is outrageous), and when I describe some of the stuff from class to my wife (Japanese), she says it's dead wrong. Little to no participation from students, despite the fact that we demanded it after the first class. Zero grammar structure, despite the same demand. Theme for last class was giving directions on the street, but there was no practice, and she only covered a helpful word or two, then seemed not to have prepared any examples to use in class. About half an hour or 45 minutes before the class ends, she starts looking at her watch every 5 minutes, suggesting that she has no idea how to fill the time, and that's when she starts repeating everything from the first hour (for the 5th time, mind you) or just talking to the ceiling instead of to us.
So, experience and qualifications don't necessarily make for a good teacher.


I know the feeling. When I first got here I went to freebi classes and thats pretty much what I got, a bunch of teachers who were pretty much volenteeing their services to help out foriegners in need ( I thank those teachers for taking the time to teach). Some teachers were great and others were terrible, I resigned to the fact that unless I enrole in a Japanese langauge school I was not going to be able to learn this incredibly, ridiculously difficult language. I wish they had classes on learning how to understand the other langauge that is never spoken here....... That what makes me frustrated.

That article pretty much sums it up I think, as the managers that were quoted said they did not have the time or money to bring in qualified teachers. Instead they wanted to ensure that the leason was fun to bring back repeat customers. That is what it is all about and myself having run a business here in Japan for a while now know the system involved. I can't blame the business for wanting to make a buck, but it is like anything over here money takes precidence and of corse it should. I know there is a bigger problem and the private sector is capitalising on this in a big way.

bakaKanadajin
Jun 20, 2007, 21:50
That was an interesting article thanks for posting it. I think it was fairly accurate as well. While I obviously can't vouch for the managers point of view as being accurate (I'm not Japanese and don't work at an Eikaiwa), I can say it closely mirrors the attitudes of the company 'spirit and propaganda' I was exposed to. I'd guess that its fairly accurate. I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with it either aside from the fundamental difference in the starting points between a school and a business, which is more philosophical than anything. As was pointed out, people need to make a buck and get by in life.

As for the teachers, I don't really think it's smart to complain about being 'left out of the loop' when it comes to managerial issues. The teachers aren't brought in as consultants they're brought in to teach, thats it. Any Eikaiwa teacher who feels they need to be part of the organizatioinal structure should work their way up the chain of command and do something about it. Otherwise it's just too many cooks in the kitchen.

The article did highlight something though that I think is one of the main issues at Eikaiwas, and that's the transient nature of the job. You need gaijins to manage gaijins, its the only way, and unfortunately very few of them are willing to stay beyond 2 or 3 years at the most. And that's not surprising either, re-locating to a foregin country isn't the highest priority on alot of young people's lists, and in all fairness its advertised as a post-graduate 'experience', many teachers arrive with the idea that they're definitely gonna leave. So finding people who are strongly committed to the company, to enforcing its rules, etc. is hard and the professionalism gap widens between management and English-speaking staff, which was the point of the whole article.

To remedy this I think from personal experience, dangling a few carrots in front of us might help (bonuses for the individual with the most positive feedback received in a monthly period perhaps). It would also help if promotions carried significant incentives as well. The job of AT and BT at Nova for example (Assistant Trainer and Block Trainer) both carry a lot of increase in workload with little increase in pay. With the extra work and hours it's almost a pay cut compared to the salary increase. Again, gotta dangle those carrots, that seems more 'professional' and business-oriented to me.

Glenski
Jun 20, 2007, 23:09
As for the teachers, I don't really think it's smart to complain about being 'left out of the loop' when it comes to managerial issues. The teachers aren't brought in as consultants they're brought in to teach, thats it. I don't agree completely. Think of the ideal situation, where a business actually DOES take the time and spend the money to hire someone with credentials and/or experience. Since the company is run by Japanese, and many Japanese managers know squat about teaching, it is only fair to assume that your professional teachers know enough to plan curricula. They are your expert consultants in the fielf of teaching. You leave them out of the loop, and you might just as well hire monkeys.


