PDA

View Full Version : Heart Corporation/Heart English School



Ferdy
February 27th, 2009, 20:40
Several weeks ago, someone in the JET Rejects thread suggested that I start about my experiences with Heart Corporation and I'm just now getting around to it. Heart is an ALT dispatch company, but why the two names you ask? Heart operates a small English conversation school out of its Mito headquarters but its main business is supplying ALTs to various boards of education. I'm currently an ALT in Miyagi prefecture.

If you want a rundown on what the company is and does, I highly recommend their website: http://www.heart-school.jp/en/index.html .
They've changed it in the past few months and added a bunch of stuff to the FAQs. If you're thinking about working for Heart, read the FAQ closely as it's actually pretty honest about what you're getting yourself into. Especially concerning the salary and initial paycheck, they state clearly that it's a long time until the first check (October 20 for folks who start in September, to be exact) and that the salary may not be sufficient for those trying to pay off debts or save up money.

The locations section of the site is incomplete. Being in Miyagi, I know that Heart has positions outside of the Kanto region. They have pretty much taken over Yamagata city and other towns in that prefecture, as well as having scattered contracts elsewhere in the Tohoku region and Hokkaido.

While my experience with Heart hasn't been terrible, it hasn't been all sunshine either. I can say it's good enough that I'm signing another contract with Heart once my initial 7-month contract ends in late March. Hopefully I can provide a balanced view of what it's like to work for this dispatch company. So, feel free to ask me about anything from the usual start dates to the fun, fun time I had riding my bike 45 minutes to school and subsequently fighting for a company car.

Oonter
February 28th, 2009, 05:37
Thanks for this thread. I don't really have any specific questions or concerns. I know ESID but I'm wondering what you're experience is like so far. Like the amount of students you have, the number of classes you teach a day, and what age group?

My wife and I leave in exactly a month for training in Mito City. What advice can you give someone whos has never had formal ESL experiences? I've only worked in children's programs and taught lessons in the past.

Not knowing where we'll be living is driving me crazy, but at the same time the anticipation is exciting. I think it'll be a good experience regardless of what happens.

Ferdy
February 28th, 2009, 08:47
I teach at one junior high school and two elementary schools. The JHS has 200 students, elementary #1 has about 300 kids and elementary #2 has only 30. I also visited a kindergarten once but that's not a regular thing. I teach four periods a day, five days a week. I go to elementary #1 twice a week and teach two grades each day (four class periods). I go to elementary #2 once a month and teach the whole school over 3 periods (that school is so small that they combine grades). I wouldn't have 4 classes a day at the JHS but for the fact that they do English (and Math) in half-classes there.
That said, Heart also has high school positions which are a whole different situation.

I didn't have TEFL experience either, or any teaching experience aside from tutoring a couple of kids in Math. If you think you'll be visiting an elementary school, try to pick up some books with ESL/EFL lesson ideas, games, etc. And kids' CDs like Wee Sing or something. Some elementaries have an English plan, but mine has nothing so I have to write all the lesson plans and decide on an appropriate song or activity for elementary lessons twice a week. I would pretty much be sunk if I hadn't brought books and CDs and my predecessor (who was a JET) hadn't left tons of JET lesson books. Once you get to Japan, you may be able to find some bilingual lesson books which will save you the trouble of translating or pantomiming lesson plans for homeroom teachers.

Heart might tell you where you're going before you leave (I found out a week before leaving the US) but most people found out at training. Oh, and depending on how much experience you have in Japan, training will be incredibly dull or a riot of new information and you'll scramble to take notes. Do you have your visa and health check already taken care of?

curtaineater
February 28th, 2009, 14:08
im wondering what kind of cash you pull in and what kind of place they set you up with

Neb
February 28th, 2009, 20:22
I'm assuming you heard of Interec? It's another ALT dispatch company. Anyway, given what you know about interect (and I'm assuming you do, since I'm assuming you did your research on alternatives before deciding on Japan and Heart), what is in your honest opinion a better option (heart or interec)? And under what basis do you make this decision? And while we're on thsi subject, why did you choose Heart over Interec? Also, do you know of other ALT dispatch companies like heart and Interec?

Oonter
February 28th, 2009, 22:26
I teach at one junior high school and two elementary schools. The JHS has 200 students, elementary #1 has about 300 kids and elementary #2 has only 30. I also visited a kindergarten once but that's not a regular thing. I teach four periods a day, five days a week. I go to elementary #1 twice a week and teach two grades each day (four class periods). I go to elementary #2 once a month and teach the whole school over 3 periods (that school is so small that they combine grades). I wouldn't have 4 classes a day at the JHS but for the fact that they do English (and Math) in half-classes there.
That said, Heart also has high school positions which are a whole different situation.

I didn't have TEFL experience either, or any teaching experience aside from tutoring a couple of kids in Math. If you think you'll be visiting an elementary school, try to pick up some books with ESL/EFL lesson ideas, games, etc. And kids' CDs like Wee Sing or something. Some elementaries have an English plan, but mine has nothing so I have to write all the lesson plans and decide on an appropriate song or activity for elementary lessons twice a week. I would pretty much be sunk if I hadn't brought books and CDs and my predecessor (who was a JET) hadn't left tons of JET lesson books. Once you get to Japan, you may be able to find some bilingual lesson books which will save you the trouble of translating or pantomiming lesson plans for homeroom teachers.

