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G.com: Back in the Black?

A story in the Fuji Sankei Business i says that G.communication has turned things around and will be back in the black in May.

As you read the translation, do you find it eerily reminiscent of Nova's grand plans? Is the plan realistic? Inayoshi may have put the company back in the black by chopping off as much deadwood as possible, but that's just a stopgap measure. Where's the advertising informing the public that Nova has been reborn? What's the plan for erasing the ugly stain of the Nova brand and attracting new students to take lessons at its great schools with top-notch instructors?

G.com slashes fixed costs, back in black by May

It's been six months since Nova, Japan's largest English conversation school, went bankrupt. Speaking to the Fuji Sankei Business i, Masaki Inayoshi, the head of Nagoya-based G.communication, says that Nova is poised be in the black by May.

The company has drastically reduced costs by consolidating operations and renegotiating leases. With its business focused on franchising schools, the company plans to nearly quintuple the number of schools to 975 by the end of the business year next March.

Where there were multiple Nova schools around a station, G.communication has consolidated them into a single branch, and has also renegotiated leases with landlords.

G.communication also merged the old Nova office in Shinjuku with head office in Osaka on Thursday, a move that saves the company ¥40 million.

In response to complaints that students were having trouble booking lessons, as was the case with the old Nova, G.communication revealed a revamped website at the start of the week that allows students to check the availability of lessons online from their computers at home. G.communication also has plans to allow lessons to be booked from mobile phones.

By the end of the business year next March, G.communication's plan is to open 15 directly-managed schools, 254 franchises, 240 mini Nova/juku schools, and have videophone systems installed at 274 schools. As of April, G.communication has 65,000 students and plans to nearly triple the number to 200,000 by next year.

Original article

「NOVA5月に黒字化」 ジー社 固定費の大幅減奏功

英会話学校最大手NOVAの破綻(はたん)から26日で半年。昨年11月6日にNOVAの事業を引き継いだジー・コミュニケーション(名古屋市北区)(本社)=の稲吉正樹会長兼社長はフジサンケイビジネスアイの取材に応じ、「NOVA事業は5月に黒字化できるめどがついた」と語った。

テナント料の見直しや間接部門の集約などによる固定費の大幅削減が功を奏した。また校舎数もフランチャイズ(FC)を中心に、来年3月末までに今年3月末の約5倍にあたる975カ所に増やす方針だ。

ジー社は事業を譲り受けてから、同じ駅周辺にある複数の校舎を1カ所に統合したほか、オーナーとテナント料の引き下げ交渉を進めていた。

さらに東京都新宿区にあった旧NOVA東京本部、大阪市中央区にあった同統括本部を同市北区のビルに集約し、月4000万円の固定費を削減した。集約に伴う移転作業は17日に実施した。

NOVA時代には希望日時での授業が受けにくかったという声を受け、新たに授業予約専用のホームページ(HP)を14日に開設。パソコンから授業の空き具合がわかるようにした。将来的には携帯電話からの予約もできるようにする。

一方、4月から来年3月までの校舎開設計画は、直営校が15、FCが254、ジー社が手がける既設の学習塾への併設が240、テレビ電話を使った教室が274カ所。3月末で6万5000人の学生数は、来年3月末に約3倍の20万人に増える予定だ。

Eikaiwa: 

Comments

Obviously, these are not people who live in the real world! How in the world can they get new students (besides the former Nova students who just want the discount)? Nova's great name? Their awesome advertising campaign? Their great system with its ease of booking classes? Highly motivated staff that is leaving?

Of course, this is affecting people's lives, but the incompetence of these clowns is really amusing. Looks like they will do in G-comm with the same arrogant, dream-world stupidity that monkey boy brought down Nova with!

SWEET! glad i stuck around. have a secure job again. bet you chumps that have wasted all your savings are gutted now!

Students can now save time by being unable to book lessons via the web or keitei. How convenient..............hahahaha.........I love it.

The old cunt might get his pension after all! Bet he's over the freakin' moon that he still has a job at G-Cobblers.

Bet he'll be off to Thailand soon to celebrate and plunder some more prepubescent minors.

Remember this gramps - MOMMA DON'T LIKE TATTLETALES.

Does anyone remember the Aladdin Hotel/Casino? This is a very large Arabia themed resort hotel/casino that ALWAYS seemed to run in the red and bankruptcy and subsequent demolition was always looming. About 7 years ago, they were purchased by Sheraton hotel group and remodeled. Almost ALL of the changes that we are seeing with G-com now took place in the Aladdin after the buyout (mass firings for no apparent reason , a seeming lack of business logic, a non existent advertising campaign, etc.) however, today the new Aladdin AKA "Planet Hollywood" hotel/casino is one of the most profitable on the strip, almost tripling the earnings of the MGM grand the last year I worked in Vegas (2006). Moral of the story is that this weird thing happening with G-com might actually be real.

