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Chiba ALT Conracts Deemed to be Illegal

Whoever wrote The ALT Scam on the Fukuoka General Union blog is probably feeling vindicated right now. The Mainichi Daily News reports:

Public schools here [Kashiwa, Chiba] have been unable to start their native speaker-taught English classes this school year after the city's board of education was accused of violating labor laws with foreign language teachers.

According to the Kashiwa Municipal Board of Education, it has been instructed by the local labor office to change its labor relationship with foreign assistant language teachers (ALTs) in the city's elementary and junior high schools after it engaged in illegal employment practices.

The local education board entrusted part of its English curriculum for primary and secondary school students to a Tokyo-based staffing agency between 2007 and 2009, and a total of 23 foreign teachers belonging to the agency worked as ALTs at 61 local public elementary and junior high schools during this period. Their contracts expired at the end of last month.

The article goes on to say that instructors were working as temporary employees under the guise of subcontractors, and demanding that their contracts be extended. When they complained to the labour board, the board investigated and found that the instructors were under the direct supervision of the schools they worked at even though they were working under dispatch contracts. The problem with this kind of arrangement is that:

Under the current law, companies and other business operators must offer a direct contract to their temporary workers after they have completed the first three years of work. Moreover, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's labor guidelines require a minimum three-month interval before the two parties enter into another temporary contract.

The city's board of education had planned to terminate its English class teacher outsourcing contract and employ temporary English teachers directly starting this April. However, as the labor office judged that the education board had already forced its contracted foreign teachers to work as normal temporary staff, it became impossible for the city to renew the contracts right away, in accordance with the ministry guidelines prohibiting consecutive temporary contracts of over three years.

The BOE has announced that it will comply with the labour board's order, although English classes have been suspended until July. This is a good first step in breaking what I called "the terrible triangle" in ALT teaching jobs. The complaints to labour boards are having an effect.

Comments

Sean, what are the chances that the Kashiwa schools decide now simply not to renew the contracts? The article isn't clear. It just says only they must wait 3 months before they can employ the teachers.

I agree with you that ALT dispatching is a big mess.

It is indeed a scam,
I bet the BOE are going to miss all that under the table stuff they get from dispatch company.

In the long run this is going to be better for foreign workers. You can't do illegal stuff to us and get away with it.

Sean, what are the chances that the Kashiwa schools decide now simply not to renew the contracts? The article isn't clear. It just says only they must wait 3 months before they can employ the teachers.

Right ... so those teachers have to sit around for three months unpaid with the hope that their contracts will be renewed in July? Is that correct?

While it's great that the law is being enforced this doesn't sound like a good deal to me.

If the BOE employed them directly they could start working straight away!
The fact that the BOE would rather wait 3 months to get ALTs on a dispatch contract (where they don't have to manage gaijin) than employ them directly and take responsibility shows how xenophobic the BOE is.
By going along with the status quo and not taking them to task on illegal practices is the right thing to do!

Anyway, they should be in employment insurance so they can take a 3 month holiday on 60% of salary

If the BOE employed them directly they could start working straight away!

According to the article, there is some legal reason why they can't:

However, as the labor office judged that the education board had already forced its contracted foreign teachers to work as normal temporary staff, it became impossible for the city to renew the contracts right away, in accordance with the ministry guidelines prohibiting consecutive temporary contracts of over three years.

Anyway, they should be in employment insurance so they can take a 3 month holiday on 60% of salary

I didn't read where they don't have EI but I guess you can assume that. 60% of an ALT's salary will not get you very far!

According to the article, there is some legal reason why they can't:

There is a legal reason why they can't employ them as "Temporary Workers" (the article is calling 'haken' = 'Temp workers'), but haken is different to direct employ. They CAN directly employ them

Thank the All Mighties for this historic breakthrough in social justice. ALTs can now be hired directly by BOE's!! MLK's dream has finally been realized!!! No more poopy Eikaiwa/Dispatch corporate cunts leaching off the hard working gaijin ALTs, nor cheating the honest Japanese citizens. Boy ol' boy, English proficiency in Nippon is going to soar, while corporate wieners and going to be chastised for their greed. Victory sweet victory.

You know, I think both the Iraq and Afgan conflicts could be resolved by deploying ALTs to their schools rather that military troops. You fine young gaijin could win the hearts and minds of the population there, just as you have in Japan. You probably won't actually help them learn to speak English, like in Japan, but exposure to your courage, discipline, superb intellect and overall greatness will win their affection and admiration.

ALT must always remember, you’re not just playing bingo and singing gay songs (gay as in happy, not the other meaning), you're a cultural ambassador representing the greatness of Western society.

Your Pal,

Jonny Jiggler
Proud NOVA ALT from April 2007- August 2007

It seems to me that the MoHLW is slapping the BOE twice for their mistake, by forcing them to both change the type of contracts with the ALTs but not allowing the BOE to hire them for 3 months (you have to change but you can't do it for three months!). And in the meantime, it's the ALTs who are really hurting, just sitting at home waiting to hear if they will have a job in 3 months. While being on unemployment might not be enough to cover the late nights of drinking, it's still better than nothing.

And we see from the article, that the union is to thank for keeping these ALTs out of work for the next three months.

04/19/2010 - 17:41, you may be on to something there. The guidelines say they can't hire them on consecutive temporary contracts, but how about a temporary followed by a direct or permanent contract?

And we see from the article, that the union is to thank for keeping these ALTs out of work for the next three months.