Any Eikaiwa teacher who feels they need to be part of the organizatioinal structure should work their way up the chain of command and do something about it.Sorry, but in most eikaiwas there ISN'T a chain of command. There's just one link, from teacher to manager. Only in the big places do you have intermediaries.


The article did highlight something though that I think is one of the main issues at Eikaiwas, and that's the transient nature of the job. You need gaijins to manage gaijins, its the only way, and unfortunately very few of them are willing to stay beyond 2 or 3 years at the most.I've seen plenty of reports where gaijin managers or gaijin eikaiwa owners are equally or more unscrupulous than the worst Japanese. They will sometimes physically threaten teachers, where you don't get that from most Japanese bosses, and they (gaijin) will lie more overtly because they don't have the excuse of language barrier to fall back on. I hear what you're saying about gaijins managing gaijins, though, and to a certain degree, I agree. However, where does it stop? The gaijin manager needs a boss, and it is likely going to be a Japanese person. How does THAT interaction and relationship go? The only really good relationship is one that has a gaijin with strong Japanese skills and plenty of experience here to understand the business culture. THEN, you have someone with the savvy to hold his J boss at bay while he deals with the problems that the gaijin teachers have, and vice versa.

I guess you said it youself with this quote:
So finding people who are strongly committed to the company, to enforcing its rules, etc. is hard and the professionalism gap widens between management and English-speaking staff,


To remedy this I think from personal experience, dangling a few carrots in front of us might help (bonuses for the individual with the most positive feedback received in a monthly period perhaps).Gee, John got 1 and I got none. Is he THAT much better than me and deserving of a promotion? Suzy got 37 positive remarks and I got "only" 36. Same question. Perhaps there's a better way you had in mind?

Jun 21, 2007, 00:58
That policy prompted the formation of a union which still exists to this dayWow, I had no idea Nova had a union. That's weird.Troubled NOVA Staff Slams Work Conditions (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20070620a3.html)
The union has been fighting Nova for three years to secure a stable work environment in which its teachers can have indefinite or long-term employment agreements instead of annual renewals, and to allow teachers to qualify for social security insurance.NOVA Union (http://www.generalunion.org/nova/)

bakaKanadajin
Jun 21, 2007, 06:07
I don't agree completely. Think of the ideal situation, where a business actually DOES take the time and spend the money to hire someone with credentials and/or experience. Since the company is run by Japanese, and many Japanese managers know squat about teaching, it is only fair to assume that your professional teachers know enough to plan curricula. They are your expert consultants in the fielf of teaching. You leave them out of the loop, and you might just as well hire monkeys.

You're right, the J-staff do rely on teachers to augment and improve the current curriculum and materials, and they're an integral part of the entire enterprise. But I'm referring to the managerial issues moreso. Sales tactics, quarterly objectives, training initiatives, etc. Specifically I had something in mind from the article:

"Furthermore, most schools ..often rely on their 3 -days to 1-week training programs to transform graduates of other fields into suitable language teachers. To improve the work environment at my present school, the management needs to raise its expectations of the foreign staff; the teaching staff needs to be encouraged to be actively involved in suggesting ways to improve the teaching and student services of the school"

I could be misinterpreting it but this teacher seems to think his/her input is of value to the company. Using your native language abilities and sharp thinking to flesh out that which exists and make a 45 - 50 minute lesson out of raw material is one thing, but with so many teachers and differeing points of view, I think any teacher that assumes their 'expertise' is needed to improve the business' structure and go beyond the text books is missing the point. Japanese people know Japanese customers, teaching is all teachers can do. When the schedules were thin or sales were down, I'd hear from other teachers 'Oh they should do this, ah they oughtta do that'. But alot of those ideas were pretty hair-brained and lacked Japanese perspective, or business perspsctive, yet that disgruntlement remained and professionalism suffered. Teachers should know their role and seek to improve their teaching and just their teaching.

At any rate I don't think we're in disagreement, teaching quality should be high, period. My point was just that beyond teaching I don't think they need to be in the loop, I don't think it'd contribute to professionalism. If anything it would just cause more bickering and posturing.