Do not know the story of Aladdin but this is not Disney. English schools, not to mention countless other businesses, fail all the time. The only thing that can save Gcum is a mass infusion of cash or full-price paying students-not to mention new ideas. Do not see that coming for this failed school and business plan.

But if I suspected someone was preying on minors, I'd contact the appropriate authorities. If you believe this is the case, you are morally obliged to act. Knowing that a paedophile is in your midst, but doing nothing, would be just as vile as what they are doing...

However, if you are merely speculating... that's vile, too.

What are you gonna do, big fella? You stepped up to the plate. Time to be a man.

Ah, ah, ah ... what a bunch of idiots, they are missing the point altogether once again. The problem of students being unable to book lessons is not down to booking methods but to a lack of teachers, still they don`t get it and prefer to continue with their dream-plans. Can`t comment this stupidity anymore.

Hmmmmmmm,

Casinos, even poorly run ones tend to be a licence to print money. I can't see that being the case with GCom. I would suspect that the Aladdin didn't have a huge cash flow problem as such, it was just run inefficiently.

GCom doesn't seem to have a decent cash flow to fall back on, in fact the opposite seems to be the case.

Hey I'm no expert on businesses though. So I could be completely wrong eh.

John Lukasik?
Was he that Dutch guy who used to sell toffee apples near Harajuku Station on Sunday afternoons?

...what is the best youre hoping for from your coment? that the guy above will say `yes youre right i made a terrible slandery and take it back completly?` you are a complete and utter knobhead.

They will probably be close to breaking even in April/May, that's not a surprise. Quite a few students returned in feb/march and this is the time of year when winter bonuses are burning holes in the pockets of many potential customers.

But students who return are only paying 25% until the end of may, and teacher shortages are already causing complaints and contract cancellations in some branches. Sales will drop-off after may, then they will start bleeding again and the so-called 'turn around' will be short lived because teacher shortages have stalled the engine at the most important time.

The idea of expanding to 900 plus schools in one year is fantasy in light of their recruiting problems. It's pure spin from Inayoshi designed to make it look like they know what they're doing.

One big problem now is paid holidays. As I understand it, G Ed has downsized operations so much that they can't cover instructors' paid holidays so they have to deny them. If that keeps up, the instructor turn over rate will be even higher than it was at old Nova.
May's going to see instructors who started working in December having worked for 6 months and therefore will start wanting to use their paid holidays.

This news article does sound a lot like company spin. After all, the majority of news articles start life as a press release. You know - to be honest my branch is breaking even and perhaps even making money, particularly since we fired half the instructors, use the VOICE room as a 5-person lesson room, use those pink flyers as scrap paper and don't turn on the air conditioning.
Perhaps the company should start to offer virtual experiences of what it's like to be a student in a third world country? Instructors who don't have proper materials, no air conditioning, overcrowded rooms and broken chairs. Nice. So yay for being in the black again! I can't wait to see what making a serious profit will do. Buy a mini-tsumani generator for each branch?
But hey - if the company can pull it off, great. More power to them.
I suggest you don't hold your breath for that.

As for holidays? riiiight..... I'll take my holidays and go home.
I wonder sometimes, does G.education think I'm the same as the drunk foreign dude in the ripped T-shirt and a black eye?
Bet so.

On the G.Education website in the upper left corner, a mini graphic of the Usagi can be seen slowly sliding down into the frame, then falling on its ass.
The Japanese underneath reads "Something shocking/surprising/unbelievable is happening to NOVA. It's talking about lessons for 1,600 JPY.

ironic? We could have a field day if somebody figured out how to change the Japanese tagline.

I find it quite surprising that there has been some miraculous turn around in a couple of months. I don't know if this is spin or not but history is filled with companies saying everything is A OK and the next day they go bust.

In any case, I don't really see G-Comm. as a viable long term company in the way it's being run now. We'll just have to wait and see.

when NOVA collapsed and the teachers took students on as their private students, NOVA lost their best salespeople. Former students (really students at any school) are/were proud of their study and proud of their school(s).

Without those former students in the classrooms, or out in public telling their friends how they are enjoying study at NOVA, the school's future is bleak!

This is not a restaurant where someone who is hungry is just around the corner.