Exactly. It's very easy for someone on the internet or the Union to say this is a great thing because they don't have to deal with the consequences. Even if these teachers are able to collect UI, which hasn't been established, 60% of an ALT's salary is not a lot of money. It is also still up in the air what is going to happen after the three months expire.

In the long-term, this enforcement is a good thing but there is a lot of uncertainty (and lost income) for the people involved. If the people involved get hired directly by the BOE then I guess all is good but we'll have to wait and see.

It says that the BOE was going to terminate the outsourcing and hire the ALTs directly from April. I wonder if they were going to do that because the BOE itself decided to, or if it was because of pressure from the Labor ministry and the union. If they were going to do so by themselves, I wonder why the union had to get involved in the first place.

I also wonder why the Labor ministry doesn't go up against the dispatch companies more. Looks pretty clear that there are two main parties involved in the contracts (the company and the BOE), and for the Labor ministry to punish one side while letting the other side free seems a bit wrong.

What dispatch company handled/handles the Kashiwa BoE contract? Anyone know???

These gimps had the contract:

http://www.ies-english.co.jp/alt/

IES, also known as, We are a small mickey mouse company but still feel obliged to take as much cash as possible from foreigners, and kiss the almighty ass of the BoE.

WTF does an illegal conract look like? Never seen one of them before.

Hey, thanks for bringing this up.
I'm involved with this story. I was working for IES and was dispatched to Kashiwa elementary
& Junior High schools, and lost my job at the end of March.
Even though the labor office instructed Kashiwa city, Kashiwa is still trying to find a way to hire other temp staffs, not us. They haven't offered us direct contract which we are entitled to.
We will fight until we win this case!

As for the unemployment insurance, dispatch company cannot get away with it anymore(even though they tried to), I am hoping to receive the insurance before May.

We decided to join the union to correct illegal operations by cities and dispatch companies.
We have some unions behind to support us, if any of you have similar problems as us in your city,
please let us know!
Cheers

I wonder if this case will affect other dispatch companies who are doing the same thing.

The article goes on to say that instructors were working as temporary employees under the guise of subcontractors, and demanding that their contracts be extended. When they complained to the labour board, the board investigated and found that the instructors were under the direct supervision of the schools they worked at even though they were working under dispatch contracts.

The dispatch company I work for, Interac, has the schools send our schedules to them and then they email them to us even though we are in the same rooms as the teachers. I suspect that Intercrap is doing this in an effort to claim that we are not under the direct supervision of the schools. We were also told not to give the schools our phone numbers and if the schools wanted to contact us they had to do it through Interac.

A lot of these companies are scum.

Please let me know if I am wrong on this but, after the three years on Hakken the position has to be made permanent or a three month break taken. If the position is made permanent it is my understanding that the position can be filled by anyone, not just taken by the person previously doing that job.

ex-Japanese Health and Labor minister, Yoichi Masuzoe spoke in the Diet, "Gisou cooling(taking breaks between illegal contracts and hire some other temp staffs) is considered illegal."
Most of ALTs who work as contract worker receives order from schools or board of education, which is illegal.
If you are working illegally, they have to hire you directly as a compensation.
As Mr.Masuzoe said, it's furthermore illegal to hire some other temp staffs after giving 3months "Gisou cooling" period.

It's a temporary dispatch law, that after 3 years of using the same company, the contract needs to have a 3 month cooling off period. Basically, there is another law that says if you work for a company for 3 years they must directly hire you.
So, as long as they have a 3 month break, they can get a new contract.

It's a real battle. If more people join the union it can help everyone. I don't expect to get my job back, but I expect them to have work a lot harder to duck over and muck up and moreigners, I mean foreigners.

Unions are no better. At least in North American. Corrupt as heck and so damn politically narrow-minded.

So, from what has been said around the Kashiwa area, things got worse instead of better. The teachers are making even less than last year and the schools have to communicate through all the chains of command just to get a schedule to the ALTs. There is no communication at all without the dispatch company verifying every detail of the schedule before the ALT gets it. This is how it is through out most of Chiba. The Japanese English teacher, usually sitting across from the ALT, has to send the schedule to the BOE, then the BOE "checks" it and sends it to the dispatch company. Once it's all been verified, the ALT receives it 2 weeks later via email or fax. This has been the basic setup and some schools follow it to the tee, while others simply do whatever meets their needs. If you're an ALT in Chiba, you can verify and tell your story.

Now METI wants the schools to submit an additional form recording the times worked by the ALT. A rep. from METI is going to each BOE in Chiba to verify the work time of each ALT in Chiba. There is no word yet to know what will happen with this data. Most likely it will mean further number crunching and following the money. This can only mean that they are working to cut costs and pay for future contracts.

I cannot believe, after all these years, Japan still attracts naive idiots, who waste their time, pretending to be “teachers”.

Surely you realize by now, they are having a good laugh at you? Have you no self-respect? Leave Japan, lest you enjoy being thought of, underneath all that smiling, and bowing, as PURE excrement. I will say that again. Underneath all that formal bullshit, the sweetness, the fake veneer of “friendship”, they think of you as being shit, and I mean shit, fecal matter, pooh-poohs, you know, that brown runny stuff that squirts out of an ass, after a big night on the town. I am not joking. They are laughing at you, and you think you actually mean something.

GET OUT. It is the ONLY sensible thing to do. GET OUT, and let them view themselves as being excrement, or someone else.