Heart might tell you where you're going before you leave (I found out a week before leaving the US) but most people found out at training. Oh, and depending on how much experience you have in Japan, training will be incredibly dull or a riot of new information and you'll scramble to take notes. Do you have your visa and health check already taken care of?


Ah, thanks! I assume that ALTs don't have an option on what grades to teach. I wouldn't mind working at a JHS everyday so I can get a feel of things then doing JHS and elementary my 2nd year. What do you usually do on your free periods?

I'll be sure to pick up a few lesson books before I got. Any recommendations? Heart's still processing our certificate of eligibility.

Ferdy
March 1st, 2009, 12:26
im wondering what kind of cash you pull in and what kind of place they set you up with

I make 227,000 yen a month. This is considerably less than JETs and less than Interac. Heart's pay can vary by contract.

I live in a one-room apartment with a separate kitchen and bath area. It's one of the newest buildings around and although it's a little far from my schools it's very convenient for grocery shopping and the train station.

Ferdy
March 1st, 2009, 12:36
I'm assuming you heard of Interec? It's another ALT dispatch company. Anyway, given what you know about interect (and I'm assuming you do, since I'm assuming you did your research on alternatives before deciding on Japan and Heart), what is in your honest opinion a better option (heart or interec)? And under what basis do you make this decision? And while we're on thsi subject, why did you choose Heart over Interec? Also, do you know of other ALT dispatch companies like heart and Interec?

I looked into Interac but didn't seriously consider working for them for reasons I don't want to go into. Most of the other ALTs I know in the prefecture are Interac employees so most of what I know comes from talking to them. Interac has some pluses like a higher salary and a bonus for living in the inaka. They also give elementary ALTs a bunch of flashcards and other lesson materials and have books of worksheets and activities designed to go along with the major JHS textbook. Interac seems like a good company and I considered applying with them for an April start position after my Heart contract is done but I like my current schools too much to switch. It's not like I'm starving on my current salary but the extra money would be nice.

The only other dispatch company I've heard of is Joytalk but I don't know anything about them.

Neb
March 1st, 2009, 13:04
Yeah cause I was just wondering why you chose heart over interec, 'cause i mean, i bet they both have their advantages, like you said interec has higher pay and can help with the lessons, what about heart, what advantages does it have compared to interec? I mean, I'm sure you wouldn't choose a company that's worst.

Thanks for the answers btw, appreciate it.

Ferdy
March 1st, 2009, 15:50
Ah, thanks! I assume that ALTs don't have an option on what grades to teach. I wouldn't mind working at a JHS everyday so I can get a feel of things then doing JHS and elementary my 2nd year. What do you usually do on your free periods?

I'll be sure to pick up a few lesson books before I got. Any recommendations? Heart's still processing our certificate of eligibility.

Heart asked me sometime before I left for Japan whether I wanted to work in high school or JHS/ES. I think most ALTs who do JHS also go to an elementary once a week or so but some schools are so big that the ALT only goes to the JHS.

During free periods I make lesson plans and materials, grade worksheets and tests, or meet with the JTEs. I rarely have time for surfing the internet or studying Japanese. Not that I could use the internet to goof off at work because there's only one computer in the staff room with internet access.

I have a book called "72 Activities for Elementary English." The Japanese version is "Shogakusei ha eigo ga daisuki."

I hope that you get your Certificate of Eligibility and visa before you leave because bringing people over on tourists visas is my biggest problem with Heart. It didn't happen to me, but several people in my training group for whatever reason didn't get their COEs in time to apply for a visa in their home country. So, Heart told them to come over on a tourist visa, lie to immigration and customs at Narita and then they applied for their work visas during training. It's not illegal to change your visa status while in Japan but it is a huge hassle and means that the visa applicant has to live without their passport for a few weeks. And it just seems shady in general.

Ferdy
March 2nd, 2009, 21:37
Yeah cause I was just wondering why you chose heart over interec, 'cause i mean, i bet they both have their advantages, like you said interec has higher pay and can help with the lessons, what about heart, what advantages does it have compared to interec? I mean, I'm sure you wouldn't choose a company that's worst.

Thanks for the answers btw, appreciate it.

Heart requires its employees to enroll in National Health Insurance which is accepted everywhere and has pretty cheap premiums. (At least for the first year, I'll see how much they go up once the new fiscal year starts in April.) Interac has its employees in some private insurance plan that most Japanese hospitals have never heard of so patients have to pay everything out of pocket and then get reimbursed.

Heart's initial housing costs can be lower too. This is probably an ESID thing but there's an Interac ALT who lives in my same apartment complex, our rooms are identical but he had to pay key money and a deposit (that he likely won't get back) in addition to first month's rent before he could move in. In his case, Interac just set him up with the realtor/landlord and acted as his guarantor, but with Heart I'm basically subletting my apartment from the company. This has its drawbacks but I only had to pay a 50,000 yen deposit (that I will probably get back when I move out) and first month's rent initially and my housing contract is in English. However, for Heart ALTs who live in guesthouses closer to Tokyo, like in Saitama and Chiba, Heart just introduces you to the guesthouse landlord and helps explain the contract and conditions. Both Heart and Interac place people in Leopalaces but I don't know what the housing contract is like in that situation.