They crunched their numbers, on a scale that you instructor grunts can’t conceive, and the fruits are about to be enjoyed. Huge numbers, big computations, big business stuff, that the entry level casuals simply can’t appreciate.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, G Comm. is set to revolutionize the entire EFL industry, world wide, and those who have stuck with it, as it rises like a phoenix from the smouldering Nova ruins, will all be rewarded.

I know, it is all big business stuff, that only the movers and shakers of the broader business planet can appreciate. I don’t expect you perpetually hand out, crying for more, entry level idiots to be able to grasp it, but you will see.

G Comm knows its stuff, and that’s why they have elected Nova long-termers for most of their key positions, because they appreciate the senior big business management skills they bring to the shop floor from Nova, which entry level instructors simply don’t have, and can’t appreciate.

I just left my branch Yesterday. I have been teaching those students for a few years now and most of them want to continue with my lessons. I have been happy to organize my first 10 private students from Nova. I have 8 more lined up to contact next week.

Along with me the best kids instructor in the area left too. In short the talent is leaving. The product offered in the future (if there is one) will be low quality. And I mean LOW quality.

On top of that the choices made for Japanese area managers has been poor at best. Ours is an emotionally immature school girl with no people skills and a total and utter lack of understanding of both business and teaching. She spends most of her time trying to get laid with the instructors. When she fails (as she always does) she turns nasty. Her other favorite is spending hours working on a laptop the company gave her (she couldn't turn it on or off when she took it out of the box when they first sent it to her). She spends most of her time "working from home". I have seen her at the branch twice in the last fortnight. She is a complete retard. And I am being kind only going that far.

We attended training a couple of months ago with some Japanese escaped psychiatric patient called Yamaya. Now there is a total talent void! Waste of time. Basically spent the whole day blaming the instructors for the collapse of Nova last year. He went on to cover the basic basic basics of English teaching like we had never heard it before. To call him a retard is an insult to all retards.

They are not making progress.
They are not making profit.

The only thing they are making is really bad decisions.

This company is fucked.

Nothing miraculous happened. G.com NOVA restarted at the quiestest time of year and is now coming into the busiest time. They didn't advertise until feb because it would've been wasted money in nov-jan, and they were already getting media attention at the time. Many students wanted to come back, but in Nov-Jan a lot of people don't have time or spare cash to book lessons.
Now the engine is seizing up at the most crucial time due to the exodus of teachers, so they'll be screwed after May.

Well, we have someone in the post below say "They are not making profit" (who just left) yet ex-neo-nova drone feels that they are. I guess the truth is somewhere in between but I stand by my statement that the evidence to suggest that they are making a profit is tenuous at best (and miraculous!).

But please continue, it's been really slow in here lately.

Sorry, I'm not saying they're making a profit overall (perhaps some branches are), but I do think they're probably a lot closer to breaking even than before. I agree with you.

I will say that losing a lot of money Nov-April is not an indictment of their business practises, because that was totally unavoidable whilst being overstaffed and offering lessons for 25% of the normal cost to returning students.

They had a really good chance to pull this off if they had money to burn for the first 5 months. I think they've screwed it though by making too many mistakes, especially in their management of teachers. If they make a profit, and I'm not convinced that they will, I think it will be short-lived.

Big business management skills? I thought everyone started with NOVA as a base-level english instructor. Where did they recruit you from? Price Waterhouse Coopers? Companies like NOVA and G.communications show us why the corporate sector shouldn't be the providers of education.

But I've always thought that Nova was hopelessly behind the times because they didn't have online reservation services. However, it's not going to change the fact that they have schools with 400+ students and only 2 or 3 teachers and therefore impossible to book a lesson. On a postive note, if students are booking lessons by themselves they won't have a helpful J-staffer there saying "But you can book a challenge lesson! It's ok! Ganbare!" so maybe it will somewhat decrease the number of PAINFUL challenge lessons i've had recently? *crosses fingers*

I agree with the general consensus about the good teachers leaving. I left a few months ago and have opened my own gig. I have about 30 students that used to be Nova students, not to mention the 50+ I picked up in the past two months.

Inoyoshi-san, good luck to you mate! I think that you will have all the students you want, but it will be tough teaching them yourself (chump)!

Speaking of "management skills", please tell me the rumour is not true, and that is, that G Comm yesterday appointed Edwin Fackler as their Foreign Personnel Manager. Apparently, they want a hard hitting no bullshit man to clean out the dead wood, and hence the re-emergence of that blubbering, fat, useless sack of shit. I thought he was back in the USA, but apparently not.

