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View Full Version : JET, ALT, eikaiwa, AEON, which should i do?



privileged
February 22nd, 2009, 20:10
I write this kind of thing a lot, but I've been fake teaching here an embarrassingly long time and feel above-average qualified to give an overview of options for the types of "what should i do" questions often asked. I originally wrote this as a response to the AEON thread but thought I'd start a new one as I find it helps to back up and start from a ALT vs eikaiwa perspective and go from there.

ALT vs eikaiwa:

There are advantages and disadvantages to each, a delicate balance, pagoda-like.

ALT - real school, real school hours (M-F, daytime), real school kids. big class, team taught. better chances for japanese, more downtime to study, plus the PE teacher doesn't give a shit about english -- default language of the school is japanese. w/ JET extremely likely rural placement, good pay. w/ interac, you can get an urban placement, but the pay sucks, and the company will absolutely lie and dick you around (1st-hand experience here).

eikaiwa - teach all ages, anything with a pulse, when they are free (evenings and weekends). teach small groups or one on one by yourself. all staff and students are there because they are obsessed with english. this is not a place to study, much less practice. accept it early. easier to get an urban placement. pay varies.

There is no magic answer, I know people happy at Interac, and people who hated AEON, and vice versa.

I did 2.5 years at AEON and 6 months at Interac. Interac was a nightmare, long story short, they placed me an hour 20 mins door to door, so I was up at 6:30 every day, out the door at 7:05, cannot be late for the big morning meeting, then teach 0 - 12 classes a week -- often 2 or 3. never go home early, get home around 5:15 demoralized and exhausted, often off to my 2nd night eikaiwa job (thanks to 250,000 pay, reduced twice yearly during vacation time).

all that free time sounds nice, paid for nothing right? again, depends on you. sitting in that hot cramped teacher's office, 2 shared computers right in front of the principal desks... it is the most studying i ever did, but honestly even 4 hours a day leaves 4 hours sitting there BORED OUT OF YOUR FUCKING SKULL.

AEON on the other hand -- it is very easy to find complaints, yes. the person who said they are like a cult -- yes. selling shit to students, yes. dunno if they still do this but when i was there they made us CALL students who missed class and ask why they didn't come. ("cuz my father died.") right. you get the idea. oh, and your five "personal" vacation days are highly theoretical.

that said, the job and money treated me 100 times better than interac.

90% chance you will get the tues - sat schedule (10% m-f which would be ever better), 1-9 weekdays, 10 - (7 these days i think) sat. just speaking for myself of course this treated me VERY good. you can stay up late, go out, exploring, drinking, every (any) night and not have to worry about getting up the next day. VERY good for an urban placement. sure the fri / sat turnaround sucks, but i found it worth the sacrifice.

money -- when i worked at AEON the money after raises/subsidy actually came close to JET. unfortunately raises are no longer automatic, but are "performance-based," which i heard tends to mean "¥0 - ¥3000." You still get a slight subsidy and small bonus, but this really levels the eikaiwa salary field in a way that cannot compare with JET. if i were applying to an eikaiwa from overseas today, i'd try ECC first, probably Berlitz 2nd, and expect money to be tight.

The lessons are all the same, (likely) pre-prepared, and repeat after 6 months. by the 2nd year you should essentially be doing no prep at all, which makes it a VERY nice job.

so there is a lot to consider. for me it was all where i wanted to live. tokyo. so eikaiwa, and so [at that time] aeon.

if you want to live in the countryside anyway, JET definitely seems like the way to go.

if you want an urban placement, i would go with an eikaiwa.

if you are absolutely insistent on an ALT position and for whatever reason JET isn't going to work for you, i don't know of a better option than interac, but i would strongly advise against it, seems like surefire financial ruin. if you get / furnish an apartment, forget it. even if you suck it up in a guest house, you start april, get paid May 31st, and August is already reduced to 60% pay. Oh boy, the month off to... stay home and cook food from the Y100 store?

if you care about teaching it gets a little trickier. honestly you will likely be frustrated either way, but you may want to think carefully about the students / age / environment / type of teaching you'd be doing w/ ALT vs eikaiwa.