I've heard that Heart is more considerate of placement requests and know several Saitama City ALTs who asked for that city and got it. I wasn't very picky about my placement so I don't know. Interac friends have told me that you can turn down your first placement at training and ask for somewhere else but Interac strongly discourages that.

I should add that it's not like Heart offers no assistance with lessons. They have a website and an elementary curriculum that schools can choose to use but using the internet at my schools is difficult so I prefer books. The website has flashcards to print but my elementary has a CD-ROM that I usually print stuff from instead.

violetessence
March 3rd, 2009, 09:14
So, Heart told them to come over on a tourist visa, lie to immigration and customs at Narita and then they applied for their work visas during training.

I know one person in Heart, and this is exactly what happened to her! How nerve-racking.

Tomahawk
March 4th, 2009, 00:06
I always heard that Heart had a really bad reputation but has that changed?

Saitaman
March 4th, 2009, 13:08
It has a reputation? I have never heard of the company myself.

curtaineater
March 4th, 2009, 14:37
i've primarily heard bad stuff...

SSJup81
March 4th, 2009, 22:10
Everything I've heard about Heart has been bad too.

AliDimayev
March 4th, 2009, 22:27
The more I find out about some nonJEt options, I think it is better to apply next year and then, if you don't get in, to do the nonJET way.

curtaineater
March 5th, 2009, 00:20
i wish i had applied last year too, but since i didnt and the clock is ticking away i'm stuck with some non-jet options this year. if i'm going to do this i can only do it for a year or two and it has to start up now. damn.

Tomahawk
March 5th, 2009, 20:27
This is the thread that put me off
http://forums.eslcafe.com/teacher/viewtopic.php?t=5032

Ferdy
March 5th, 2009, 21:57
This is the thread that put me off
http://forums.eslcafe.com/teacher/viewtopic.php?t=5032

No one in that thread cites anything really specific, but I think the thing to remember is that people who post in threads like that are ones who feel like they got a raw deal.

I've never been asked to do anything that wasn't in my contract. A couple times Heart forgot to pay part of my transportation allowance but the first time they realized it and apologized before I even had a chance to look at my pay stub. Both times it involved less than 1000 yen so it wasn't a big deal and they just paid me the next month.

Tomahawk
March 5th, 2009, 22:15
That's a good point. People are very good at point all the raw deals that they think they get. Negative nancys who have no one to vent to, so they vent to strangers on the internet.
As for the pay fuck ups, even BOEs do it. I changed my bank account and changed it at the BOE. For 6 months, they paid it fine into that account and then one month decided to pay it into my old account. How and why this happened, I have no clue. Imagine my surprise when I was missing a month's pay.

Oonter
March 6th, 2009, 04:03
So, Heart told them to come over on a tourist visa, lie to immigration and customs at Narita and then they applied for their work visas during training.

Yeah, This seems like what my situation will be like. I honestly don't mind though either way. As long I have a place to sleep at night and I don't have to fly back home, I'm fine. But, we'll see though


i wish i had applied last year too, but since i didnt and the clock is ticking away i'm stuck with some non-jet options this year. if i'm going to do this i can only do it for a year or two and it has to start up now. damn.

How's it going, btw?


This is the thread that put me off
http://forums.eslcafe.com/teacher/viewtopic.php?t=5032


I've read this before but I ignore it for several reason. I believe in "ESID". I also think that out the hundreds of ALTs that work for Heart, you're going to find more coming onto the Internet to rant rather than praise. I see it as 4 bad reviews out of the hundreds of unspoken ALTs that work for Heart. And last, that forum is outdated. Alot can change in 3 years. I say, go with your gut!! :)

Oonter
March 8th, 2009, 02:12
It's not illegal to change your visa status while in Japan but it is a huge hassle and means that the visa applicant has to live without their passport for a few weeks. And it just seems shady in general.

Ah, crap. Now that I think about it. Without a work visa we probably won't be able to work for a few weeks.

Ferdy
March 8th, 2009, 10:06
Legally you can't work but Heart will still make you work while the visa change is being processed. Don't go if they are asking you to do this.

Oonter
March 9th, 2009, 02:22
Legally you can't work but Heart will still make you work while the visa change is being processed. Don't go if they are asking you to do this.

Have they done this several times in the past? ask employees to work without Visa? From what I know we won't even be able to get a bank account/ gaijin card/ cell phone without a visa....

wicket
March 9th, 2009, 04:19
It's not that much of a hassle to change visa status and you don't lose your passport for weeks.
My husband was on a dependent visa and managed to change it to have permission to work at the local ward office. It took about 2 hours, maximum.
Although I'm pretty sure if you start with a tourist visa you have to leave Japan while your visa status is being changed.
In any case, I wouldn't go over there working for a company that deliberately asks you to lie to immigration.
There are better, more scrupulous folks to work for.

Ferdy
March 9th, 2009, 17:24
Have they done this several times in the past? ask employees to work without Visa? From what I know we won't even be able to get a bank account/ gaijin card/ cell phone without a visa....

Out of my training group of roughly 30 people, at least 5 applied for their visas during training. I do not know how many of them started work without said visa, but the one guy I stayed in contact with did and didn't get his passport back until sometime in September. And, no you can't get any of those essential services without a gaijin card (or at least having applied for a card) for which you need your passport with a valid visa. If you are certain your Certificate of Eligibility isn't going to arrive in time, find someone else to work for.