To the big believer in management skills at the old Nova and G.Com - what an absolute gibbon. The whole premise of being a good manager is people skills - something which you are clearly lacking in. You will never have a good business if your staff are never happy as incase you haven't realised the product which English Schools have to offer is delivered by these very same 'hand out' entry level idiots, who all hate every manager in the company for their lack of compassion and G.Comm tinted glasses. Hardly a recipe for success!
You can stay, bite the pillow and believe the hype but it's not going to last with no teachers, teachers now openly slag of G.Comm in classes now - i've heard it.
Most of the students i know are not renewing their contracts because they can't book lessons - every decision G.Comm make is impulsive not long term.
Sack all the teachers - oh shit now we don't have enough teachers but we've pissed off all the teaching pool in Japan.
Let's make all classes five so we get more money - doh! the students don't like being ignored in class now due to the teacher only having 2 ears.
Lets not let the students book in to classes - only enable them to do challenges all the time - not another one - students morale hits rock bottom when they can't say shit in a zone lesson.
Treat teachers who did want to work for the company like shit - 'by the way in 3 days time you're on standby'. Destroy staff morale - good one.
I must say i'm really impressed with all this business savvy - no need for harvard school of business any more just come to G.Comm head office.
Bite it, bite that pillow hard, then you can complain to the two friends that you do have, due to your personality disfunction disorder, that it's all the entry level simpletons fault.

I would have thought any teacher with talent or savy and good pr would have left long ago, so the talent pool would have pretty much run dry long ago. Anyway were any of us that good at "teaching" to start with at Nova. For one thing the material you had to use 6 times over wasnt exactly inspiring more like those who were genki were popular not talented.

When a company says its doing good in Japan you better worry its a sure sign of bad things to come. Best way to check the mood is items for sale on gaijin pot (1100 at present in Tokyo). Yes the talent pool has dried up and will continue to shrink, the wages continue to drop daily and work conditions and insurance don't exist. Writing is on the wall

Well I just had a discussion with a former student who went back to NOVA.
I counselled her to get out. She agreed with me, said that she was basically just trying to make good on the points she lost and then get out.

BTW.....I am a good teacher, I was just a terrible NOVA teacher and not at all a company man.

Like I said before, I don’t expect you entry level instructor grunts to quite get the bigger picture. Such big business stuff is beyond you all. It was at Nova, it is a G Comm. Big numbers crunched, computations, all on a mind blowing, massive scale. You grunts have no idea, and that is why, you are entry level losers. We know what we are doing at G Comm., and if you want to abandon ship, then stop your whinging, and do so. There are plenty more where you came from. I have never understood you lot. If only, you could get it through your thick skulls, this is big business, and there is no room for complacent, hand-out whiners, such as yourself. Come on, wake up to yourself. You are part of something massive, numbers crunching, huge, huge business. You should shut up and be grateful, and enjoy the excitement of simply being part of corporate Japan. You might be an entry level instructor now, but you can, like me, be a major Japanese corporate executive, but that all depends on getting that winning attitude, which you obviously don’t have.

LOL @ the troll & the trolled

My senior management style is a little less abrupt that yours (well, at least that shown in your post), but I do agree with some of your points. In particularly, just trying to get them to understand that THIS IS JAPAN, and THIS IS BIG BUSINESS, and not party time, well, it is like trying to teach pre-school kids Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

You know, sometimes I think they just aren’t capable of seeing it, which is why there are the more successful business executives, who have climbed the ladder, and there are the less ambitious instructors, who have not.

However, I think it is wrong to look down at ALL instructors, and I don’t, even though I am in a position of seniority, in a major Japanese corporate business environment. The instructors form the coal face, and for some people, simply being an instructor, even though it is only entry level, is good enough for them, and they do their jobs well.

But, I do agree, the majority of instructors lack drive, and lack ambition, and I do find their lack of understanding of what the business is all about, and where it is going, surprisingly elementary, if not, entirely absent at times. But, that is why there are subordinates, and insubordinates, in any big business environment.

I too dream of the day, that it would all just get through to them, but, you can’t fit a square peg into a round hole. Leaders can not win the hearts of all. The wise follow, and the others, they waste their time, and everyone else’s time. That's life. A successful manager understands that.

We can speculate all we like, but if they turn a profit in May, all us naysayers will look a bit dumb.

But if they don't, Inayoshi will look dumb, and for everyone else, it'll be time to RUN!!!

If they DON'T turn a profit in May, and there are still people, who DON'T make, like hell, for the lifeboats, well...

