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View Full Version : JET Alternatives that are just like JET [eg. Interac, etc.]



curtaineater
January 30th, 2009, 12:50
Some of us have a 'Japan or bust' mentality, such as myself, and some of us go ever further, having a 'Japanese public school or bust' mindset. For those who fall into this dark, dangerous category, what other options are there? I know Interac is the exact same job, minus all of the background stuff. What others are there? Is it only JET and Interac?

reed
January 30th, 2009, 13:30
Interac is actually quite different from JET, in that it is a privately owned company that provides eikaiwa and TOEIC instructors to corporations, and also happens to have a large network of "ALT" outsourcing services. Its competitors are similar outsourcing agencies such as Borderlink, RCS and Altia. JET offers security and structure because it is a government-funded national program; Interac and friends struggle daily to win and re-win contracts lost to one another in endless bidding wars. The business model is cheap labour provision, and while you might not be responsible for more than just showing up to classes, the reason your job exists is because there are cut-throat salesmen working to sell you to education boards any which way possible. If you're not in JET, you're not really an ALT -- you may not even have a desk at the school you teach, or anyone to help you through the lessons. More importantly, both your job and your boss's job may disappear any given month, if the school signs with someone else.

In many places (Tokyo, Chiba, Nagoya, and all major cities in West Japan) these ALT outsourcers get tax breaks and benefits for every teacher they sign to a school. It's in their interest to employ one teacher and sign him or her to multiple districts. You can expect to do a lot of traveling at these jobs, sometimes without compensation, and since you'll be salaried without always being busy at public schools, you'll be asked to put in hours at "the office" teaching eikaiwa on evenings and weekends. The lower the pay, the harder the work -- I've been at interviews where an advertised 255,000/month position is talked down to 8 paid months a year at 170,000/month, with no visa sponsorship.

Every situation is different, naturally, so don't assume the worst -- but also don't make the mistake of equating any position with JET assistant language teaching.

/ earnest warning

curtaineater
January 30th, 2009, 15:17
I surely wasn't equating any other ALT position to that of a JET ALT position. Its obviously far superior. My main concern is which companies actually offer such a position, rather than a straight up eikaiwa spot. I know I would much rather have an ALT job in a public school than a job with some strip mall language store. I'm definitely afraid that these other companies will offer something that is acceptable on paper but hardly worthwhile in practice.

If you dont mind telling, what place was it that pulled that job bait and switch on you?

I'll have to look into Borderlink, RCS and Altia, regardless of their inherent shittiness. At this point I have to be slightly less picky and apply everyhwere. Hopefully I'll have a few options to choose from.

Dammit JET!

Wakatta
January 30th, 2009, 19:48
If you're not in JET, you're not really an ALT -- you may not even have a desk at the school you teach, or anyone to help you through the lessons. More importantly, both your job and your boss's job may disappear any given month, if the school signs with someone else.
Whoa, whoa, what?

I'm not sure where you're getting this, but at least with Interac, neither I nor anyone else I knew (or currently know) from Interac experienced this kind of thing. I have never known anyone whose contract was renegotiated and given to a different company mid-year. I'm also not really sure what "a real ALT" means. But that's what they called me when I was with Interac, that's what my job title was, and "Assistant Language Teaching" is what I did. (Well, actually, since it was elementary, it was not so much "assistant", but that's true of JETs at elementaries too.) Things like having a desk seem much more a function of the school you're at and how often you're there. Both JET ALTs and Interac ALTs have the same basic daily routine: you show up at your school du jour in the morning, you teach, you leave in the afternoon. How many schools you have is a function of how the local BoE runs things.


You can expect to do a lot of traveling at these jobs, sometimes without compensation, and since you'll be salaried without always being busy at public schools, you'll be asked to put in hours at "the office" teaching eikaiwa on evenings and weekends. The lower the pay, the harder the work -- I've been at interviews where an advertised 255,000/month position is talked down to 8 paid months a year at 170,000/month, with no visa sponsorship.
Again, I can't speak for all ALT dispatch companies, but I was never called in to do eikaiwa with Interac. I do recall that there was a separate program you could sign up for to do business stuff, but that's not part of the ALT role. I've also never known Interac to not sponsor ALTs for visas.

Don't get me wrong, I have gripes about Interac's atmosphere, compensation, and so forth, but ... I'm not getting this. I worked at a Tokyo branch, if that affects things.


Every situation is different, naturally, so don't assume the worst -- but also don't make the mistake of equating any position with JET assistant language teaching.

/ earnest warning
Again, to add my two cents, the Interac ALT job and the JET ALT job are functionally identical, or at least were in my experience. The outsourcing arrangement makes some particulars different, and I personally think it makes the Interac bureaucracy way worse than the JET bureaucracy, but they're pretty modular in terms of what they actually do.

jeshipiyo
February 2nd, 2009, 10:19
I surely wasn't equating any other ALT position to that of a JET ALT position. Its obviously far superior. My main concern is which companies actually offer such a position, rather than a straight up eikaiwa spot. I know I would much rather have an ALT job in a public school than a job with some strip mall language store. I'm definitely afraid that these other companies will offer something that is acceptable on paper but hardly worthwhile in practice.