15:29 nice try, but I... like many western males... only came here to stick my dick in some tight slanty gash. And since I'm pretty much in gash, miniskirt, stockings & titty heaven here, I don't think I'll be leaving any time soon.

I like the part where you point out that THEY ARE LAUGHING AT YOU!!!!!!!!!!!111111111 as if it even matters. I'll be sure to remember that when I'm balls deep in little Rina-chan's ass.

Anyway, why all the bitterness? Did you get knocked back by JET or something? Fired by G.Com? Or dare I say it... rejected by JAL SS?

I think you should stay in Japan, if gash and ass is your motivation, because obviously, you highly rate having access to gash and ass. Was access to gash and ass denied in your country of origin?

Shawn, I have been working as a Chiba ALT for 5 years. This year my dispatch company gave me a massive pay cut, which I did not agree to and refused to sign the contract. While we were still negotiating, the school year started and the company forgot about the negotiations. Currently I am not under contract, but still working in Chiba area schools everyday. Does anyone know what would happen if I bring this up to the labor board? Would the company be responsible to pay me according to the last contract I signed? Could the company just let me go and not pay me for this months wages because they done have me under a contract?

Their contracts are not worth the paper they are written on, and are used as an illusional tool to manipulate and intimidate you with. They have absolutely no legal foundation, and are issued by law breaking sons of bitches of companies, to trick you. They are so legally toxic, in fact, I would not even wipe your ass with one, unless of course you like growing warts on your poofer-valve. Eikaiwa are rotten to the core, but these dispatch companies take Eikaiwa law breaking and skull-duggery to a new level, and I know, given the state of Eikaiwa, that must be very hard to believe.

Seconded. Contracts in Japan are worthless. I've worked at 3 companies and have had my contracts broken each time. Why am i still here taking this shit? I'm not - I'm on my way home next year.

Like the above poster says, contracts are only used to intimidate you. Can never be used the other way around.

Fuck them all

Upon return to Canada, and working at a couple of GEOS Canada schools. the same basically applies. Except in Canada GEOS likes to hire teachers with NO contract, always making some excuse as to why they do not even though they are supposed to be mandated by GEOS Canada and Languages Canada. You see, that way you can bring people on, "guarantee" them all kinds of things, and then not fulfill their obligations and fire the teacher without warning or regard for labour laws. Oh, and you do not have to pay their mandated 4% vacation pay.

Eikawa in any country are mostly scam entities.

It's a hard lesson to learn, but everything said above is true. If you want to stay in Japan, do like I did, get some proper teaching credentials (in my case, a CELTA) and get yourself into a proper teaching job, with proper pay and conditions, a proper contract and, most importantly, a proper career where you'll actually learn how to be a teacher, and provide a much better service than any of these fleecing, scamming eikaiwa and dispatch companies could ever give.

CELTA is the way to go.

That was the worst CELTA infomercial I have come across. We all know the CELTA boys try hard to "standardize" the industry, but in the end they are just an over-glorified, over-priced brand name like any other.

Teaching doesn't come from paper. It comes from actually being a TEACHER, but too bad most do not know what that means...or care to know.

Yep, I got a TESOL (Celta Equivalent) a few years ago. I felt like I learnt a lot during the course but it counted for nothing when I was thrown into my first summer of teaching back in the UK. I didn't know where I was.

Good teaching comes from experience. Even after teaching here for 3 years plus I'm still learning how to teach the grammar more effectively.

The certificate that really carries some weight is the DELTA, which is a 3 month intensive course as opposed to a 1 month intensive course. Prior to the DELTA you are required to have at least 2 years experience in a range of contexts, and have done some pre-reading on the theories and practices behind EFL.

For the CELTA (and TESOL) you just pay your 1000 quid and you're on it

Most companies in Japan couldn't give a rats fuck about the CELTA anyway. They just want you to be a human tape machine or teach off some standard plan that's was created about 50 years previously. The only reason I've been able to develop my teaching out here is because the boss of my company just lets me get on with it without any interference. Quite a rarity out here from what i can gather.

And if I did have the DETLA, there's no way on earth I'd be wasting myself out here.

We're not trying to 'standardise' the industry pal, the CELTA and TESOL exist to separate the wheat from the chaff. Or to put it another way; to separate people you might want to interview from the people who shouldn't be allowed on the premises. It's not like it's not at a really high level or anything, it's just an entry-level qualification that means a potential employee can probably be trusted to go into a classroom and not screw things up too badly.

I love all these 'teaching comes from within' bullshit artists. I get about 8 or 9 of their resumes across my desk every week, usually from eikaiwa chancers who think 8 years grinning away at housewives at Go English Academy in some rural hellhole in Japan qualifies them to teach English anywhere else in the world. Basically, it doesn't, as the form rejection letter I'll send you explains.

I'm in an illegal contract and my company refuses to talk or communicate anything about it when I asked them.

They also are holding my pay hostage and are refusing to return calls or emails.

What can I do?

I'm no expert, but maybe the first step is for you to remind them that you don't have a contract. Get one signed quick, and failing that, go to the labour board and find out what your options are. You took a massive pay cut? Maybe you should be looking for another job?

Shawn
Let's Japan.org::Blog

Trust me, I get bs-ers with CELTA applying for jobs every week, and let's just say I am not impressed. Tgey give the CELTA song-and-dance as they are trained to do, but nothing of value usually comes out of their mouths. The only reason CELTA even gets any mention is because there is no standardization in the industry.