I whole heartedly recommend they pull an old Nova trick - change auditors (bring in a dirty auditor), and report beefed up numbers, in order to attract finance, and the show can go on, and on, and on, and on, and on, until there are no more auditors left to change, and then the government finally steps in, and shuts them down.

I'm so important! I left nova five years ago, and I took 5,000,000 students. Yes that's correct 5,000,000!!! That's one reason why nova collapsed with only 400,000. You all may have big dicks "I took 30 students." "I now have my own school and am doing soooooo wellll!!!" "I AM corporate Japan", but mine is immensely bigger.
It's all bullshit. You lot crowing about how well you've done, makes you look like a small penis holding a condom that's too large and trying to compensate.
I actually am not writing this for the reasons you may think, but if you have a point to make, make it. That you've got 30 students who would have otherwise paid your friend's (who's still at nova) salary is not something to be boasting about, especially when it's done anonymously. Bunch of nancy boys (borrowing a phrase from Arnie). Congratulations on being successful, now go have a wank looking at the mirror please. (And stay off this site).

Regards,
Mr. Anon (real name used)

I could not agree more.

They used to be pretend teachers at now defunct and bankrupt Nova, and not professional language instructors, and now they are continuing the charade, but on a freelance basis.

Well, whoopy do !!!!!!!

And then what? What do they do next? Publish books on how to scam Japanese idiots into paying for lessons, simply because one is a native English speaker?

“You too, can make money, by simply opening your gob, and smiling” - $5 per book, $6 if autographed.

What is the glory in it all? That they manage to generate income in Japan by play acting as teachers?

They are a dime a dozen. Totally boring, and if that is their definition of success, well, all I can say is, losers are very easily satisfied!

I could understand, when Eikaiwa was at its peak (before the Japanese consumers woke up, and realized they were being duped), people coming to Japan, and doing the language “thingy” to support a year or so of carefree, sow your wild oats type days (back packer type stuff, de la Asian style), but to make a career and a life out of it? What was the point of going to College to begin with?

You can’t even call that Japanese language teaching bullshit an art form. It is hollow, empty, superficial, soulless crap, and I still can’t believe some Japanese people have not cottoned onto the fact, they are being sucked in big time.

Hanging your hat on the fact that people pay for your rubbish, is not exactly something to be proud of, not if you have an ounce of spine, and/or a soul.

Dear Big, Mind Blowing Huge scale Business guy.

Just for the record, why do you think Nova went so gloriously, comedically tits up?

I was so enjoying the dynamism of it all - I though we were gonna conquer the world. As I'd be in the bathroom, flushing the gomi down the toilet, as they couldn't pay the refuse collectors, I used to think, wow, this is what it's all about BIG BUSINESS, HUGE NUMBERS. One day, I will have big balls too, and I'll go drinking with the AAM's. And then it all went pear shaped.

Where did us gruntsd go wrong, Mr Big Bollocks? I know it was our fault. Tell us how we can be better drones next time.

Les,

P.S. I'd rather be a rent boy and a heroin addict than someone who defines themselves through 'big business'. What utter whores. Excuse me, while I throw up.

This is my definition of a winning attitude: No matter what job you are in, whatever position, high or low, never being afraid of telling anyone that you will stick a broom handle right up their arse, if they don't get off your case.

Of all the people I have worked with, these types of people inspire me the most. They are pretty thin on the ground at the best of times, but in Japan especially so. Anders, the AAMs, etc, they let Monkeyface get away with it until it was too late. No backbone, you see. Teachers, the same. Still taking shit from GCOM? You'll be out of a job soon, anyway. Go out in style, by saying Eff off, to your Visiting Area Manager, as you walk out, mid lesson.

On second thoughts, don't. You might get into trouble.

>Hanging your hat on the fact that people pay for your rubbish, is not exactly something to be proud of, not if you have an ounce of spine, and/or a soul.

Neither is laying the law down, and the signing off as "Anonymous"

What an absolute fairy!

Trolls aside, nice to have you back guys, gives me something to laugh at, where are the new GCom teachers going to come from?
They've lost a lot of teachers recently and I haven't seen any kind of recruitment plan/program from them.
The can big number big business bigcrunching godknowswhat as much as they like.....if they can't get teachers they will die a death, it's just a matter of time really.
The constant flow of 'plenty more where they came from' replacements isn't what it once was....if it even still exists.

Interesting post. Pleasant reading, considering the volume of instructor belly-aching that goes on in here, which tends to hurt my eyes.

I have long thought one of the reasons the old Nova went down was pretty much because of instructor attitude.