It's not that much of a hassle to change visa status and you don't lose your passport for weeks.
My husband was on a dependent visa and managed to change it to have permission to work at the local ward office. It took about 2 hours, maximum.
Although I'm pretty sure if you start with a tourist visa you have to leave Japan while your visa status is being changed.
In any case, I wouldn't go over there working for a company that deliberately asks you to lie to immigration.
There are better, more scrupulous folks to work for.
Did he actually change his status of residence from dependent to an instructor or humanities visa? It sounds like what he did was apply for "Permission to Engage in an Activity Other Than That Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted (http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/tetuduki/index.html)." (Sorry, that won't link directly but it's under "Residence Procedures for foreign nationals.") I did that as a student so that I could have permission to work, but I still had a student visa and didn't change my residence status.

You used to have to leave the country to change your status of residence but not anymore.

Wakatta
March 9th, 2009, 17:51
Yeeeah, if they're worse than Interac...

At the very least, guys, go for Interac. Benefits are not exactly amazing, but getting supported for a year or so of living abroad with a modest occupational burden is still a great deal.

Every time I even indirectly suggest Interac, I feel like hitting myself with a brick, but there you go. Though on that note, if anyone wants to tell Interac they're declining their offer because they've heard terrible things about their management culture, organization, and benefits, that'd make me happy.

Oonter
March 9th, 2009, 22:14
Out of my training group of roughly 30 people, at least 5 applied for their visas during training. I do not know how many of them started work without said visa, but the one guy I stayed in contact with did and didn't get his passport back until sometime in September. And, no you can't get any of those essential services without a gaijin card (or at least having applied for a card) for which you need your passport with a valid visa. If you are certain your Certificate of Eligibility isn't going to arrive in time, find someone else to work for.



Geez, this is a rough situation. We leave in less than 3 weeks and already got the ball rolling with our moving-out process. I'm trying to pry into the situation. I sent them an email asking for a run-through of what are first month will be like.

The other thing is, we applied with just about everyone but only received notices from Heart.

Ferdy
March 10th, 2009, 18:07
Geez, this is a rough situation. We leave in less than 3 weeks and already got the ball rolling with our moving-out process. I'm trying to pry into the situation. I sent them an email asking for a run-through of what are first month will be like.

The other thing is, we applied with just about everyone but only received notices from Heart.
That is rough. I would say apply again with an Eikaiwa since they aren't bound by public school start dates in April, but then you'd have to start the visa process all over again. Or tell Heart you aren't comfortable lying to immigration but you'd like to start work with them after you get your COE and visa (in your home country). Sometimes people leave early and they have openings in the middle of the year but that's really uncertain. I'm sorry I don't know what else to say.

ScienceDivison
March 11th, 2009, 10:59
I would be interested to hear if anyone who got accepted through heart, left by lying to immigration, and somehow got caught... What exactly would be the consequences? (I assume immediate deportation but would be curious to get a first hand perspective).

Victorius~
April 15th, 2009, 07:28
Thanks for the info, Ferdy! You're a champ.

cvmurrieta
May 29th, 2009, 11:04
I am supposed to talk with Heart on June 2 in the afternoon. I have already talked to Interac. I am keeping all my options open.

curtaineater
May 29th, 2009, 16:05
cvmurrieta, what is that you're doing currently?

Ferdy
May 30th, 2009, 06:16
cvmurrieta, I thought you were a CIR already. Aren't you in Miyagi too? Sup Miyagi buddy.
Heart has some CIR contracts but only a few. In my interview I was just asked standard stuff like what would you do if placed in the inaka, what level would like to teach, give an example of a game you'd use in elementary school. But lately things have gotten a bit tougher at Heart. With the latest batch of ALTs in April, some of them were actually asked not to come to Japan because didn't have full-time contracts available for them. Some came anyway cause they'd already bought their tickets and Heart had to scramble to find them part-time gigs. This is all third-hand from the newbies I met so take it with a grain of salt.

curtaineater
May 30th, 2009, 16:42
Heart contacted me and said they wanted to do a phone interview. They asked what day was best and I told them. They then said they would do it the following week since they were out of the office that day. They never contacted me again...but I didn't contact them either so it works out.

That was months ago. I've since been hired elsewhere.

cvmurrieta
June 1st, 2009, 15:12
cvmurrieta, I thought you were a CIR already. Aren't you in Miyagi too? Sup Miyagi buddy.
Heart has some CIR contracts but only a few. In my interview I was just asked standard stuff like what would you do if placed in the inaka, what level would like to teach, give an example of a game you'd use in elementary school. But lately things have gotten a bit tougher at Heart. With the latest batch of ALTs in April, some of them were actually asked not to come to Japan because didn't have full-time contracts available for them. Some came anyway cause they'd already bought their tickets and Heart had to scramble to find them part-time gigs. This is all third-hand from the newbies I met so take it with a grain of salt.

Yeah, I saw that I made a mistake in my last post. I am actually scheduled to talk next week on June 9 at 2pm. I just got approval from my section chief to take the afternoon off for the interview. I will interview anyway just on the off-chance that something does come up with Heart. As for as working in the inaka, then I will be OK with it if I can stay in the Tohoku area. I have grown to like it. I even told Interac that I'd like to stay in the Tohoku area if they hire me.

Yeah, I'm a CIR, but my place opted to not offer me a second contract. Since I am not ready to return to the US just yet, I am looking around for work here.