I believe basic "certification" + a decent university degree (not just a typical, crappy fine arts one) + good training will be the best way.

True, true. CELTA exists so that you can prove you're not completely useless, it should not be confused with a true teaching qualification; it's really a first step on the ladder towards becoming a good teacher a few years down the line.

The one good thing about the contraction of the ELT sector (in Japan and worldwide) is that it's starting to force out all the half-qualified losers, the apathetic unmotivated long-termers and all the other benchwarmers who are out to hold on to what they see as an easy job while doing as little as humanly possible.

If there is no contract, then your working conditions automatically fall under the labor standards law, which can actually work in your favor. What you need to do is go to the labor standards office ASAP. It is illegal to withhold pay from an employee and the company needs to give the employee 30 days notice of dismissal or payment in lieu. If you are on a second contract, you could even step it up and sue them for unfair dismissal.

To be honest, it's 6 of one, half-a-dozen of the other with CELTA. It gives you a basic understanding of English-teaching, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to be a good teacher. There are plenty of so-called "proper" English schools out there that require their teachers to have CELTAs/TEFL certificates, and which are no better than you're bog-standard "human tape recorder" eikaiwa school. However, if you do want to build an actual career in English-teaching, as opposed to being stuck in the dead-end of eikaiwa and ALT, then CELTA/DELTA is the way to go.

CELTA, yes. Trinity TESOL, yes. TEFL certificates, no. Not worth the paper they're printed on. Not accredited by any international body and usually no practical observed component. If anyone offers you a TEFL certificate or (shudder) an online TEFL course walk away fast.

On a similar note, there are rumblings on Alex Case's TEFLtastic blog that CELTA will soon be offered with a distance component, with the practical sections still done face-to-face in a reduced amount of time.

20:56 CELTA with a "distance component"? Kind of defeats the purpose and hype, don't you think? Just another money=making scheme over quality.

TESOL/ TESL/ TEFL is fine if it has real teaching practice with real ESL students. Yes, 99% of the courses are crap, but I have seen a few good ones. Being "accredited" by some obscure world body doesn't mean sh*t since most of those bodies are phantom operations or worse. Really, there is nothing of value out there yet, including CELTA. Experience, proper university degree from a proper university, some TESL teaching monitored in a course, and training from a good company is the only way to go. But when you have the GEOS' of the world, well, you can't expect much.

I agree, most of the TEFL courses are rubbish. Cambridge or Trinity are the only ones worth considering. With that and some experience under your belt, you could land a job with the better schools and organizations. Anything else and you're going to be stuck down the dead-end of EFL/eikaiwa hell.

I find most CELTA graduates to be over-hyped and love over-hyping themselves. Just my honest opinion. They have been primed and fed to hail the great CELTA leader, and when they part with thousands of their dollars (or parents dollars), they must find some way to justify their big bank withdrawal. Not that CELTA is completely bad (better than nothing), but just a combination of a short summary course that costs thousands of dollars, limited teaching, and a candidate's lack of any real job or work skills that they usually command CELTA to "fix.". And then they go and work for shitty companies in the end (most time with no discernible difference in pay), like any other TESOL/ TEFL grad.

The simple fact is, Eikaiwa does not take a blind bit of notice of teaching qualifications. Not a blind bit of notice, I say. They pretend to, but actually, they don't, the don't at all. So, unless you plan a teaching career back home, and are prepared to go above Certificate Level, in terms of your qualifications, which is required for reasonable teaching jobs outside of Japan, then CELTA is a complete waste of time, because, as I said, employers in Japan don't take a blind bit of notice of it. The only benefit it has, is that is will cover the basics of teaching English quite well, making your job easier and more satisfying, and one that you can approach with a higher degree of confidence, should you elect to foolishly go down the Eikaiwa path. But the flip side of that is, you will notice just how bad most instructors actually are, and suffer quite a bit of frustration, watching them and listening to them, butcher their way through their English lessons.

These CELTA courses sell people on the communicative method as the only way to go. Ellicit everything. Low TTT etc. etc. If you don't actually like or agree with that it's too bad, cause that's the way it is.
The CELTA is highly prescriptive in character. I wouldn't know about the DELTA, but I would bet that they spend a lot of time nit picking about your classroom style cause that's easy, observable and unarguable.

Being a good teacher is about knowing your students, knowing their curriculum, understanding the relationship of the students to the curriculum (what the issues are as well as the possibilities), and having well conceived, if not always 100% right beliefs about how learning can happen with those students in that situation. There are lots of people who do CELTA courses and get a bit of experience who can do a nice show lesson any time. But they haven't got any further than that because they can get away with just going from lesson to lesson and never figuring out the big picture.

I just started my online TEFL course with Teach International and your saying its not worth doing? wtf? btw I want to teach in Oz next year.

So what exactly is the status in Kashiwa?

The sense I had was that when the ALTs couldn't directly go into the next contract, the BOE was going to find a way to dump them (during that 3 month waiting period) and go with one of the other dispatch outfits.

It's hard to see how the various moving parts of bureaucracy are somehow not going to (conveniently) "forget" about the situation while they implement their alternative remedy. It would be "un-Japanese", in a sense, just to play it straight.

Gotta be more to the story out there.

