Although you once taught at an Eikaiwa, you don’t anymore. Why did you choose to leave?
A mixture of disillusionment and boredom with the job. The disillusionment came from the realization that being a salesman was more important than the teaching itself. During the hiring process in Vancouver, GEOS played up how I was beginning a career while casually throwing in, “You’re OK with approaching students and asking them to renew their contracts, right?” I wanted the job so of course I said yes.
But once in Japan, teachers and managers came and went every few months or so. There was even a stretch of at least 3 months where my school didn’t even have a manager. The weekly meetings consisted of the manager (when I had one) telling us how much we needed to make that month in terms of new student signups and contract renewals. During renewal campaigns, head office would send faxes excoriating under-performing schools, demanding that they do better. This wasn’t anything like the picture painted for me in Vancouver.
02/09 Correction: In the first interview, I wrote: Nova’s rivals, such as GEOS and AEON, quietly switched over their fee schedules to monthly schemes to avoid the wrath of their customers and avoid any potential lawsuits over lesson refunds. A reader pointed out that this was incorrect for AEON (and I believe GEOS, too). Both AEON and GEOS still charge everything up front.
I stand corrected. Don’t know where I got the notion from. Probably got it confused with children’s lessons, which are charged on a monthly basis. Thanks for the clarification.