SSJup81
January 22nd, 2010, 05:33
Bumping, but has anyone ever worked for Heart that didn't have a bad experience. I swear, I've never seen anything written out that's been good about the place.

Whatisthisthinghere?
January 27th, 2010, 09:27
Hi Ferdy and friends,

I was wondering if you were still posting on this thread? I noted your comment about some ALTs being asked to stay at home. I was wondering if they are still doing this? What is the word from recent intakes on this particular issue? If anyone could supply this information to me it would be great (PM if not comfortable with the public forums).

Ferdy
January 29th, 2010, 07:23
Yeah, I'm still around.
I don't know about the current hiring season but I can tell you there are at least 2 jobs open in Miyagi. My friend and I are both going home, but she's been homesick from the start and I'm going to take care of my ailing grandparents.

From working for Heart almost 1.5 years and knowing lots of Interac, eikaiwa, etc. employees, I've come to the conclusion that all dispatch companies, eikaiwa, etc. are crooked in some way. (Except maybe really small, local eikaiwas that only have one school.) Some places are just less crooked or crooked in different ways. Heart asks some ALTs to work illegally before they get their visas. Interac told ALTs they should sign up for private insurance and now they're having to pay 2 years of back National Health Insurance payments before they renew their visas.

Basically, I've been paid on time and the pay has been such that I can take a few trips and save several thousand dollars. I wouldn't write a glowing review of any of Heart's main office employees because they haven't been very helpful but I speak enough Japanese to fend for myself. It's an alright job for a recent college grad but it ain't no JET gig.

borrrden
March 4th, 2010, 20:01
I've been working for Heart Corporation for just over 6 months now. The salary is not great, but as other people have pointed out I'm not starving. I don't know what to say about people saying that the office is crooked or what not. I don't have much contact with the main office (which is my choice, when I do have coordination with my handler the replies are always swift) so I don't know much. I do know that some people did come here on tourist visas, as other have said, but I had my paperwork straightened out ahead of time.

As for the work, it's the same that you are going to get with ANY company. Heart Corporation, Interac, etc, doesn't decide the schedule for ALTs, they are drawn up by the individual schools and the BOEs. If you enjoy kids, and have a decent measure of patience for the ones who are difficult, this job will be fulfilling for you.

I will say one good thing about Heart Corporation. When I first moved to my city, I waited forever and ever to get home internet, only to discover that my apartment could not receive internet (what year is this again?). I complained to Heart Corporation, who in the end found another apartment for me to move into with the same rent. I was very pleased about this.

Someone on here said that they don't help with the lessons. I don't know what they were talking about. The material from their website is more than adequate to prepare a lesson. For me, creating materials is the hardest part. Most junior high schools use the same textbook (geared toward the high school entrance exam) so the teachers usually have a way that they like to do things anyway. I made lessons a total of twice so far in 6 months (Halloween and Christmas).

In summary, the weird ranting on the dave's forum seems completely unwarranted (also note that they were written 4 years ago about something 4 years before that). Heart English School is also a member of Zengaikyo.....or whatever. I don't really know what that means but AEON gloats about their membership every time you go to an interview there so it must be good. I have nothing to complain about. I make enough money to send a few hundred dollars back home every month (more now that I'm done with big purchases like a rice cooker, mattress, etc).

Sorry that this is so long. If I missed something, please let me know. I have a head full of answers to your questions hehe.

Gusuke
March 4th, 2010, 20:31
Sounds like a plant!

borrrden
March 4th, 2010, 20:33
What type of plant? Fruit? Vegetable? :^_^:

Gusuke
March 5th, 2010, 07:50
The kind shilling for a terrible company.

Oneiro
March 5th, 2010, 11:10
Eh, one of the bigwigs at the BOE in Saitama Prefecture I think started with Heart. Likewise, there's a guy who used to be with Interac who said good things about them. Probably not the loyalty/pride you expect from many of us JETs but certainly no complaints about putting food on the table.

borrrden
March 5th, 2010, 19:35
The kind shilling for a terrible company.

Hmmmm, I don't see any other posts from you, so perhaps you'd care to share your experience with the company that qualifies you to classify them as terrible and try to take a shot at my credibility? I'm not trying to suggest this is a dream job, but i haven't had anything horrible happen like having my salary withheld or being threatened with eviction. If you have something I'd certainly like to hear it but if not I refuse to let you be a dick at my expense.

Gusuke
March 8th, 2010, 09:59
I've heard plenty of nasty stories from Heart, such as people not having their visa ready in time, and being asked to come in and start working on a tourist visa.

ChuChuRocket!
March 8th, 2010, 11:27
I've heard plenty of nasty stories from Heart, such as people not having their visa ready in time, and being asked to come in and start working on a tourist visa.

Cough cough cough....

I know for a fact that other companies do that as well....

Cough cough cough.... (I have a cold.)

borrrden
March 8th, 2010, 18:18
I've heard plenty of nasty stories from Heart, such as people not having their visa ready in time, and being asked to come in and start working on a tourist visa.

I did mention that in my original post.

patjs
March 8th, 2010, 22:14
I have to say I met two ladies from the Philippines who seemed perfectly happy with them.

But then again most of the Filipino women around here are married to Japanese men so making 19man a month is probably just extra cash.

Gusuke
March 8th, 2010, 23:08
I have to say I met two ladies from the Philippines who seemed perfectly happy with them.