Kashiwa is an ugly shit hole of a place, architecturally void, and a cultural waste land. Damn it to hell, and any idiot fool enough to take a job in one of its falling to pieces stinking schools, deserves to get fleeced. The whole place smells like urine, and it's only savings grace, is that every now and then, you can see a cute Yamamba girl hanging out at the station, handing out tissues. I would not shit in Kashiwa, let alone teach in it.

I meant seriously: what is going on with the contract-labor situation in Kashiwa? Not a description of what you think of the place.

The boys of my grandparents' generation put up with a lot worse from the Japanese (of then) than places that smelled like urine. (I am sure every POW camp smelled that bad or worse.) So, if you think the place smells like urine, well, other people survived it, you know.

I meant: are the BOE officials in Kashiwa HONORING the law, or are they trying to come up with ways AROUND the law?

Would it be in my best intrest to sign the bad contract or go straight to the labor board, I'm getting paid as if I signed the contract, but have been working for them as a Chiba alt for 5 years. A few months back the company sent a strange email telling everyone that it was illegal for public school teachers to ask us to do anything, instead we have to offer assistance first ( although that never happens). It sounds like we are in the same as the kashiwa teachers and our dispatch company is trying to work a loophole.

There are lots of people who do CELTA courses and get a bit of experience who can do a nice show lesson any time. But they haven't got any further than that because they can get away with just going from lesson to lesson and never figuring out the big picture.

With a CELTA and some experience, you've at least got an outside chance of building a proper career with it and having better job opportunities. It's no guarantee, but you've got a chance.

Without a CELTA, you may become a better teacher, who knows, but what's certain is that you won't be going much further than the glass cubicle, somewhere in the backwaters of Japan, stuck in crappy dead-end English "schools" and "jobs".

Ask yourself - is that REALLY what you want to do with your "career"?

Everyone knows you are Mackorello, Coburg's NTU lap-dancing poodle, posting under a different sock-puppet name, and have made fun of the poster, trolling, spamming and flaming away for an awfully long time on here. Don't kid yourself, everyone can see through you.

And don't think that boasting about having a CELTA and some experience is going to do you any good whatsoever. At least you've wised up to the fact that the CELTA ticket is by-and-large a useless waste of paper. Any employer in your home country is going to be laughing their socks off when they look at your oh-so-impressive CELTA "career". Enjoy your sad, lonely, pathetic half-life in the backwaters of Japan, stuck in the glass cubicle, repeating the same lessons over and over and over and over and over again, for the rest of your life, idiot!

I hire. I do not give a rats ass about CELTA. CELTA people talk a lot because, hey, they spent a lot. And talking about CELTA sells more courses at the competitor down the street. For my hiring decisions, it is education, some "certification", character, work ethic and motivation, as well as actual teaching experience. Sorry, CELTA doesn't phase me much as I have seen all types who have it.

Well I'll be, if it isn't the lap dancing poodle of NTU's resident nutcase, Coburgsavoyman, yes, the one and only WHACKO MACKO.

Oh my gordie, and goodness gracious me. At last, a sane and reasonable person, has surfaced in here.

Tell me MACK, what advice to you have, for anyone contemplating a career in Eikaiwa, or their sister industry, DISPATCH OUTLET?

I can't think of any advice to give, other, than they should avoid KASHIWA area, on account of the overwhelming stench of urine, if they must venture into the muddy waters of the language scene in Japan.

And, as I said, oh my gordie and goodness gracious me, at last, we have a voice of reason in here.

Thank God you have surfaced, WHACKO MACKO, and hopefully, you can, as we pray to the Dear Lord above, restore some sanity, to this forum.

It has been over-whelmed by chitter chatter about the corpse of GEOS, and frankly, no-one gives a rat's ass about that.

I used to teach in Kashiwa, and yes, it had a public urinating problem, especially on Friday nights, in and around the station, but I am not so sure it was worse than anywhere else in the world.

Isn't all this wee wee commentary, boarding on the line of being Japan bashing?

If you do not like Japan, then really, you don't have to stay here.

Good for you, I hired for many years in Japan in too, then in New Zealand and now Australia.

Since leaving Japan I've now decided that I don't give a shit about anybody who only has 'experience' in Japan (or for that matter China or Korea). I'd rather take a brand new CELTA grad with 6 months experience over here than a jaded ex-Japan loser with an inflated sense of entitlement who's pissed 10 years of his or her life away doing the gaijin monkey dance to indifferent high school students. They're far cheaper, more enthusiastic and usually have enough financially and mentally invested in their job that they're open to further training.

In other words, if you have the slightest inclination to teach outside of Japan in the future and want to have a remote chance of getting a job do your CELTA. I've got a stack of crap resumes hanging on a hook next to my toilet in lieu of toilet paper, I don't need any more.

@22:54, your approach makes sense. While CELTA is not exactly at the zenith of TESL/TEFL certification, it is certainly much more than the typical run of the mill eikaiwa "teacher" has in his pocket. Until owners like you take the initiative to regulate the industry, eikaiwa will continue to draw "teachers" of the worst sort for the worst reasons.

The situation in the eikaiwa industry reminds me of the current Gulf of Mexico disaster in a way. Sure, BP is the culprit. It was BP that cut corners that led to the explosion and all the oil gushing into the gulf. However, had regulators not been asleep at the wheel (or bedding the oil executives) perhaps the Deep Horizon accident would not have occurred.

It is time to raise standards and regulate the industry. Without it, we will continue to have an environmental wasteland of incompetence in teaching the English language.