To your second point, at NOVA there was in fact a chain of command, e.g. going from teacher to co-ordinator to AT to BT to AAM, AM and beyond. There was room for advancement and attempting to advance was encouraged with lots of talk of 'making a difference' and 'having more control over how the school is run' etc.


relationship is one that has a gaijin with strong Japanese skills and plenty of experience here to understand the business culture. THEN, you have someone with the savvy to hold his J boss at bay while he deals with the problems that the gaijin teachers have, and vice versa.

As far as Nova goes (I have no other experience), in the upper ranks you do in fact find individuals who started out as teachers, worked their way up the ladder, have decent Japanese capabilities (usually gained from a genuine interest in the culture, long-term exposure over time, etc. which is mirrored therein by their continuing commitment to the company) and as a result have a far better understanding of Japanese business practices and interact closely with Japanese staff. Usually an Area Manager is someone who fits this profile. A good Area Manager can have a large impact on several schools, tens of schools, and bring Block standards up quite high. But, even then, that connection is a difficult one because at some point even the best get tired and move on, usually because their experience and Japanese skills allow them to get a better job right there in Japan.

And that kind of begged the next point, which was that incentives are key in ANY business to keep people around. If the salary was good those people who moved on to better jobs within Japan wouldn't move on so quickly, (I'm just guessing), and/or teachers would be more inclined to give it that extra 5-10&#37; of genkiness. In the classrooms, sometimes that's the difference in morale that'll get you those extra sales, or at least staunch the complaining and staunch the early ship jumpers.

I have one individual in mind, a Japanese lifer from America (married a Japanese wife, has children, had taught for several years at the same school, in possession of JLPT2 bordering on JLPT1). Here's someone who'd be a prime candidate for upper management, keeping gaijin/nihonjin relations at a large Eikaiwa amicable. But, obviously the incentive for him to go beyond teaching was never there because he never did, he turned promotions down at every corner, and eventually he quit, got his JLPT 1 and got a better job.

So a small bonus for completing your contract would really help prevent people from going home early. A further bonus for re-signing another contract (exists at NOVA) also helps. Incentives for promotion, well at NOVA you get a mere 10,000yen extra a month for becoming AT, and usually have to change your schedule so that you're off Sundays. Well guess what, working Sundays pays a 10,000yen monthly premium or something like that, effectively cancelling your raise. Plus you get to do more work.

Glenski
Jun 21, 2007, 08:40
You're right, the J-staff do rely on teachers to augment and improve the current curriculum and materials, and they're an integral part of the entire enterprise. But I'm referring to the managerial issues moreso. Sales tactics, quarterly objectives, training initiatives, etc. On this point, I agree about 95%. I still think a professional teacher can provide input to training of teachers (and initiatives), and make valuable suggestions for some marketing ploys, mostly centered around curriculum ideas. You're right that we agree about most everything, though.


Specifically I had something in mind from the article:
"Furthermore, most schools ..often rely on their 3 -days to 1-week training programs to transform graduates of other fields into suitable language teachers. Take this statement with a grain of salt. "Suitable" usually means that a newbie has seen what the school expects of him and knows what the teaching format is supposed to be. Nothing more.


"...To improve the work environment at my present school, the management needs to raise its expectations of the foreign staff; the teaching staff needs to be encouraged to be actively involved in suggesting ways to improve the teaching and student services of the school"
I could be misinterpreting it but this teacher seems to think his/her input is of value to the company. As I wrote above, I agree with the author on this point. I hope you can see that now.

If not, let me give you 2 examples:
1) At my eikaiwa, a Japanese teacher of English suggested that they create a debate course, mostly for higher level people (his old HS teaching cronies, but anyone who had the skill could join). I co-taught it for 2 years. It was a raging success and is still in progress 6 years later.
2) At the same eikaiwa, the staff recognized my background in science, and they asked me to create a new course based on that. I did, Science Topics, for high level professionals in the science field. I taught it solo for the last 2 years I was there. It was a success, too.