But then again most of the Filipino women around here are married to Japanese men so making 19man a month is probably just extra cash.

A lot of these privates seem to attract Filipinos like flies on shit, I hate to say.

Vanguardo
February 8th, 2011, 20:25
Hi there
i have a telephone interview with heart coming up and so want to get the job. is there any info anyone can give me regarding what they may ask me etc?
thanks

Ferdy
February 9th, 2011, 09:10
Hi there
i have a telephone interview with heart coming up and so want to get the job. is there any info anyone can give me regarding what they may ask me etc?
thanks

Um...I remember they asked me what age group I would prefer to work with (elementary/JHS/HS) and give an example of a game or activity I would use with that group. So, poke around some ESL websites or Englipedia (. Homepage_Englipedia (http://jhsenglipediaproject.com/default.aspx)) unless you have some teaching experience you can draw on. Other than that I don't really remember.

lovejapan
April 10th, 2011, 10:13
Heart don't pay well so it is easy to get a job with them. In fact if you are breathing you are hired! One of my coworkers said that the boss Mr Wakabayashi has close contacts with the local mafia (yakuza) apparently his bother is one of them. I definitely would not work for them as they are hard nose business people (bordering on fraudulent)
I seriously hate they way they call themselves "Heart" which is Kokoro in Japanese, and has such an important meaning, i.e. that of "caring", when it is clear that they don't care about anyone or anything except money.

Miss_igirisu
April 10th, 2011, 10:28
To be fair though, if you didn't want to work for someone connected to the yakuza then you'd find it pretty hard to get a job here...

lovejapan
April 10th, 2011, 10:35
LOL That's true enough! Also whether they are real yakuza or not is a moot point. But seriously that school HEART is hopeless. Unfortunately with this bad world economy and then this terrible disaster, the wages are still under deflationary pressure so many schools want to offer less.

AVN
April 10th, 2011, 16:34
I don't really know anything specific about Heart but I will say something in regards to borrden. This is no way reflective of him or an implicaton he's lying or anything of the sort. It's just my experience.
I worked at GEOs until the end (please note I had already been accepted to JET as my exit strategy before it went under). I remember when I would post things that were wrong with the company or how they mismanaged my school and other schools I knew of, there were many people who came around saying everything was fine and great and awesome for them.
I guess what I'm saying is that someone ends up working for a shady company (If Heart is one) but has no direct contact with the head office or is in an obviously shady situation one can understand how they might be able to say they like their job and recommend the company.
I hope this makes sense.

lovejapan
April 10th, 2011, 18:18
Yes, I understand what you are saying. That is probably the case. I mean the Japanese people on the whole are so lovely that even if the company is no good, the teachers would still have a positive experience on the whole.

AVN
April 10th, 2011, 19:17
Yes, I understand what you are saying. That is probably the case. I mean the Japanese people on the whole are so lovely that even if the company is no good, the teachers would still have a positive experience on the whole.

Exactly, I mean I went through the whole GEOs thing by myself without a coworker at all and I still tell people I wouldn't change it. That I Would do it over again

Jojo
April 10th, 2011, 21:50
people just need to go into these companies with their eyes open. Frankly the biggest issue is people not realizing that with the 1 year contracts that dispatch companies use things can go ass over tit pretty quick...leave for the march break and come back with no job cause the company lost the contract... its happened to me or someone i know every year ive been in japan and heart will lose high school this august.

Sirrus
April 11th, 2011, 23:23
^ So Heart will be going straight to only hiring for ES and JHS?

Jojo
April 12th, 2011, 07:29
^ So Heart will be going straight to only hiring for ES and JHS?im sure they will have some HS somewhere but they are losing HS in my area

shbflyjin
April 14th, 2011, 12:44
I just finished with Heart last month. If you don't expect too much from them, they aren't too bad. I wouldn't go so far as to recommend them, but if you can take care of yourself in Japan and don't have a problem with being sent to schools with little to no training and (relatively) low wages , they are an easy ticket into the country because their hiring standards are lower than most (keep in mind that you will still be paid significantly more than Japanese entry level teachers who have an actual teaching license).

I have to say that I have never received a late paycheck from them and actually never really had much contact with them other than monthly reports and the occasional email. I don't ever recall them trying to screw me over. Compared to what I've heard about other companies, especially eikaiwa, Heart seems at least passable in the honesty department from my experiences.

I think the problems that occur with them are because the primarily Japanese staff has very low morale and a language barrier on top of that. This fact seems to often make them reluctant to help out when problems do arise (especially when it causes them problems). Minus the language barrier, this seems to be pretty standard amongst companies in Japan, actually (unless they are a fresh college grad that doesn't speak keigo, then there is a language barrier as well).

People who haven't worked for them seem to be miffed at fact that they undercut bids from other companies to get positions and ALT wages as a whole get reduced because of that. There is also the 29.5 hour work week matter, which, while morally dubious, seems to be in accordance with the law. Any "for profit" company would likely do the same.

Basically, go with them if you are looking for a stepping stone into Japan. Once you are in, finish your contract (or don't) and find something better. Because they are a normal company looking to make a buck, don't expect them to do anything for you out of the kindness of their "hearts".

Also, the cars they give you are expensive and complete garbage. If you can, avoid renting a car from them at all costs. Your life expectancy will surely increase if you do.