Ok that's a lot to say and slightly out of order. I hope it is of use to someone thinking about how to come over. Any questions feel free to post here or pm me.

curtaineater
February 23rd, 2009, 03:56
nice post. i currently find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place. jet told me to fuck off, essentially, and now i have to decide what i need to do. one of the main reasons i wanted to do jet was because of the actual job involved. i really want to work in a public school. unfortunately, however, i'm not going to be a jet so if i do that my pay will suck ass. maybe even to the point of not being able to support myself. so thats where eikaiwa comes in. i would certainly make more money, but i dont know how much i would really like the job. its hard to balance these fucking scales now that jet isn't on them anymore.

i have an interview with amity and phone interviews with interac and heart. i'll have to wait and see the exact contracts, but it seems so far that hearts sucks. the pay dip is really bad. interac may be worthwhile since its has the potential to be a decent job and i'll be able to know my location before i ship out. and amity may be best due to the cash involved. also, i have going to bed so it would be nice to not have to get up.

wicket
February 23rd, 2009, 04:21
you could also look for private ALT jobs through the gaijinpot website - some schools and boards of education advertise directly and don't use agencies.

Jcubed
February 23rd, 2009, 10:28
all that free time sounds nice, paid for nothing right? again, depends on you. sitting in that hot cramped teacher's office, 2 shared computers right in front of the principal desks... it is the most studying i ever did, but honestly even 4 hours a day leaves 4 hours sitting there BORED OUT OF YOUR FUCKING SKULL.


I obviously don't have any exact figures, but extrapolating from the sample of myself and my JET friends, I think somewhere over 90% of JET ALTs have their own computer in the office. Thus, I usually break up my free time into 1/3 dicking around on the internet (err... like right now), 1/3 studying Japanese, and 1/3 with students (taking to them in the halls, wandering around their clubs etc). It really works out quite well.

Saitaman
February 23rd, 2009, 23:27
I write this kind of thing a lot, but I've been fake teaching here an embarrassingly long time and feel above-average qualified to give an overview of options for the types of "what should i do" questions often asked. I originally wrote this as a response to the AEON thread but thought I'd start a new one as I find it helps to back up and start from a ALT vs eikaiwa perspective and go from there.

ALT vs eikaiwa:

There are advantages and disadvantages to each, a delicate balance, pagoda-like.

ALT - real school, real school hours (M-F, daytime), real school kids. big class, team taught. better chances for japanese, more downtime to study, plus the PE teacher doesn't give a shit about english -- default language of the school is japanese. w/ JET extremely likely rural placement, good pay. w/ interac, you can get an urban placement, but the pay sucks, and the company will absolutely lie and dick you around (1st-hand experience here).

eikaiwa - teach all ages, anything with a pulse, when they are free (evenings and weekends). teach small groups or one on one by yourself. all staff and students are there because they are obsessed with english. this is not a place to study, much less practice. accept it early. easier to get an urban placement. pay varies.

There is no magic answer, I know people happy at Interac, and people who hated AEON, and vice versa.

I did 2.5 years at AEON and 6 months at Interac. Interac was a nightmare, long story short, they placed me an hour 20 mins door to door, so I was up at 6:30 every day, out the door at 7:05, cannot be late for the big morning meeting, then teach 0 - 12 classes a week -- often 2 or 3. never go home early, get home around 5:15 demoralized and exhausted, often off to my 2nd night eikaiwa job (thanks to 250,000 pay, reduced twice yearly during vacation time).

all that free time sounds nice, paid for nothing right? again, depends on you. sitting in that hot cramped teacher's office, 2 shared computers right in front of the principal desks... it is the most studying i ever did, but honestly even 4 hours a day leaves 4 hours sitting there BORED OUT OF YOUR FUCKING SKULL.

AEON on the other hand -- it is very easy to find complaints, yes. the person who said they are like a cult -- yes. selling shit to students, yes. dunno if they still do this but when i was there they made us CALL students who missed class and ask why they didn't come. ("cuz my father died.") right. you get the idea. oh, and your five "personal" vacation days are highly theoretical.

that said, the job and money treated me 100 times better than interac.

90% chance you will get the tues - sat schedule (10% m-f which would be ever better), 1-9 weekdays, 10 - (7 these days i think) sat. just speaking for myself of course this treated me VERY good. you can stay up late, go out, exploring, drinking, every (any) night and not have to worry about getting up the next day. VERY good for an urban placement. sure the fri / sat turnaround sucks, but i found it worth the sacrifice.

money -- aeon is very good, much better than the average eikaiwa. their current deal is slightly different on details than when i worked there, you will have to check the site for exact figures, but the main thing is they offer a rent subsidy as well as a raise.