While CELTA is not exactly at the zenith of TESL/TEFL certification, it is certainly much more than the typical run of the mill eikaiwa "teacher" has in his pocket. Until owners like you take the initiative to regulate the industry, eikaiwa will continue to draw "teachers" of the worst sort for the worst reasons.

Agreed. What's needed are good senior teachers and academic directors with good credentials, qualifications and experience. They're the ones who can spot and attract the good teachers, CELTA or no CELTA, and improve teaching standards.

How many times do you see dimwit, duffer managers who couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery? The English-teaching "industry" is full of them, and they're usually the ones who blame the teachers for their own failings.

"crap resumes hanging on a hook next to my toilet in lieu of toilet paper"............

More toilet humour I see.

Firstly, Kashiwa is allegedly the public urination capital of the universe, which really is just taking a racist swipe at the Japanese, now the comment above.......

Piss, shit, asses, gash, toilets etc etc etc....................what kind of a blog is this, really?

If you don't like Japan, you don't have to stay!

Rachel, I believe you are now aware what kind of site this is. The Net is free, and, for better or for worse, all sorts of Internet denizen coalesce here.

Yesterday I posted this blog entry on the subject.

Does anyone who inhabits this board know if the teachers on 3-month furlough are coming back in July? Or are they just going to get paid for July and told to take it and the rest of the summer off?

I just want to know the situation. The BOE obviously isn't going to give out answers, and the fact that the union is silent makes me feel that this was yet another episode where a great headline was generated, but the rank-and-file was left WORSE off.

Absolutely, it makes me laugh to see all these manager types coming on here and going on about who is or isn't teacher material. It makes me laugh, because in the process of doing that they invariably reveal their own ignorance levels: Not only about teaching and education but also about human resources work as well.

I see. Disrespect the "pissing" Japanese, and disrespect your managers too. You people sound like you are really making the most of your time in Japan.

If you don't like Japan, then you don't have to stay!

I love Japan and I plan to die here, Rachel. I've seen my share of pig ignorant managers, however, both Japanese and foriegn. Which is why several years ago, I exercised my free choice not to be employed by any of them. Guess what? Things have never been better.

Most teachers that I know of who are good at what they do, or at least competant are like that because they worked in a specialised area for a long period of time. For example, they became Elementary school teachers after graduating, had a murderous first 5 years or so, but then gradually step by step acquired competance. Now if you were to suddenly say to that Elementary school teacher: oh you have to teach secondary school now: would they suddenly be great at it? Would the kids be getting great grades on their examinations from the word go all because you were a 'good' teacher. No sir. You would go through an adjustment period that lasted anything from one to several years before you could call yourself competant again.

The problem with a lot of these language schools and their managers however, is that they assume that teaching ability is primarily a generic skill which can be recognised in qualifications and easily be reapplied to new areas. They need to assume that because of the vast range of different types of thing they want to offer to thier customers: school english, university english, business english, examination english, beginner english advanced english. Yep, the truly great generically skilled teacher, can handle any of them, right? If they can't, well that's just because they don't have enough qualifications or something.

the truly great generically skilled teacher, can handle any of them, right?

Well in my experience, yes. Or at least they can go away and figure out how to apply their existing teaching knowledge to a particular context and make it work.

If they can't, well that's just because they don't have enough qualifications or something.

No, and your ridiculous assumption here is that training is valueless. Those 'qualifications or something' are awarded for completing a training course after all. If a particular teacher can't 'handle' teaching in a particular context the appropriate thing to do is to find some kind of training that will help them to do so.
Honestly, you sound like one of those guys I used to work with in my gap year who, on hearing that I was going to uni after the summer would roll their eyes and mutter about the "university of life".

The real problem for you and your 'competant' (sic) friends is that managers don't want to hire teachers who can do one single thing well enough to get by. I want a staffroom full of enthusiastic teachers with the qualifications, skills and experience to flourish in a range of contexts. Because when we happen to have more young learners everybody in the staffroom should be able to pitch in and do a good job, likewise with business classes, high schoolers or whatever else crops up. Having someone who can 'only do exam classes' doesn't help me in the slightest.

A very good DOS I worked with when i first started teaching told me that having 10 experience doesn't make someone a good teacher. Because many teachers with ten years experience spend the first year figuring out how to get by and then repeat themselves ten times over.

Well the big hole in there is needs analysis, I think. You can have as many monkey tricks up your sleeve as you like, but if you don't understand your student type and the range of psychologies and abilities within it well, then your needs analysis is going to stink until you know them better. You won't know that student type as well as you should until you have put several groups of that same type through a similar process and started to see the differences. Ie you won't start to get really good for a few years at least. Training is not a waste of time, but it is the beginning of the process and not the end. There are also a number of situations for which training is hard to come by. For example, teaching people who are illiterate in their own languages.

Unfortunately, however, the language industry can't afford to just keep people on the same thing for long enough to get 'that' good, or supervise their results sufficiently well to see that they actually improve. They need the myth of the generic all rounder, so that they can deploy them as and when, and they need people with qualifications so that these guys know how to bullshit thier way around the consequences of that mentality.

My competant acquaintances by the way would never stoop to working for a language school. They are in state education, where the real teachers are and stay.

I hire. I do not give a rats ass about CELTA. CELTA people talk a lot because, hey, they spent a lot. And talking about CELTA sells more courses at the competitor down the street. For my hiring decisions, it is education, some "certification", character, work ethic and motivation, as well as actual teaching experience. Sorry, CELTA doesn't phase me much as I have seen all types who have it.