Miss_igirisu
April 14th, 2011, 13:18
You don't earn more than entry level Japanese staff when you take bonuses and stuff into consideration. Just saying.

shbflyjin
April 14th, 2011, 13:36
You don't earn more than entry level Japanese staff when you take bonuses and stuff into consideration. Just saying.
It depends on which Japanese staff you are talking about. A lot of the real young teachers (and some of the older ones that weren't lucky enough to get a prefectural gig) are often temporary contract workers (sort of like a non-jet ALT) with no bonus and a 160,000 yen per month wage, but they probably have better benefits if they are in shakai hoken (and longer working hours).

Miss_igirisu
April 14th, 2011, 13:59
Yeah I agree. I think some still get bonuses though, my fresh out of college jte who leaves at 3pm so must be classed as part time, got a bonus. Not sure how much but it seemed to be enough to pay for a louis vuitton bag.

shbflyjin
April 14th, 2011, 14:07
Yeah I agree. I think some still get bonuses though, my fresh out of college jte who leaves at 3pm so must be classed as part time, got a bonus. Not sure how much but it seemed to be enough to pay for a louis vuitton bag.
It also probably depends on where you are. My BOE was notoriously poor so the got they cheapest ALTs and probably the cheapest contract workers. This just highlights the little known fact that Japanese people, despite having one of the richest economies, are often very poor.

MixedNuts
April 14th, 2011, 16:57
This just highlights the little known fact that Japanese people, despite having one of the richest economies, are often very poor.

I do think that a lot of Japanese people are rather poor. But a lot of various Japanese people I've met have echoed the same sentiment that Japan is a great place to live because there isn't a very big gap between the richest and poorest. I don't know if this is accurate or just another Japan-ism (like the 4 seasons stuff). But I am surprised that even someone who doesn't have a job will often still have a Harrod's bag or Vuitton wallet.

Anyway, back on topic, Heart English School...

5100
April 14th, 2011, 17:17
I do think that a lot of Japanese people are rather poor. But a lot of various Japanese people I've met have echoed the same sentiment that Japan is a great place to live because there isn't a very big gap between the richest and poorest. I don't know if this is accurate or just another Japan-ism (like the 4 seasons stuff). But I am surprised that even someone who doesn't have a job will often still have a Harrod's bag or Vuitton wallet.

Anyway, back on topic, Heart English School...

Japanese people spend like mad on vacation. You'll see American/Euro tourists walking with a couple of bags, but the J-tourists are barely able to walk under the load.

Sirrus
April 15th, 2011, 23:04
Japanese people spend like mad on vacation. You'll see American/Euro tourists walking with a couple of bags, but the J-tourists are barely able to walk under the load.

Never understood that phenomenon with Japanese tourists or just the amount they spend anyway on high end brand name products.

So the Heart School is pretty much the same as Interac or very close?

thrash242
July 28th, 2012, 14:51
I'm planning to apply to Heart. What is their application/interview process like? I've read their website, but I'd like to know what it's like from someone who's actually gone through it.

goingpostal
November 8th, 2012, 13:40
As someone who has been working for Heart for the past 2 years... it's ridiculously easy to get hired by them. Which should tell you a lot. I think as long as you don't expect too much from them in way of support and finances, you will be moderately content. It's a typical ALT set-up.

However, if you're a newbie to Japan without much knowledge of the language and a support system to help you get set up, then I'd steer clear of this company.

In my experience, the only time I ran into issues with the company was when I was in contact with them. They are fairly lazy about giving you any help and give you the run-around often. And disregard anything Kent says--he's a complete joke. A business is as good as its management and the management at this company is exceedingly poor and disorganized.

I've stayed with them as long as I have because I like the school I'm with. The school and my colleagues there have helped me out with everything I've needed so I've had minimal (though thoroughly dissatisfying) contact with Heart.

gakumonman
December 17th, 2012, 08:55
I enjoyed working for Heart, I would say the best thing about them is that you can get placed relatively close to Tokyo. When I worked for them I actually lived in Tokyo-to and was about 20 minutes by express line to Seibu shinjuku station. My second contract was in Saitama about the same distance from Ikebukuro.

Yes, the hiring process was cake! Phone interview, sample lesson, two days later job offer!

I think it's a great company to try for, your first time going to Japan. I just got hired by Interac and I'm aware the only reason I did was because I am willing to accept a rural placement, I don't mind because I've already had the chance to live close to Tokyo with Heart. I would hate if it was my first time going to Japan and I got stuck flying distance from Tokyo or Kansai.

When I worked for them 2008-2010 my pay was comparable to Interac, but unfortunately I think the pay is a lot less than that now.

Both of my coordinators were total sweethearts and I found that if you put forth the effort to take care of things yourself,did your best to "gaman" they were pretty low maintenance and were honest about your contracts and renewals.

I did see a post here about entering the country and working on a travel visa and yes that happened to me, but I just played up the dumb gaijin act when my school asked about it and waited until my CoE came through about two weeks into the job, but never felt like I was in jeopardy of being deported and was amused to be apart of a shady dealing especially when you consider the stereotype of Japanese business being conducted rigidly by the book.

.

thrash242
January 5th, 2013, 13:53
So I applied and had an interview and then another shorter one with Kent, since he wasn't in the office for the first one.

