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Stories about those over worked and underpaid bosses

My Gulag Part II: The Iron Sausage

Guest Post by Net Pariah


My Gulag: Part I

Guest post by Net Pariah



Run Like the Wind

During a typical day at GEOS we would have 7-9 classes of varying length and level. We were also expected to interview prospective students whenever one walked through the door. The manager would usually coral the victim into the interview booth- called the fleecing chamber by the foreign staff- and give them the whole spiel.

One day the manager came up to me and asked me to do an interview. "No problem."

Sleeping Ugly

After I had been working at Gregg for a few weeks, it was decided that my only adult conversation class at the Jiyugaoka school would be observed. I don't think any teacher will tell you that this is a fun thing. This particular class was a joy to teach. The students were very high level and very motivated. They told me, all of them, that they did not enjoy using the textbook or the teaching methodology. They said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "We enjoy conversation in English. We come to this school once a week for conversation."


During my initial hiring process in Canada before joining Geos and coming to Japan, one of the interviewers asked me what I wanted to do in Japan. I answered honestly, "I want to learn about Japan. I'd like to learn the language but also other things, like the literature as well."

"Well, that might be OK sometimes, but please remember your priority is to teach English."

"Oh, yeah, of course. What I meant was in my free time and on weekends and whatnot. Of course in class it has to be me teaching them." "That might be OK, sometimes..." Yumiko said and we left it at that.


When I first came to Japan, I had to stay in a hotel because the teacher I was replacing hadn't yet moved on. After a week, it was finally time to move into my digs.

Some of my co-workers offered to help me move in. On our way to the apartment, someone said that Dan (the previous teacher) had a big goodbye party at the apartment the night before. At the mention of the party, people smiled quietly to themselves.

Inheriting the Role

Background: One of my ex-students quit GEOS over a year ago and is still trying to get a refund on her unused group lessons. One night she called with the intention of leaning on the manager for a concrete answer but got Kaya, the senior teacher at the Odawara school. When my student asked for the manager, Kaya quipped that there wasn't one and that she was essentially running the school until GEOS could bring in a "permanent" manager.

Crash-test Teacher

Guest post by Bob Perkins

Long cheap travel, humiliation and bloody mattresses; I've reached the zenith of education! Got Napster? Then "I'm Your Late Night Evening Prostitute" by Tom Waits goes well here.

Stuck in the Middle

The job of the Japanese staff at NOVA is to sell. We are under enough pressure as it is from our bosses to meet sales targets. One reason why the turnover in staff is so high is probably because of the stress we get. It comes from all sides-our bosses, the foreign teachers and from the students. We are helplessly stuck in the middle.


TOZA Goes Bankrupt

TOZA used to be a mid-sized eikaiwa until it went bankrupt in 1998. The TOZA situation built up slowly over a period of a few months. I didn't know it at the time, but all of the teachers at TOZA hadn't been paid their complete salaries in 4 months. They had received 20%, 30% depending on how bad their situation was; usually just enough to pay the rent at the gaijin house. They hired me in February of 1998 and nobody told me that they hadn't been paid since Christmas. I was surprised that nobody told me. Their response was," If we told you, would you have worked here?"


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