Sounds to me like you're hiring non-teachers with eikaiwa-type experience, and CELTA teachers who aren't up to getting jobs with accredited language schools. That's fine for an eikaiwa, but I think the other poster's talking about actual English-teaching for an accredited school. They're two different things.

My competant acquaintances by the way would never stoop to working for a language school. They are in state education, where the real teachers are and stay.

I just about shit myself laughing when I read that. Thank you for what might have been the funniest thing I have read all day.

a) They have a real teaching qualification, i.e. B.Ed, CELTA, PGCE etc (as opposed to some online TEFL course for example).

b) They work for people with real teaching qualifications and experience, in recognized institutions such as a state school or an accredited provider of language-teaching.

I don't see how anyone not fitting these two characteristics can be called a teacher, any more than someone "teaching" you how to pick up your knife and fork, blow your nose and tie your shoe-laces.

"Competant", eh? No wonder our public school systems are crap and our children are failing life. Public schools are a horrible mess of incompetent, clueless, and arrogant individuals who are only out for their retire fund and could not care less about the students. Union politics and gossip, yes...Proper teaching skills and results, no...More interested in the two-three-month vacation in the summer with pay and what benefits they are getting for free. Some of the dumbest, laziest, and plain lost individuals I have known are public school teachers (including a few friends).

Perhaps one of the differences between CELTA teachers and BP teachers (BP = back packers) is that CELTA teachers spend their time refining their teaching skills, and making the most of Japan, while BP teachers focus on who is urinating, and where, and whether it smells or not.

If you don't like Japan, you don't have to stay!

Our public schools are crap? Our children are failing? So when our children tell us that they want to fix all that and make a future for themselves we say: 'OK here's some money, why don't you toddle off to some other country like Australia for a year or two and try to pick up some English. With all those amazing teachers out there in those language schools we just know that when you get back you'll be all set for a fantastic career'.
Umm. Not.

I have worked in both public and private institutions. Some sing the pro-union public school glory song; I don't. Seen too much corruption and incompetent teachers in the public school system. I am not say private schools are all better. I just think public school teachers think a little too highly of themselves. These are the same teachers who will do everything to fight teaching skill standards testing that would prove just how much of an "expert" the are.

CELTA teachers make me laugh. Most are out if work/ under-educated and experienced individuals who buy into a marketing pitch and a brand name. The good CELTA teachers are usually good because of other qualities other than CELTA.

CELTA teachers spend their time refining their skills and BP teachers don't? Really?

You put an awful lot of faith in the power of short intensive courses to produce long term motivation, don't you? More faith than the people who actually run the courses, I would say. All they say about teachers who graduate from the CELTA is how immediately employable they are: that's it. And for good reason, I would say. The environment that they end up working in is likely to have a far greater effect on long term motivation than a little course like that could ever have.

Let's suppose you took up tennis ten years ago. You got the top spin forehand down fairly quickly. The backhand and volley took a little more work. But for some reason, the serve has always been quite literally a hit and miss proposition. Your serve is not competent because you never got the proper training you needed. All your ten years of "experience" has done for you is to make you a product of bad habits. Now, it will be even harder to re-program that serve of yours.

It's the same way in teaching. Lots of experience is fine. But without the proper training to precede it, that experience just amounts to a plethora of bad habits.

The 'right way/wrong way' principle applies much better to sports than it does to an area like teaching. What can be right in one situation in teaching, and can work well over and over, can be dead wroing in another situation.

Excepting extreme cases, a particular method, technique or style is never exclusively right or wrong because of the variables that pertain iin each situation. If you can learn that during your teacher training, then it's certainly worth something. However, usually the full force of this fact only gets driven home by experience.

BP teachers over-all, I have observed have a much higher degree of tolerance with regards to "listen and repeat", since that is all they can actually do......"Please repeat after me.........."

By and large, they have no understanding of their own language.

They really are just a head on a stick, that babbles away, and hopefully provides entertainment, in that process.

When they are new, or fresh, the Japanese find them to be quite cute, actually, so it is not as if they have no core value to the firm that employs them.

However, pathetic as they are, that should not result in them enjoying Japan any less than a CELTA teacher.

If you don't like Japan, then you don't have to stay !

You seem to have had a lot of experience with the BPs Rachel. If you don't enjoy it: why don't you leave them alone - you naughty girl.

I enjoy what the demand enjoys, or, in other words, what our employers' clients enjoy.

Back Packer teachers, largely through the enthusiasm and excitement generated by being in a new country, provide light hearted entertainment and relief to tired students, while the qualified teachers make up for their linguistic / teaching incompetence, by providing quality lessons.

There is a demand for both, and there is room for both, in our industry.

Once the Back Packer is unable to perform / is no longer enthusiastic, they can be quite damaging to company and student alike, however. During that phase, they tend to Japan bash, and should really, just pack up, and go home, since their lack of teaching skill is no longer compensated, by their capacity to provide entertainment.

If you do not like Japan, then you do not have to stay !

Rachel, I would love to know what kind of company you work for. If for example it is one of those piano music companies where people think they can come to class once or twice a week and get better at English quickly the same way that you learn the piano, then I am sorry to say that your CELTA training won't do you or your students a hell of a lot of good. In fact you might as well be a busker in a train station for all the good you are going to do.

