Double Plus Un-Good

I had been in Japan for 18 months when GEOS scheduled its next training seminar. The training was to be held in the head office in Osaki on Sunday and Monday so that none of our classes would be canceled.

I was happy to learn that some of my friends from recruitment and hiring days would also be at the same training as I.

Training started at about 10:00 in the am with a quick get to know you activity. Everything at GEOS had to be some kind of convoluted "learning exercise" Today's fun and merriment would begin with a rousing memory game.

The Joy of Always Being Wrong

Sept. 1992, Geos hiring office, Vancouver, corner of Howe and Nelson, 3:38pm.

"Thank you very much, Junko and Kyoko. I hope you enjoyed the lesson. Enjoy your stay in Vancouver." I walked out of the room.

I had just given my demonstration lesson to a couple of Japanese high school students doing home stays in Vancouver at the Geos hiring office and I was walking back to the interview office. The students were now filling in questionnaires about my lesson and the video tape of the demo was being critiqued by the hiring staff.

Hello, Minnie

I was a student at GEOS for about six months before I was recommended to join another class. That class was supposed to be a higher level group lesson. There were six or seven students in that class. There were a couple of high school students, a couple of office workers, and a couple of housewives. All of them were women, including the teacher.

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.


Mrs. Takahashi

When I quit GEOS and started with my new job at a small eikaiwa, I remember sitting in my apartment and thinking, "This is it?" It was worlds apart from GEOS. I had classes three times a day窶俳ne in the morning and two in the evening, leaving me huge amounts of free time. All this for 250,000/month. No renewal campaigns. Zero BS. The town newspaper even did a story on me.

Hard Cash

In my first days at GEOS, I was center stage for the first few weeks. I was taken out on the town, shown the sites, showered with all sorts of small presents. The arrival of a new teacher is a big thing in a little town and people seemed to be genuinely happy to meet me; or were they were happy in the sense Gilligan was when he finally made it back to civilization?

I brought a fair chunk of cash with me in traveller's checks to tide me over since my first paycheck would be minuscule as I was arriving in the middle of the pay period.


Bye, Minnie

Many years ago, I used to work at a daycare center as a nurse. I don't know about what other countries' daycare centers are like, but this is one custom my daycare had: GOHOBI SEAL, a reward seal.

The Unprofessionals

So you want to be a teacher? You figure you want to be a certified ESL/EFL teacher and use it to travel around the world teaching English? You can do it, of course if you have the correct credentials. You'd think working at one of these big schools in Japan, you'd get them. However, the only training you get is in-house, with in-house developed training material.

Met at the Airport

Guest post by Rob S.

To the Let's Japan Folks,

If you have a fear of being met at the airport and being overwhelmed by the representative from Nova whose knowledge of Japan should be immense compared to your own then please continue reading.


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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