Their staggering inability to respect the corporate environment was truly amazing. The tougher things became, as a consequence of instructors inability to provide a professional service, to buffer the effects of overcrowding due to Nova’s overwhelming popularity, the worse behaved those instructors became, ultimately resulting in and escalation of complaints, and the companies demise. When called to the line of duty, to go that one extra yard, they failed, opted for boo-hooing, and student complaints peaked, and the rest is history.

In many ways, I blame Nova, however.

Instructors should have been disciplined and dismissed at a far greater rate.

But, that is were recruitment failed. We, as managers, were forced, simply to maintain instructor levels, to tolerate insubordination, incompetence, sexual harassment of customers, alcoholism, and tardiness.

If I had had my way, we would have a much better recruitment section, and I would have instantly fired most of the instructor "grunts" I had anything to do with.

The good thing about the new Nova is that it appears to have a no nonsense policy, and I applaud them for that.

Nova is a business, not a holiday camp.

Are you serious? They have broken a long list of labour laws (which has caused a lot of bad press)and driven away most decent instructors with their "no nonsense" policy. These are two of the main reasons that a previously profitable corporation is now on the brink of bankrupcty.

I agree that it isn't in a company's best interests to have poor customer service, but if you pay peanuts you get monkies. How can a company that is paying less and less by the week, offers bugger all training (and that is decreasing as well), and doesn't give a shit about employee morale seriously expect to have employees that are offer anything but a low level of customer service?

There no nonsense policy just seems like very poor management to me.

you pillow-biter are a complete knob! the person talking about number crunching for a big-time company is purely joshing! it is a joke!!!!! don`t you get it? what a bozo clown you are! talking about how you wudda fired the people you perceived as lazy and crass! your insight alone would take you to the top!!!! haha!

Well Inayoshi really has put himself on the line now, promising to have opened 975 Nova schools by the end of next March (currently there are 195 schools). He reckons he'll open recruiting offices in America, Australia and Ireland(wtf?)

The link to the Asahi article (in Japanese) is at http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0422/NGY20080421/0007.html

Be interesting to see if any internationally recruited instructors stay that long after getting pummeled with full 5 student classes.

I think they can eventually find enough instructors-especially with the economy down. What you need FIRST though is students. How many of those students at Nova now are new, full-paying students?

When you use exaggerated phrases like "mind blowing," "massive," "big numbers crunched," "numbers crunching," and, oh yeah, lest I forget, "huge, huge," in the same paragraph, people can't help but see through the thin lie you have constructed for yourself. The people reading this message board also realise that you are actually stupid enough to believe your own lies and that you use that as the premise for attempting to persuade others. You are fooling no one except yourself.

* * *

The Japanese are playing games with all of you. They know they have the ability to divide foreigners by rewarding them for their loyalty. The rewards are even greater for betraying one or more of your own. Then, when the Japanese are finished using you, when your value to them has been completely exhausted -- you who have sworn your loyalty to them -- you, yourself, are betrayed.

The time is now to awaken from your slumber! Unite to end this cycle of betrayal!

why do you people whine about 5 students in a class? most language instruction in the world occurs with far more than 5 students, not to mention the fact that you can do a much wider range of group activites better with a larger class, and the fact that most students enjoy active discussion in groups with other students. even most kids classes of 7 - 8 are easy to handle, why would you possible have a problem with 5 adults? even low level adults are fine in groups of 5.

do you lack activity ideas that small groups can do independantly, or do have so little charisma/leadership that even 5 ADULTS will run wild in your class, or do you feel that even students who pay for the cheapest group lessons around deserve a large share of 1 on 1 time with the teacher?

you can still give corrections and set practice activities as the students work in groups, you know.

--eb0li from the forums

I don't think anyone's worried about not being able to teach 5 people. It's the admin that's a fucker - they're still expected to do things the Nova way, which means choosing a lesson that's most appropriate for all the students in the class. With a lot of people being nova lifers, this makes this task almost impossible. Couple that with the fact that those shitty little booths were too small for a class of 3, and you can't possibly do more mobile activities. There's no way a teacher can set up a group discussion and wander around monitoring - the students will spend most of their time glancing up and giving him/her blank looks. There's no way you can have mingling activities. The frustration with the Nova system is being exacerbated - a lot of people probably want to do everything you suggest, but, as usual, their opportunities to do a good job are being fucked up by the people who will fire them if they don't do a good enough job.

That's some fucked up fun right there.

And, on the other hand, there are a lot of people in Nova who just don't give a fuck and prefer whining about to actually doing anything about it.