If you dont mind telling, what place was it that pulled that job bait and switch on you?

I'll have to look into Borderlink, RCS and Altia, regardless of their inherent shittiness. At this point I have to be slightly less picky and apply everyhwere. Hopefully I'll have a few options to choose from.

Dammit JET!

Do not go for RCS! This is a warning (unless they've changed management by now). No transportation pay, no job support, they'll try to talk down your salary... and it's located in Saitama. What a hellhole.

jeshipiyo
February 2nd, 2009, 10:29
From Borderlink's site:

"BorderLink will provide you with your on apartment within reasonable distance from you work place."

I always find it strange to see "English teaching" sites that don't have their own proofreaders.

FiercestCalm
March 13th, 2009, 13:58
Hmmm, I just had my telephone interview with RCS. They'd moved up my draft picks list because the guy doing the interview was so friendly and helpful, but perhaps they should go back to the bottom.

UPGRAYEDD
March 13th, 2009, 15:00
A few months ago RCS called one of my schools and tried to poach me right in the middle of work.

The guy squirmed when I asked him why I should take such a high cut in pay and benefits...

curtaineater
March 13th, 2009, 22:21
That is so weird. Who would do that!?

UPGRAYEDD
March 13th, 2009, 22:40
dispatch companies obviously, the moral of the story is they suck and are desperate enough to try to steal active jets with the lure of city life close to tokyo, with a 40% paycut.

Gusuke
March 15th, 2009, 18:00
From my one experience meeting one, dispatch company representatives have the enthusiasm of the Hitler Youth for being genki and for being dipshits.

Andrew101
April 9th, 2009, 16:05
Every situation is different, naturally, so don't assume the worst -- but also don't make the mistake of equating any position with JET assistant language teaching.

Sounds like you're suggesting JET is the pinacle of ALTing. It's certainly up there and I would have loved to have been a JET rather than an Interac ALT when I first came over.

The JETs I know though have to go and sit in 県庁 during the school holidays. Not sure if all of you have to do that though. But for those that do, unlucky!

Wakatta's post describes my time with Interac perfectly.

FiercestCalm
April 10th, 2009, 03:27
Yes, Interac lets you go home during holidays... but they also pay you severely reduced pay. So it's something to think about.

alanna
April 10th, 2009, 04:27
I don't know if this has already been posted, but if it'll help anyone, here is a pretty good webpage that compares Interac, GEOS, AEON, and Westgate.

http://www.tefllogue.com/finding-a-job/comparing-aeon-geos-interac-and-westgate-in-japan.html

Below the actual article are a few links to related content... I hope someone can find this useful.

Petesmp
April 10th, 2009, 06:43
A few months ago RCS called one of my schools and tried to poach me right in the middle of work.

The guy squirmed when I asked him why I should take such a high cut in pay and benefits...

Yeah stay away from RCS they are shady.

Hamster
October 16th, 2009, 16:49
Saw the post about "bait and switch." While Borderlink didn't do exactly that, they did try to get employees to sign a "labour agreement" several months into the working year. Basically it said that they reserved the right to change the conditions of the contract if they wished. Went unsigned by all. They do provide housing, but it will be more expensive than finding it on your own, and, "extra" payments were suddenly required. Base pay for ALTs going down each year, while B.O.E. complaints rising. Stay away.

ChuChuRocket!
October 19th, 2009, 10:30
I don't know if this has already been posted, but if it'll help anyone, here is a pretty good webpage that compares Interac, GEOS, AEON, and Westgate.

Comparing AEON, GEOS, Interac And Westgate In Japan | Guide to TEFL (http://www.tefllogue.com/finding-a-job/comparing-aeon-geos-interac-and-westgate-in-japan.html)

Below the actual article are a few links to related content... I hope someone can find this useful.

The site forgot to list the fact that GEOS wants you to actively recruit kids to join their program, and you get 500¥ a head for doing so. Also you work out of a mall. You're a mall teacher. The joy.

Hamster
October 30th, 2009, 18:54
From Borderlink's site:

"BorderLink will provide you with your on apartment within reasonable distance from you work place."

I always find it strange to see "English teaching" sites that don't have their own proofreaders.


Borderlink has almost no native speakers working at the head office. Lucky the sentence wasn't worse. BL's president doesn't speak any English at all. Should have seen Borderlink giving demonstration lessons to elementary school teachers. Some glorified OL trying to teach irregular verbs and pass it off as a suitable lesson for 5th graders.

Gusuke
November 1st, 2009, 22:00
Borderlink has almost no native speakers working at the head office. Lucky the sentence wasn't worse. BL's president doesn't speak any English at all. Should have seen Borderlink giving demonstration lessons to elementary school teachers. Some glorified OL trying to teach irregular verbs and pass it off as a suitable lesson for 5th graders.