Another item in this affair could be how teachers interview prospective students and provide input as to what level the students are, so they know which classes to take. At my school, all I could do was interview them and make suggestions. If the students had the cash, the stupid staff let them sign up for any class they wanted, and teachers often had to suffer. I'd certainly want input on this managerial matter!


Japanese people know Japanese customers, teaching is all teachers can do.I think I have shown the inaccuracy of this statement.


When the schedules were thin or sales were down, I'd hear from other teachers 'Oh they should do this, ah they oughtta do that'. But alot of those ideas were pretty hair-brained and lacked Japanese perspective, or business perspsctive, yet that disgruntlement remained and professionalism suffered. Teachers should know their role and seek to improve their teaching and just their teaching. My old eikaiwa had some pretty "hair-brained ideas" about advertising and certainly didn't understand what was needed. They were very lucky in having deep pockets from a parent organization to keep them afloat. On top of that, the building they were in suffered flooding problems when pipes burst, so they got money to fix up the place and stay in business longer. If that hadn't happened, they were going to go out of business in a year.


To your second point, at NOVA there was in fact a chain of command, I know that, but NOVA is the largest eikaiwa chain around. My point was that few eikaiwa have such structure.


And that kind of begged the next point, which was that incentives are key in ANY business to keep people around. If the salary was good those people who moved on to better jobs within Japan wouldn't move on so quickly, (I'm just guessing), Oh, it's a good guess, and I tend to agree with it, but there's more than just bonuses. Incentives also include a friendly receptive staff with which to work, no micro-management (often from foreign managers), reasonable paperwork, sufficient office equipment (we had a 5-year old Mac that didn't work, and that was it for computers for a staff of 3 teachers), and contracts that don't skirt the law or restrict employees needlessly.

bakaKanadajin
Jun 21, 2007, 13:31
Its also worth noting that Eikaiwas appear to have many different organizational structures, in these kinds of discussions they get lumped together simply as 'Eikaiwas'. Some lend themselves better to input than others. For example, having the latitude to formulate your own science or debating program would have been great at my branch too, but (again my only experience to fall back on is NOVA, although I think the large schools would operate somewhat similarly simply out of logistical necessity) things like that would take eons and eons to float up to the managers, get approved, come back down (usually watered-down and barely resembling the original idea), OR they'd point to the existing material and say there already exists a provision for this kind of thing. And to a degree they're right, because as limited as it can be to newbie teachers, the NOVA curriculum can be quite effective in a capable teachers hands. But again, having the language available in the text isn't the same as having a specialized class and/or conversation club solely devoted to a thing. The smaller Eikaiwa's definitely seem to have an easier time tailoring and experimenting with the curriculum. Ironically it seems that as any given Eikaiwa grows, it is forced to adopt a less colourful curriculum. For example just a few years ago Nova didn't use the Diplomat it used the Quest text, which was basically just an article or story around which a lesson was built. Far more variability. But due to operational and training requirements a more standardized approach was adopted.

I'd therefore wager that while quality can always vary, these smaller schools experience less issues regarding morale and professionalism as outlined in the article, it sounds like there's more fun stuff going on and less of a company line to tow perhaps?

Incidentally, while only the student truly knows what the student wants, my reason in saying the Japanese know their customers best is simply for lack of any ability on the foregin teachers part to provide Japanese explanations and coaching. Often the j-staff came back to us with helpful requests from the students, things they wanted to learn or were unclear about. Students can be shy in class and have aversions to shame and making public mistakes, despite the fact that they're not learning anything by not speaking up and asking. J-staff often served a crucial liason function in this way. Also, and I suppose it doesn't apply to the smaller schools and the disagreement exists because of the lumping of big and small schools together, but at the bigger schools it's just not practical to take any input from anyone, too many teachers and too much money invested in the existing curriculum.

Glenski
Jun 21, 2007, 21:52
Incidentally, while only the student truly knows what the student wants, my reason in saying the Japanese know their customers best is simply for lack of any ability on the foregin teachers part to provide Japanese explanations and coaching. Huh? What lack of ability are you talking about? Sure, many places try to prohibit the use of Japanese in the classroom, but the bottom line is, if you can't get it across with English, sneak in the Japanese. It is practically necessary for lowest level beginners anyway.