If you were working in a gaidai or were the main teacher of the Engliish class in a private Junior High School or something like that. Well, Ok you might be making some progress there. Otherwise, if you are serious about teaching you should think about changing jobs. Any company that deliberately hires second rate people because the entertainment value makes them more money from the customers, is simply not serious about education. Are you a backpacker or do you want a career in education? You need to sort your head out my dear.

The 'right way/wrong way' principle applies much better to sports than it does to an area like teaching. What can be right in one situation in teaching, and can work well over and over, can be dead wroing in another situation.

No, I can think of quite a few things that eikaiwa teachers regularly do that are always wrong, e.g. (right off the top of my head):

  • spending the entire lesson talking about what you did last weekend
  • turning up so hungover you can barely move
  • mindless listen and repeat exercises with no correction and little or no understanding by students of what they're saying (audiolingualism is dead and buried, when is Japan going to understand this)
  • teaching the textbook in the exact order that it appears on the page with no mind to the students
  • no needs analysis

Excepting extreme cases, a particular method, technique or style is never exclusively right or wrong because of the variables that pertain iin each situation. If you can learn that during your teacher training, then it's certainly worth something. However, usually the full force of this fact only gets driven home by experience.

Maybe, but at least you're starting from a solid base rather than pissing around with no real idea of what you're doing or why you're doing it. The sports analogy is spot on.

Well, I would put many of the examples you have just given into the extreme category. Of course, there are some things that are always wrong. If training or the lack of it had anything to do with the situation at eikaiwas then you may have had a point. However, it doesn't. There are people with CELTAs and people with state teaching qualifications working at some of these places right now, doing some of these things that you are talking about. For them, the training didn't make much difference.

Then you have the Rachel type category of person. She thinks that her training gives her superior insights, but not so superior it would seem as to prevent her from ever accepting work with scammy operations that do little good for her customers and even less for her career. You'ld think a halfway decent training would at least teach you to avoid such places like the plague. But apparently not.

Rule number one for aspiring tennis players. Join a decent club and stay in it.

There are few quality English schools knocking round. A lot of them (and , I have to say, even some of the "accredited" ones) are "scammy operations".

The arguments above seem to originate from unqualified "teachers" getting very defensive about their unqualified "teaching" position. They seem to feel threatened by CELTA teachers because apparently, CELTA teachers think they're "above it all". And likewise, the unqualified "teachers" at eikaiwa think they know it all without a CELTA or any teaching qualifications.

The reality is that, to actually have a career as a teacher, you need a qualification. Without that, you're going to be working in eikaiwa in Japan, or wherever, indefinitely. You might by chance develop some teaching skills, but without qualifications, no-one is going to recognize it, nor are reputable employers going to give much credence to all these wonderful English speakers you're producing.

WITH a CELTA, you've at least got a chance of building a teaching career in good schools and institutions, ones that actually produce people who can understand and communicate in English, enough to be able to use it in a professional capacity, and which are recognized by employers for it. Sure you can have a CELTA, be crap at teaching, and end up working in a "scammy operation", as I've said above. However, with a CELTA, you've at least got a remote chance of getting out of that and into a sustainable teaching career, developing teaching skills, and being recognized for it.

But of course, I'm a CELTA teacher, all of the above is complete bullshit, and obviously my head is wedged firmly up my rear end. So tak no notice of it.

Hey Mack. If you are woriking in Japan CELTA doesn't mean what it means elsewhere. So if you want your CELTA to mean something then go to the places where it does.

If you want to stay in Japan, then getting somewhere at all is a different ball game. Suggest an MA and uni work - but not just any uni and not just any work. There is a lot of bullshit in the uni system as well. Alternative: private JH schools or H schools. Again it's buyer beware but there are some good ones out there provided that your Japanese is up to scratch.

Well yeah, as I said, you can get your CELTA and then end up in "scammy operations", in Japan or somewhere else, going absolutely nowhere.

One way to go is to get a CELTA, get a few years experience, then do the DELTA or an MA. It's still no guarantee of anything, but that will put you in the best position to get out of the dead-end English "teaching" "career", and into the better places.

From the only perspective that really matters, a manager of a school who hires teachers on a regular. Sorry, but CELTA/ DELTA/ PELTA/ SMELTA teachers who try to sell themselves like a used car dealer might are not as important as the views . Of course someone is going to say they are better for the job because they WANT a job. Kind of like all those over-inflated resumes.

I am not in Japan (so neither is my school), and after reading some of the comment son this forum from CELTA/ Japan teachers, I can honestly say I would not give special consideration to either. In fact, I probably would be less likely to hire someone with a CELTA or "special Japan experience" after seeing some of the comments. But my opinion doesn't matter. I am just a manager in charge of hiring and paying teachers, after all. The only opinion that matters, I guess, are all those super-educated and experienced teachers who seem to be so smart they can hire themselves, pay themselves, and provide their training on the job. Yup.........

Sorry for the typos...Missed the edits...

Should have read:

From the only perspective that really matters, a manager of a school who hires teachers on a regular basis. Sorry, but CELTA/ DELTA/ PELTA/ SMELTA teachers who try to sell themselves like a used car dealer are not as important as the views of someone who actually has to hire a teacher and meet academic and student satisfaction needs.

So I take it you'd hire people without a CELTA? Your school isn't an accredited language provider then. Out of interest, what kind of levels of English have your students reached? Have any of them passed recognized tests and examinations, been employed in a bilingual capacity, or studied at English-speaking unis and colleges, as a result of studying at your school?

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