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Thread: JET Alternatives that are just like JET [eg. Interac, etc.]

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    Site Owner curtaineater's Avatar
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    Default JET Alternatives that are just like JET (eg. Interac, etc.)

    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?
    always a JETsmaid, never a JET.

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    Senior Member reed's Avatar
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    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
    Last edited by reed; January 30th, 2009 at 14:02.

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    Site Owner curtaineater's Avatar
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    Default Re: JET Alternatives that are just like JET (eg. Interac, etc.)

    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!
    always a JETsmaid, never a JET.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by reed View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by reed View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by reed View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Wakatta; January 30th, 2009 at 19:52.

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    Senior Member jeshipiyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by curtaineater View Post
    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.

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    Senior Member jeshipiyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: JET Alternatives that are just like JET (eg. Interac, etc.)

    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.

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    Default Re: JET Alternatives that are just like JET (eg. Interac, etc.)

    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.

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    VIP UPGRAYEDD's Avatar
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    Default Re: JET Alternatives that are just like JET (eg. Interac, etc.)

    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...
    You see, gentlemen, a pimp's love is very different from a square's...
    (郷に入っては郷に従え.)

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    Site Owner curtaineater's Avatar
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    Default Re: JET Alternatives that are just like JET (eg. Interac, etc.)

    That is so weird. Who would do that!?
    always a JETsmaid, never a JET.

  10. #10
    VIP UPGRAYEDD's Avatar
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    Default Re: JET Alternatives that are just like JET (eg. Interac, etc.)

    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.
    You see, gentlemen, a pimp's love is very different from a square's...
    (郷に入っては郷に従え.)

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    ITIL's Favorite Beaner! Gusuke's Avatar
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    Default Re: JET Alternatives that are just like JET (eg. Interac, etc.)

    From my one experience meeting one, dispatch company representatives have the enthusiasm of the Hitler Youth for being genki and for being dipshits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reed View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Andrew101; April 9th, 2009 at 16:07. Reason: added details

  13. #13
    FiercestCalm
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    Default Re: JET Alternatives that are just like JET (eg. Interac, etc.)

    Yes, Interac lets you go home during holidays... but they also pay you severely reduced pay. So it's something to think about.

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    Senior Member alanna's Avatar
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    Default Re: JET Alternatives that are just like JET (eg. Interac, etc.)

    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-j...-in-japan.html

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

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    Senior Member Petesmp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UPGRAYEDD View Post
    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.
    Genki?

  16. #16

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    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.

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    NEKO FEVER! ChuChuRocket!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanna View Post
    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

    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.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeshipiyo View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Hamster; October 30th, 2009 at 19:00.

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    ITIL's Favorite Beaner! Gusuke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamster View Post
    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.

  20. #20
    NEKO FEVER! ChuChuRocket!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamster View Post
    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.

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