Not all foreign teachers know enough Japanese to get ideas across, to be sure, but that's when a true professional (that's who we're talking about here, right?) can see that students don't catch something, takes notes, and returns (perhaps next lesson) with a better explanation using Japanese he got from some outside source. Done it myself on several occasions.


Often the j-staff came back to us with helpful requests from the students, things they wanted to learn or were unclear about.Could be any number of reasons (like those you cited) that students didn't get what they wanted. I'll add one more to your list: the fact that they truly didn't know what they wanted.


Students can be shy in class and have aversions to shame and making public mistakes, despite the fact that they're not learning anything by not speaking up and asking. J-staff often served a crucial liason function in this way.They should, but by staff you also could mean simply the receptionist, who may speak zero English. Or the tiny eikaiwa's owner's spouse, who is equally poor in English.


at the bigger schools it's just not practical to take any input from anyone, too many teachers and too much money invested in the existing curriculum.I would argue that if any school presupposes to be a good school (for students as well as teachers), it would actually solicit input from as many teachers as possible, perhaps even hold (gasp!) a joint meeting, and try to work out the best situation for everyone. That's as practical as it gets. Does it happen in real life? Probably for the most part, not on your life!

At my old eikaiwa we had 3 foreign teachers. We met with the director's lieutenant OL once a week for 5-15 minutes. Main thrust was to tell us of upcoming events and national holidays, and to ask us if there were any problems. We occasionally brought up situations that needed resolving, mostly by the J staff. Nothing terribly serious or managerial, but still necessary.
Case in point: We had recently heard from the staff that "students" didn't like a lesson and wanted something changed. We did, and they still didn't like it. We changed again, and there was still dissent. So we asked just what students had asked for the change (out of 10-12 in the class). Turns out just ONE had complained! At our meeting, we diplomatically pointed out how silly this was and how it had affected us and the other students. Case solved.
Case in point2: Foreign teachers interviewed potential students and assigned them to one or two possible classes based on their perceived levels. Usually this was no problem, but in a couple of instances, the staff ignored us and let a boyfriend/girlfriend with different levels join the same class. Same thing happened with 2 older ladies who were friends. When it was clear that the oddball in each class was way over their heads, and that this affected the other PAYING students, it became a tough matter to resolve. The boyfriend/girlfriend situation ended with both quitting. The old ladies' situation was tougher, as one was doggedly determined to stay and tough it out. Eventually, she quit and let her friend continue, but it was frustrating in each lesson. Case was mostly resolved by staff heeding our instructions.

I'm not saying things always worked out, but when they did, it was all due to some tactful advice and explanations at regularly held meetings between J staff and foreign teachers. Without them, it becomes a matter of simply approaching the director or OL boss and making a request for change, and that often sounds like complaining when dealing with foreigners. Having the structure of a regular meeting smoothes things out culturally.

bakaKanadajin
Jun 21, 2007, 23:07
Huh? What lack of ability are you talking about? Sure, many places try to prohibit the use of Japanese in the classroom...

You answered your own question. Plus most new Eikaiwa teachers don't speak Japanese to begin with so its almost always going to be a matter of either shouldn't or can't. Beyond that though, I'm talking about sales and other non-curriculum items not the classroom. Regardless of whether we think sales is a virtuous function of an Eikaiwa, its sometimes needed, (beyond that its the ugly truth) and convincing a headstrong student they need to buy some CD's and listen at home because their listening skills are abysmal is better handled by Japanese staff. Some students need things articulated in such a way so as not to insult them. These are the inner workings of Japanese culture which I won't claim to understand, so in this way (not in the classroom) teacher input isn't needed directly. I did say in both posts 'customers', not students. The people walking into an Eikaiwa can be both, depending on who's speaking to them. Customers need to be spoken to in Japanese, students in English. Also, J-staff (at NOVA) are receptionists but that is the most basic of functions, they're also familiar with the materials and most managers speak some English. There are no separate sales or counselling staff the J-staff have to do it all. Again, to compare a mom'n'pops operation to NOVA doesn't work, the smaller schools rely more heavily on teachers to increase traffic while larger schools rely on advertising, perks, sales, etc. So as I said lumping all Eikaiwas together isn't an option in some debates.