This was around mid/late December, and I haven't heard back from them. I'm hearing about people hearing back from them in a few days, so I'm a little concerned. Maybe I applied earlier than usual, so they are still waiting to see what openings or contracts they're getting (I hear most of that happens in January).

Should I be concerned? If I don't hear from the by the end of January, I'll definitely take that to be a "nope".

And in response to an earlier question, yeah, they both said they mostly have elementary and junior high positions.

lexa1010
January 17th, 2013, 15:43
From what I've heard they still don't know what contracts they're getting.

Ini
January 17th, 2013, 15:56
I wouldnt panic too much. BOEs will have their yearly budgets passed by the council around now so within the next few weeks they will be putting the contracts for ALTs out to tender. Heart/Borderlink/Interac etc will go give their presentations, the BOEs will decide who to go for and then those companies can work out how many ALTs they need. They can make educated guesses because most BOEs just pick the same company they used last time but they dont want to offer hundreds of people jobs on the off chance they lose a few contracts. The ALT is always the last to find out so you might not get offered a job until the end of Feb (If it gets to the end March and you still havent heard its probably safe to assume you havent got in).

Bob1129
April 22nd, 2014, 11:07
Here is my experience with Heart. Its pretty negative so I warn you in advance, however it is based on my experience with them and what I have heard (verbally) from other employees working for them. And yes I respect the fact that many people do work for them quite happily and don't have a problem. However I was personally treated pretty badly by them, so I am sorry if this post angers or is disagreed with by anyone. I have listed my experiences in terms of pros and cons:

Pros:
Very easy to get a job with them, as they are very desperate due to very high employee dropout rates. Also very hard to get fired from (one employee was told to leave by the prefecture by school board, due to 'grooming' the kids, however Heart just moved him to a different location).Very easy to get a job with them, as they are very desperate due to very high employee dropout rates. Also very hard to get fired from (one employee was told to leave by the prefecture by school board, due to 'grooming' the kids, however Heart just moved him to a different location). Freedom from supervision, as they virtually never check up on you.

Cons:
Blatantly lie to employees before and after you start working for them (if you apply from overseas, expect the contract, working conditions, etc to have changed once you've arrived). I told them I would only work for them on the condition they gave me one school. When I arrived they gave me 4 and told me they didnt remember me telling them one school, as the number of schools you work at is not actually on you employment contract. This was a nasty little trick they pulled on me. I was alos told that I did not have my final contract ready before I headed to Japan, as they were still working on it. They did however clearly give me a salary figure via email, which I agreed to. However the moment I was in Japan they suddenly had the contract all ready and the wages were lower than I quoted. They correctly assumed that I was not in the position to refuse, having just arrived in japan.
They also tell new employees they have a high rate of retaining ALTs, when the vast majority quit after 1 year (about 10% quit before then). In general they lie to employees about everything they can, assuming it makes them money. They get a substantial placement fee for putting each ALT in a school, regardless of whether you stay for the whole contract. Anything after that is just extra money for them, hence they have gotten away with such terrible business practices.
If you get hospitalized or sick for more than a few days they get really nasty and abusive. One ALT had a very bad infection in his mouth (hence couldn't speak) and Heart harassed him for days telling him to go into school or be fired.
Contract mentions paid vacation days - you never get these. They just say 'sorry it’s inconvenient for us, try again later'.
Supply apartments that are massively overpriced, even in comparison to other ALT companies. This is due to their laziness when it comes to caring for employees. They mention a refundable deposit; however you have to stay a whole year to get this back.
They use housing to trap ALTs into working for them. If you quit the company then you have to vacate you apartment that day.
ALTs get visas about 2 months after starting work, meaning you have to work illegally for the first few weeks. Their comment on this is; 'don't worry about it, just keep working' or 'the guy who normally takes care of visas is off'.
Zero prospect for a raise. One employee worked with them for 6 years without being given a raise, despite repeatedly asking for one.
Wages vary widely between employees doing the same job in the same area. Last year one ALT was on 180,000 yen a month and was told that all employees in the area earned the same. She later found out an identical ALT (same Experience, hours, schools, etc) was getting 210,000 a month.
Very little actually DONE to help ALTs. They will tell you plenty of common sense answers (ie. telling you things you already know or saying look it up yourself), but anything that requires actually putting any effort in on your behalf will not be done.
No bonuses of any type offered, giving no incentive to work harder or continue employment.
Generally disorganized. Often wont inform you of schedule changes till last minute, wait last minute to give you your schedules, contract, visas, etc and always blame the school board (Note; the school boards will often give heart the information weeks in advance, however they don’t inform you until the last minute).

Jiggit
April 22nd, 2014, 11:34
wow

5100
April 22nd, 2014, 11:39
(one employee was told to leave by the prefecture by school board, due to 'grooming' the kids, however Heart just moved him to a different location)

So he got a chance to learn from his mistakes and try again...

It must have been pretty blatant for the BoE to want to push him out.

Antonath
April 22nd, 2014, 11:50
No bonuses of any type offered, giving no incentive to work harder or continue employment.
This is common for all ALTs, to be honest.

The rest sounds truly horrible, however. Has anyone reported them to labor standards or the equivalent yet?

Ini
April 22nd, 2014, 12:16
heart are pretty much the same as borderlink. For BOEs who dont want the hassle of JET and cant afford interac.

Gizmotech
April 22nd, 2014, 13:59
That is just insane. I'm SOO glad I didn't tell my friend about this before he transfered to them.