It's a chicken and the egg situation I suppose. Were the instructors monkeys to being with or was it because of Nova's treatment of individuals that the played up? I think it's both. They hired some real morons in their last few years, scraping the bottom of the barrel. But the working conditions were also woeful. I worked there for a year and a half in 2005/2006 and was lucky. I got a nice small school in an area full of creative and wealthy types so it was interesting. I went to some busy suburban schools for help and was just appalled. Glad I wasn't placed there!
I know some very good instructors that wre surprised by how Nova operated and jumped ship whtin 6 months of starting. These were decent responsible and personable people that would have stayed if NOVA was a better company.
Anyway, glad NOVA is gone and I wish G.Comm the same happy demise.

G COM is saying that they have a list of 20,000 teachers and they are going to choose from that list. This must be the list of people who were sacked, ripped off and chased back home. Do they really think they would come back for more at the Nova corpse? Also, they say that they will open recruitment offices in America, Australia and Ireland (according to the Asahi Article)
I see stormy seas ahead!

"It is hollow, empty, superficial, soulless crap, and I still can’t believe some Japanese people have not cottoned onto the fact, they are being sucked in big time."

Here we go again, the belittling of language instructors.

What does your dad do? Working on the cure for cancer? How'bout your mom? Building homes in tsunami-torn Indonesia? That's what I thought.

The garbage man smiles and waves hello to me. He picks up garbage though...loser.

Who gives a shit who makes a career(or not) in what.

Less than 10%, and probably much lower than that. At our branch of 300 students I met about 5 new students who were paying 100%

Actually I prefer teaching larger classes too, in many ways they are easier, but then you're not teaching the same thing as in a small class. Class sizes were limited for a reason, so students could have in-depth conversations with and under the guidance of teachers. I'm sorry but teachers can't listen to and give feedback on indepth conversations in a meanful way for a large group in a 40 minute lesson.
When you teach large classes you can practise skills, you can get students to report back, and you can give some correction but you don't have time to actually converse in depth with everyone. When you change class sizes it also affects the kinds of topics/objectives that are suitable. Many of the lessons we have to teach, and the teaching methods NOVA employs are incompatible with 5 stuident classes, and Yamaya's unforgettable 'smile training' gave no mention of tips or advice for newer instructors who might be lacking ideas.

The company and it's management is responsible for the quality of it's own instructors. The company chooses them, the company trains them and the company sets the working conditions, so I don't see this as a chicken and egg thing at all.

Wow, that Asahi article is pretty funny. They'll choose people from a list of 20,000 former NOVA instructors to invite back to NOVA. Good luck Inayoshi you baka! It's interesting that they mentioned having recruiting offices in Aus, Ireland and the US but not England or Canada. Is that because NOVA and the eikaiwa industry copped a hammering in the British and Canadian media? I think the Australian media gave NOVA's bankruptcy very little attention.

As far as I was aware there was very little coverage in the UK. Nobody I know back home knew anything about it. Australia seemed to have the strongest reaction. Didn't they offer to fly the Aussies out of Japan? And I'm sure I remember hearing about a politician on TV there talking about the Nova situation. Could be wrong about all of that, though...

It's not just that the story of Nova going bust, was reported by the BBC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7063205.stm

But also the Lindsey Hawker (a Nova teacher) and Lucy Blackman cases painted the Japan experience understandably, in a pretty negative light too:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6498019.stm

The above is what I was thinking of in England's case. Lindsay Hawkers' death wasn't long before the METI investigated NOVA. I knew of a few newspaper articles in Aus but didn't think the bankruptcy got much attention. One thing the aust foreign minister Alexander Downer did say after the bankruptcy was that he didn't think the bankruptcy had broader implications for the eikaiwa industry in Japan, but I think a lot of people who post here might disagree.

My family heard about it from my uncle who lives in Canada, so I thought maybe there had been more coverage there too.

Hello together,

Who went to last year`s November NOVA/G-Com meeting, signed the request for employment forms stating 100% standby pay, later signed another request for employment form stating 60% standby pay and finally got paid 60% standby pay?

Anonymous (currently)

They contacted me twice even though i quit in november. so i must be on the list of 20,000 instructors. duh, most of those people have probably long ago left japan. stupid g-shit.

60% standby pay, no job security...

I bet they're lining up in their thousands, at LB Pearson, JFK, Heathrow, even as I write.

Nobody in my area but I heard some people in Kobe got that deal. One guy recieved 100% standby for about a month.