As for Japanese in classrooms, although my Japanese is good for just 1 year of study I'd be wrong in assuming I have the ability to use it as a teaching tool. My linguistic perspective is not a native Japanese one so a true idealogical translation about why you say it this way, or what this means when we say X, could hurt more than help in some cases.

For the simple stuff I would agree with you and others like Iron Chef whose Eikaiwas use Japanese regularly to help low level students. No harm in calling a cat 'neko' if it saves a minute or two.

And again, my own perspective is limited to large Eikaiwas where immersion is mandatory and a sales promise. I myself still used some Japanese here and there but at this point (I think) this discussion is more about larger trends and generalities and how they contribute to a non-professional work environment. Overall immersion is still a proven methodology and many students pay for this and expect it. The ability of a teacher to adjust his/her language and circumlocute for the student is one more thing teachers can do to increase a students learning without resorting to Japanese.

I don't disagree that teacher input is necessary for coaching as was the case with your mismatched classes, NOVA also seeks input from teachers for counselling purposes. But again I think there's a difference of experience here between big and little schools. Whatever sources you used for curriculum at your school, it was obviously malliable and flexible beyond the material found at larger schools, which by contrast is branded, copywritten and expensive to issue. Changing the curriculum at a larger school based on daily teacher input juts isn't possible and basically amounts to a business decision since it'd involve overhauling thousands of books and sales materials.

Phew what a discussion :relief:

Sukotto
Aug 14, 2007, 00:23
I hear there are a lot of "Asians" doing construction jobs in Japan.

I hope this was meant tongue in cheek, because you otherwise show a total lack of knowledge about the work force in Japan. Nuff said.
By the above, I meant undocumented Asian immigrants, not the fact that Japanese are Asian.



Anyway,
that was some of what i felt in past years about some stuff. Maybe now it is different. Everyone has a right to change their mind. Maybe I should not have been so wordy as to why i did not want a college degree which someone asked me. Or maybe I should have just PM them. sorry. It's just the world is so different from the one I was presented growing up. Perhaps I am still freaking out about this?



As far as Nova & other private English language schools go, I had been under the impression that a lot of adults wanted to improve their language skills and at least practice them. I imagined conversations would not be a small part. So for this a degree in teaching wasn't necessarily needed. Just a degree to show that at least these native English speakers were competent.

I'm not saying I believed there were more adults than children attending these schools. Just that a lot of Japanese adults wanted to practice/improve or keep up their skills. No doubt it might take different skills to deal with different aged people and unless these companies really have mastered some sort of techniques for their employees, things might not be as easy as being a good conversationalist.

So, if requiring only a degree in anything for teaching at these schools, why not no degree? After all, what is a degree but a piece of paper. Especially when it is seen in the light of these schools. Which one could have even a degree in underwater business administration or on the sun basket weaving and still get employed there. The companies had their ways of teaching all worked out. So, did one really need to have superb teaching skills?

It appears from what is in this string that the companies really don't have it all worked out. And maybe a simple college degree in anything isn't enough at all. It merely shows one is able to jump through hoops to a finer tuned degree and makes the companies look professional. Not that degree holders are just hoop jumpers. Other things require fine tuning of skills too. Cleaning, mechanic, teaching...

Along with the language aspect of English language schools is that of cultural exchange. So I find it kind of disappointing that some of them forbid teachers and students from interacting outside of class. Still, I can understand their concerns, I guess. Especially if they employ people who come to Japan for only one year and want to get out as soon as they can.


Maybe before I felt guilty for being lucky enough to have been born in one of the rich countries. Afterall, I've found out, our countries are not rich because of luck or pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. Maybe partially luck.
Japanese director Mamoru Oshii was one of my many teachers over the years to this respect, although I did not know who he was until recently. Using his art he reflected a part of reality with these non-fictional lines:

"Blood-drenched economical prosperity created and sustained by those
countless wars. That's what's behind our peace." -ARAKAWA, Patlabor The Movie 2 (1993)

So maybe it is no different living in the US or Japan? We both benefit from empire & live under corporate rule and the truth is hidden in the fictional worlds of pop culture.

