Vicious cycle continues

13 09 2008

Hooray Amity Hitachi!

Brandon is the latest victim in this ongoing saga.

It appears I may have been somewhat hasty in my claim that things may have gotten back on track there.

While they are still atempting to keep the NET level boosted to three, I think they may have less Japanese staff, and Brandon gives some independent confirmation that:

“My manager is, as Cat Power covering Gnarls Barkley would say, “That bitch is crazy / She’s fucking crazy.” Creepy.” – Brandon. Pillow Book


My sympathy for Brandon is mixed though. While some things appear to have maintained TEH SUCK over there – my manager accompanied me to set up my bank account, I was always accompanied by at least one of our staff members when doing official things such as ARC registration and visa extension (and I have semi-comprehensible Japanese skills) – this certainly should not have been left in Brandon’s hands alone. The rest of his complaints lie in some immaturity, selfishness and general jackassery that is all too rampant among foreigners (particularly in ESL fields).

The big clincher is that Brandon was fired for among other things, looking for employment elsewhere in his city. This breaches both his contract and possibly his visa requirements. Not a smart move. Especially when you post it online*.

About the hours. Teaching is hard work. Many Japanese ESLs have little or no teaching background thanks to Japan’s lax (absent) TOEFL accreditation requirements. Any teaching job will require you to do (a lot!) of outside hours work in lesson planning and record keeping. The contracts with AEON clearly state payment is for teaching hours only. This was explained in all my interviews. Preparation time is certainly minimised (sometimes to a fantasy level) in such sessions. But you can get probably get by with less preparation, just teach crappy lessons – like they did at NOVA.

About the city and accommodation. Complaining that your city is not up to scratch is very poor form. This is where preliminary research comes in. Little research quite easily shows that Hitachi is quite obviously a smaller regional city by Japanese standards. Transportation costs to Tokyo are quite easily available. And small apartments with minimal kitchens are quite common. All these sorts of information should be readily discussed in interviews. A common question is “How do you feel about living in regional areas?”, “How well do you cope with isolation?” – if you can’t answer positively to these questions, perhaps pot-luck employment such as eikaiwa is not for you (where your chances are about equal at being in Osaka as much as being in Komatsu).

I guess the main thing to remember when you choose work, such as eikaiwa, as a gap year project is that is first and foremost WORK. You will be expected to put in hours, you can not expect it to be a walk in the park, and probably, most importantly, you should try and choose something you actually want to do with your life. If it’s not your bag, you probably shouldn’t put your hand up for 12 months of essentially singing shitty little kiddy chants while smiling.

Fault still lies with Amity. They need to try and do their best to actually inform and prepare their potential teachers of what to expect.  And also screen them for the correct sort of personality. And possibly they need to consider management adjustment options at Hitachi.

*I remember receiving some sort of congrats fax (birthday?, i thought it was earlier though) in which a trainer subtley made me aware that they could access my blog. Ooooh spooky veiled threat. I wonder if they can find my new blog.




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