In many branches they do have enough students. Apart from thier lines of credit being reined in, the lack of instructors at the most crucial time of year really is their biggest danger. Those students who finish their current tickets after May will then be paying 100% to continue, so it was up to G.com to provide a good product until students finish their current tickets to ensure that they buy more.

I honestly think G.com had a chance to make this all work, if they had money to burn for the first few months and if they looked after teachers. But they've screwed themsleves by treating us like an unlimited and expendable resource.

On paper they might be in the black for May because of the sales hump in march/april but a lack of teachers now is causing complaints which will hurt G.com's revenue for the remainder of the year.

I got a few months of stand by from them. When they tried to get me back to work it was a no go! Already had something lined up... but would like to thank Gcon for over a million yen of free money!!!!! who's laughing now!!!

I don't remember NOVA revealing anything of the true working environment in their seminars or interviews.

They duped people into working for them and sold their business as a working holiday, a chance to experience Japan.

Running an operation like a totalitarian regime does not a good workplace relations model make, sooner or later people will stop working for you. And if you look the turnover rate of employees for old NOVA....sweet jesus, nothing to be proud of there.

I've long since gone from NOVA, but I used to complain a lot and have a general distaste for what were then, full 4 person lessons. Now it's gone up to 5 apparently. Some time after the sour taste of NOVA was out of my mouth, I realized that it really wasn't the class size that was a problem. After all, anyone working in a public school has classes of 30+ students on average. The real problem is a fundamental one in the way NOVA carried out, and G. Com continues to carry out it's lessons. They give their teachers far too much work with their free for all lesson booking style. It's very discouraging to a teacher to come in to work, see 3 free lesson periods on their schedule, and know that at any minute any one of them could be turned into more work by someone calling in. With only 10-15 minutes between lessons, planning them amounts to little more than looking in everyone's file and mentally saying " Keiko and Tomomi haven't done #35 yet, and neither has Takuma because he's a new student, and Rie has done it but that was 2 months ago so #35 it is then." Trust me, that's not lesson planning. It's getting yourself mentally prepared to open the textbook to the right page and wing it. But NOVA doesn't give you any guaranteed free time for lesson planning and even if you do get some time, a fill-in can instantly change what you have to do, so you have no choice. Going on day after day like this is defeating and forces most instructors to abandon even attempting to make their lessons fun and original. Now I work in junior high school, and get on average 3 hours a day of on the clock out of class time (not counting lesson intervals) to prepare for my lessons and interact with the students in a casual environment. I can't say enough how much this helps both in being ready for class and job satisfaction. That will never be the case at NOVA as long as every minute of the day is up for grabs.

Hello together,

Everyone who got
1. 60% instead of 100% standby pay
2. is and was not enrolled in Shakai-Hoken
3. is and was not enrolled in health insurance
4. Has been fired without severance pay

You could get your right.
As I did!

To point 1> sued and got approx. 500,000 Yen
To point 2 and 3> currently suing, date is May 30th.
To point 4> suit will be processed next week

Fighting back is fun and makes money.
To see how, check this out: http://g.education.suit.googlepages.com/home

Sincerely
Saido

@Shawn: My account on letsjapan.org is currently pending... Thanks!

Good work buddy. Was it that easy?

You are so right, They are still treating teachers like paper cups. The textbook is still as much trash as it always was The classes are full of people who are waaaaaay out of level from the Level up rubbish of the old days, the teachers are burnt out, and half the schools dont bother with level checks and just cram the students in any level they think. Its like the staff know better than the teachers . The system is perfect and we are just there to deliver it.
If that is the case we are way over paid now, they should cut our salary in half and just higher English students from the local highschools to do the job.

Yes, easy and fun!
Even necessary...

'Easy and fun!' there's something familiar about those words...what did you do at NOVA exactly?

Hey all,

I've been offered a job with G.Education/Nova in my area.

Naturally, I'm a little dubious about the contract, especially as it still contains the illegal 'non-socialization' clause. This clause was deemed illegal December 24th, 2004 in the Osaka District Court.
I myself used to work for NOVA back in 1999, lasted just three months before I was asked to resign or be fired for dating a NOVA student, who I've now been happily married to for 8 years!

When I brought this clause up with Flemming Lord in the Osaka office, he told me "It's unfair to say this is illegal." This set alarm bells ringing, as it sounds just like NOVA all over again!

What's their current situation with salary payouts? Are they in the black or still in the red? I've heard they have increased from 159 schools in January to 176 schools now - hardly seems like they're on target to reach their desired 900+ by March 2009!

I would really appreciate any advice here. Thanks.

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