Ah, sorry. :bluush:
Nova.
Perhaps the Japanese government should require these schools to at least require a teaching certificate along with the degree, since a non-citizen cannot work period without a four year degree (or certain types of work visas).

Glenski
Aug 14, 2007, 08:11
As far as Nova & other private English language schools go, I had been under the impression that a lot of adults wanted to improve their language skills and at least practice them. I imagined conversations would not be a small part. I don't think you have a clue what eikaiwa is about. Sorry to be so blunt. Yes, conversational English is an integral part of eikaiwa. Heck, eikaiwa itself means "English conversation". But you don't just sit there and chat. Only in some freestyle courses do you do that. Otherwise, the whole point of eikaiwa is to teach conversational English. There is often a textbook. For adults, this is a reminder of the 6 or more years of English they had to study in school, plus a guideline for what the lesson is about. Teachers should not speak more than 20% of the time, if students are to be given a chance at practicing and making mistakes. Only lazy teachers will sit and gab with students.


So for this [conversations] a degree in teaching wasn't necessarily needed. Just a degree to show that at least these native English speakers were competent.I can see where this is leading, but more later. For now, the degree is needed for immigration purposes. Sadly, any degree major will do, and with certain visa types, you don't even need a degree. Yes, most eikaiwa teachers are native English speakers. Is that so strange a concept? The government (and probably most employers) prefer people with college educations for whatever reasons they choose. I cannot speak for them, but my best guess is that they want to know people have had the sense of responsibility to complete tertiary education. That's all. To say that any old native English speaker (degreed or not, but you seem to harp on the latter) can teach eikaiwa is incorrect.


I'm not saying I believed there were more adults than children attending these schools. Just that a lot of Japanese adults wanted to practice/improve or keep up their skills. No doubt it might take different skills to deal with different aged people and unless these companies really have mastered some sort of techniques for their employees, things might not be as easy as being a good conversationalist.Again, being a conversationalist is not the point in teaching. You are not hired to converse with students. You are hired to teach them, and that means speaking as little as possible.


So, if requiring only a degree in anything for teaching at these schools, why not no degree? After all, what is a degree but a piece of paper. I just explained that, and you seem to be waffling again, and trying to bring the discussion back to a "degree needed vs. not needed" issue. Please get off it!


The companies had their ways of teaching all worked out. So, did one really need to have superb teaching skills?No, of course not, but your assumption that any non-degreed person is qualified to teach is weak.


It appears from what is in this string that the companies really don't have it all worked out. And maybe a simple college degree in anything isn't enough at all. It merely shows one is able to jump through hoops to a finer tuned degree and makes the companies look professional. Not that degree holders are just hoop jumpers. Nope, you completely misunderstand the whole situation.


Other things require fine tuning of skills too. Cleaning, mechanic, teaching...non sequitur


Along with the language aspect of English language schools is that of cultural exchange. So I find it kind of disappointing that some of them forbid teachers and students from interacting outside of class. They are looking out for two things:

1) They don't want teachers boinking students and taking that baggage back to work, especially if the relationships don't work out.
2) They don't want teachers giving private lessons to students, whether consciously or just by osmosis in their goings-out. Purely financial aspect here.


Nova.
Perhaps the Japanese government should require these schools to at least require a teaching certificate along with the degree, since a non-citizen cannot work period without a four year degree (or certain types of work visas).A "non-citizen" can work without a 4-year degree in Japan.
spouse visa
dependent visa
student visa
cultural visa
working holiday visa
All of the above permit work without a degree.

Your idea of requiring a teaching certificate has some merit, but it it probably won't work. First, there is no policing of teacher certification here. Second, there are many types of certification, including online with no practicum. Third, I suggest you read this little jewel to see the differences in professionalism between certified teachers and some eikaiwa managers. Eye-opening. Enjoy.
http://www.eltnews.com/features/special/015a.shtml