(actually the furnished, no deposit / key money apartment is great beyond the subsidy. getting / furnishing your own place in a city in japan is painfully expensive.)

255,000, 20,000 raise, 30,000 (roughly) subsidy, by the 2nd year the salary is approaching jet, no? plus completion bonus and flight home.

The lessons are all the same, (likely) pre-prepared, and repeat after 6 months. by the 2nd year you should essentially be doing no prep at all, which makes it a VERY nice job.

so there is a lot to consider. for me it was all where i wanted to live. tokyo. so eikaiwa, and so aeon. (i know less about ECC. my understanding is they treat you better than aeon, are not nearly as annoying, but then the pay reflects that. I also know people happy at Berlitz. Their contracts seem a bit more varied and complex, so I do not feel qualified to comment on how they stack up for the average dude trying to come over for the first time. GEOS seems like most of the suck of AEON with none of the benefits.)

if you want to live in the countryside anyway, JET definitely seems like the way to go.

if you want an urban placement, i would go with an eikaiwa.

if you are absolutely insistent on an ALT position and for whatever reason JET isn't going to work for you, i don't know of a better option than interac, but i would strongly advise against it, seems like surefire financial ruin. if you get / furnish an apartment, forget it. even if you suck it up in a guest house, you start april, get paid May 31st, and August is already reduced to 60% pay. Oh boy, the month off to... stay home and cook food from the Y100 store?

if you care about teaching it gets a little trickier. honestly you will likely be frustrated either way, but you may want to think carefully about the students / age / environment / type of teaching you'd be doing w/ ALT vs eikaiwa.

Ok that's a lot to say and slightly out of order. I hope it is of use to someone thinking about how to come over. Any questions feel free to post here or pm me.

I have never worked for Aeon, my claims that they are a cult is based off of observations that I have made here in Japan and what I saw in their interview/presentation back in the states. I did work for Nova, if others are just as bad then JET is better. My Nova xp has soured me a bit on the eikaiwa stuff, so someone else may have different opinions, but personally all I can say is I will not be working at eikaiwas ever agian.

privileged
February 24th, 2009, 01:23
amen, to each their own. i honestly meant the main point to be there is no perfect answer. you much preferred alt, i must preferred eikaiwa. could be a million reasons. your particular school / branch / manager / kids could make all the difference -- a good eikaiwa placement would certainly beat a bad ALT situation. a nice ALT job would certainly beat a shitty eikaiwa branch -- no matter how much you sweat it, luck is inevitably a factor.

AEON = cult... training is the low point. The group of you stay at the "AEON house" and the rules get stranger as you go. No food in the room. No drinks in the room. No food or drinks during the breaks. Then they insist on running the training like an ESL lesson (I believe not to be demonic, but because they are not capable of relating in a normal Western fashion anymore). Repeat this, roleplay this -- hey guess what, when you deny people food and water and make them chant stuff over and over again, YOU ARE A CULT.

Anyway, as I said above every situation is different but I was actually thinking "gee, big mistake?" after training but when I got to my school and met my manager it was a hugh sigh of relief.

I am remembering all sorts of weird details. There is the legend, I witnessed it, of the owner coming in and demonstrating, for some reason, and obviously over-acted, that if he feels weak or isn't using positive thinking and someone pushes him, he will fall over. But, if his mind is strong, no one can push him over.

Or, you can see the poor trainers observing each other and taking notes on each others' presentations during training. It is an endless cycle, but they really do believe the AEON method for teaching ESL to students is an ideal way to run the entire company, which is flawed on so many levels it is hard to grasp fully. We went through 11 assistant managers, 3 head teachers and 4 managers during my 2.5 years there. Solid company! I was seriously the 2nd oldest employee by the time I left.

That I still found it twice as good as Interac should speak volumes about what a wreck of an organization that place is...

curtaineater
February 24th, 2009, 05:48
why the fuck would they make odd rules about food and water? if i was hungry or thirsty i'd just do what i want and tell them to fuck off.

Saitaman
February 24th, 2009, 12:25
why the fuck would they make odd rules about food and water? if i was hungry or thirsty i'd just do what i want and tell them to fuck off.

Who knows why cults make their members do odd things, they just do.

Saitaman
February 24th, 2009, 12:30
That I still found it twice as good as Interac should speak volumes about what a wreck of an organization that place is...

Yeah, if interac is worse than an eikaiwa, then it must be really really bad.