Despite being a JET, I asked my BoE for a letter of rec and they're having Borderlink translate it from Japanese for them.

Needless to say, that does not sit well with me at all.

ChuChuRocket!
November 2nd, 2009, 13:15
Borderlink has almost no native speakers working at the head office. Lucky the sentence wasn't worse. BL's president doesn't speak any English at all. Should have seen Borderlink giving demonstration lessons to elementary school teachers. Some glorified OL trying to teach irregular verbs and pass it off as a suitable lesson for 5th graders.

Stay away from Borderlink. They really are shandy as hell. Plus they less than most others.

If for some reason you do go with them, don't do their housing. They'll try and cheat you on it.

A big difference between JET and everything else, the pay. 300,000 a month vs 230,000 or 24,000 a month. Plus with JET you'll probably end up getting reduced housing or free housing (it all depends on where you land).

The only reason to choose something over JET is if you NEED to be somewhere specific.

Hamster
November 2nd, 2009, 23:54
Borderlink, shady and housing all go together. One co-worker was told all the moving in costs could be paid out over time. Surprise. All had to be paid the first month at one time and of course, deducted from his salary. Poor guy received 5,000 yen pay for the month. Another couple in BL owned housing had to pay almost 300,000 in additional cleaning fees before moving out. Fees were paid some time ago, but Borderlink "didn't have any record of it." They were leaving the country, so BL witheld all that money as well. Finding a place on your own will save you money and woe. A few more ALTs suddenly quiting without notice should help the B.O.E.s to realize there is something better.
New hires receive considerably less than those who have stayed on, but "please don't discuss it with them."

Petesmp
November 3rd, 2009, 08:48
Teach Away - Teach English Overseas - Teach Away Inc. (http://www.teachaway.com/)
This one seems good and you can teach a bunch of different places, including Japan.


English Program in Korea - EPIK (http://www.epik.go.kr/)
JET in Korea

ChuChuRocket!
November 4th, 2009, 09:42
Borderlink, shady and housing all go together. One co-worker was told all the moving in costs could be paid out over time. Surprise. All had to be paid the first month at one time and of course, deducted from his salary. Poor guy received 5,000 yen pay for the month. Another couple in BL owned housing had to pay almost 300,000 in additional cleaning fees before moving out. Fees were paid some time ago, but Borderlink "didn't have any record of it." They were leaving the country, so BL witheld all that money as well. Finding a place on your own will save you money and woe. A few more ALTs suddenly quiting without notice should help the B.O.E.s to realize there is something better.
New hires receive considerably less than those who have stayed on, but "please don't discuss it with them."

Yup. Sounds about correct.

Also, the Japanese staff are really really really incompetent. You get the feeling that the only reason they're working there is because no place else will hire them.

The best part I've heard this season is the fact that if an employee catches swine flu, and is forced to stay home for two weeks by their local BOE, Borderlink won't pay them for that time. I told my friend that he could probably sue because if he did catch swine flu it would be from school, and thus be a workplace issue.

Hamster
November 5th, 2009, 16:12
No one will hire them, and, they don't want to be there. Had one week when 3 office people quit. B.O.E. not overly happy when their contact person keeps changing. Have a feeling if your friend does get swine flu, Borderlink will find away around paying it. This is the company that tried to pay us on a daily rate even though the contract stated monthly salary.

ChuChuRocket!
November 5th, 2009, 16:24
Kind of figured that much.

I guess anti-borderlink peoples should spam the internets with bad things. Maybe make a borderlinksucks.com webpage. $10 is a small price to pay for publicly mocking your enemies/ ex employers.

phyleeze
February 26th, 2010, 16:33
Teach Away - Teach English Overseas - Teach Away Inc. (http://www.teachaway.com/)
This one seems good and you can teach a bunch of different places, including Japan.

I've been pretty curious about Teach Away but haven't found any info on how it is doing it in Japan. Must be new?

My friend's girlfriend worked for TeachAway in Korea and liked it, supposedly.

Jojo
February 26th, 2010, 18:02
one good thing about nonjet alt positions (interac etc) most of march i have half days or i dont go to school at all (technically standby) and still get paid...and no boe visits - so thats at least 1 week of extra vacation

cheetah1
May 21st, 2010, 05:46
Teach Away - Teach English Overseas - Teach Away Inc. (http://www.teachaway.com/)
This one seems good and you can teach a bunch of different places, including Japan.


English Program in Korea - EPIK (http://www.epik.go.kr/)
JET in Korea

I don't know if anyone is still reading this this thread, but Teach Away isn't a dispatch company. Teach Away recruits for Interac. You apply through the site and eventually, you get the Interac application.

Alicec18
May 22nd, 2010, 19:01
I don't know if anyone is still reading this this thread, but Teach Away isn't a dispatch company. Teach Away recruits for Interac. You apply through the site and eventually, you get the Interac application.

Then I'm glad that I didn't get on with them (what they told me in the e-mail was that there were no more available positions for Japan), although they did want me for EPIK, but I wanted to go to Japan so I turned down the offer.