Wakatta
February 24th, 2009, 20:23
I was going to pop in and sort of (?) defend Interac, but you know what? No. Fuck those bastards.

Saitaman
February 24th, 2009, 21:23
i dont really know anything about interac, but if someone who worked for an Aeon says it is bad... well that doesn't work in their favor.

Maybe we can have an interac worker that actually likes it chime in, if there are any...

curtaineater
February 24th, 2009, 23:04
over on the japanistan forum there are some happy interac workers. maybe the ration of good situations to bad is a little more skewed for the other companies than it is for JET, but its still ESID.

Saitaman
February 25th, 2009, 10:28
over on the japanistan forum there are some happy interac workers. maybe the ration of good situations to bad is a little more skewed for the other companies than it is for JET, but its still ESID.

I would imagine that it does depend a lot on the school, if they are using interac that means they are cheap, which is not usually a good sign. Perhapse their are other things interac people have to put up with that makes it worse than JET, I don't know.

(Besides the 25-40% cut in pay.)

Mr. Plainview
February 25th, 2009, 22:50
JET is better.

If it wasn't, Aeon would send their rejects to JET, not the other way around.

curtaineater
February 26th, 2009, 00:29
i dont think anyone can argue that JET isn't the best option. i have having to eat the fucking scraps.

Saitaman
February 26th, 2009, 12:03
i dont think anyone can argue that JET isn't the best option. i have having to eat the fucking scraps.

Well, do what you need to do. Don't be afraid to change jobs if the first one doesn't work out or if you like it, stay, but they don't own you. And you can reapply for jet from Japan if you want to. You will have to go back to where ever you come from for the interview (or Guam if you are American), but it can be done.

Ini
February 26th, 2009, 13:55
i dont think anyone can argue that JET isn't the best option. i have having to eat the fucking scraps.

Direct hire by a BOE is the best option. Like JET but more money and less shitty conferences

Saitaman
February 26th, 2009, 15:29
Direct hire by a BOE is the best option. Like JET but more money and less shitty conferences


That's a good idea. hmm... How much more?

Gusuke
February 27th, 2009, 10:06
One thing I can't get over as a JET is how the private ALT's willingly do shit that I'd fight tooth and nail to get compensated for.

A private ALT in my city is willingly paying 10,000 yen a month out of his own pocket to teach at the really far mountain school one day a week.

curtaineater
February 27th, 2009, 12:02
gusuke, what the fuck is your avatar!?!? i'm scared as hell!

reed
February 27th, 2009, 12:41
That is a pretty bitchin' image.

Neb
February 27th, 2009, 12:57
lol, it's a coconut crab

curtaineater
February 28th, 2009, 14:06
it makes me sick

zenbone
September 15th, 2009, 13:16
I have seen a lot posted on the internet about heavy handed sales tactics used by some of the schools... how is ECC in this regard? I think very highly of ECC and hope to be one of their teachers in the near future.

arislan
September 15th, 2009, 19:55
Not to be the random pro-Interac person by any means (since I'm very aware they mess a lot of people about, and I'm not sure anyone has an entirely problem-free time with them) but... I, and most of the Interacs in my area, have had a pretty painless time with them. Our branch office is, if overworked, fairly nice - though Interac across the board is extremely stingy with allowing you to take paid vacation days. They call them vacation, but really you're only allowed to take them to see the doctor and stuff.

To be honest, if you go with Interac you're not likely to have that much contact with them. You spend all your time at your schools (which are sorted out by the BOE), you send in your proof-of-work and travel sheets every month by fax, and Interac pays you. Occasionally you go to a regional meeting.

In the year and a half I've worked with them, I've never been paid late, and never had much cause to complain. I also find the salary perfectly sufficient, especially for the work I do and the massive amount of holiday we get, though that might be something to do with living in the country. I'm really happy with my situation.

Our work is the same as JET, because Interac doesn't interfere with the BOE or schools beyond specifying when we have to be at school.

Just for another point of view.

seal
September 15th, 2009, 20:36
yeah, but you do get paid significantly less right?

arislan
September 15th, 2009, 20:52
Yeah, we get about 5man less a month. (and less in August and December, of course) But to be honest, since I have enough to live, eat, go out at the weekends, go on trips in summer and still have money to buy random things I like, it's not as though Interac forces you to live in poverty.

But it's true, we can't go out and randomly buy expensive TVs like JETs seem to :p