Hard lessons in broken English

“A lot of people see the advertisements ? and think it will be like schoolroom teaching and lots of fun, but when you get here it is more like doing factory line work,” he says. “The whole teaching-English-in-Japan thing is a complete fraud and the experience can be quite bitter.”

But for anyone set on working in Japan, the Nova language school should be the last option, he says.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/hard-lessons-from-teaching-english-in-japan/2006/03/14/1142098460885.html?page=fullpage

Thinking of teaching in Japan?

Most people, when they first arrive, work at a place like Nova, probably the biggest employer of native English teachers in the world. By dint of their overseas recruiting programme, NO-VAcation (as we called it when I worked there) is the first employer for many arriving in Japan. But even this has changed. Recently, after a long struggle with the local General Union, it was forced to provide its full-time teachers with health, pension and unemployment benefits.

http://education.independent.co.uk/careers_advice/article348582.ece

Court rules English language school Nova billed student illegally

English language conversation school operator Nova Co. illegally billed a student when it refused to refund her the full price she had paid for classes she didn’t take, the Kyoto District Court ruled. Presiding Judge Mizuho Ebi ordered Nova to pay the student the 176,672 yen she had sought when suing the company.

http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/national/news/20060131p2a00m0na011000c.html

Begunto Trick-or-Treats with Berlitz in Omiya

Flash Demo at Berlitz Omiya Branch

Teachers Disciplined For Trivial Reasons

The disrequest system at Berlitz is just one example of threats to job security faced by teachers in the eikaiwa industry. HR representatives claim that a pattern of complaints concerning any particular instructor can lead to discipline, and that six to eight official disrequests over a period of two years is enough to constitute a pattern.

Given that teachers may meet hundreds of students and teach thousands of lessons over the period of a year, added to the fact that complaints can be based on anything from the teacher?s facial expression (?she didn?t smile?) to completely subjective judgements (?we weren?t a good match?), the unfairness of this standard is immediately apparent.

The union cannot allow teachers to face discipline, and potential threats to their livelihood, based on such standards. BEGUNTO will continue to fight for job security both at Berlitz, and throughout the industry.

Berlitz Tokyo Union Protests Pay Freeze

Across the Tokyo region, Berlitz language teachers are striking. Members of the Begunto Union, the Berlitz teachers’ union in the Tokyo region of Japan, are striking against management actions regarding a pay freeze and introduction of new work contracts they see as less than satisfactory.

http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?article_class=3&no=243288&rel_no=1

Nationwide Probe of 750 Language Schools

The evening edition of the Asahi Shimbun carried a story by Ari Hirayama about a nationwide probe of 750 language schools suspected of not enrolling foreign teachers in shakai hoken (employee pension and health scheme), not only on the front page but as the top story. It even beat out Saddam Hussein’s indictment. Bob Tench, president of our Nova branch, was quoted before Berlitz’s personnel chief Masanori Iwai. Nova public relations department was quoted as saying they couldn’t get ahold of the person in charge of that issue.

New Nova hours pose health risk

Bob Tench, president of the Nova Teachers’ Union, argues that Nova’s attempts to “wriggle out of its obligations” under the insurance system, could leave teachers, particularly those with families, in an dangerous position should they become ill while working for the company and have to take time off work.

“Most teachers aren’t even aware of their health options here, and they’re unaware of the risks they’re taking by not enrolling in the system,” he says.

“Comparing teachers’ work time to that of their bosses is in clear breach of the law,” says Louis Carlet, deputy general secretary of the General Workers’ Union, Tokyo South.

“The law is clear,” he says, “that to be eligible for shakai hoken, your hours must be 75 percent of a full-time person doing the same job as you. The bosses in these schools are clearly not doing the same job.”

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?fl20050531zg.htm

English schools face huge insurance probe

Bob Tench, president of the Nova Union, says that Nova’s failure to enroll its teachers while offering JMA insurance is irresponsible.

“This JMA insurance is only designed to ‘patch you up and ship you home,’ ” he says. “JMA is travel insurance and should not be used for everyday health care.

“The government and the teachers are being ripped off,” he says.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?fl20050412zg.htm

‘No sex please, you’re teachers’

According to the language school chain’s instructor contract, foreign employees are forbidden to “participate in any interaction with the clients of the employer outside the place of employment.” In theory, insist Nova instructors, they are under threat of the sack for so much as a chance encounter with any of the company’s 450,000 students.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?fl20040601zg.htm

McEnglish for the masses

“The largest eikaiwa school has a staff turnover of 70 percent a year,” says Dennis Tesolat, vice-chair of the General Union, which represents hundreds of teachers in Japan.

“They have guys whose job is it to go to the airports just to pick up new teachers. And that’s because the teachers have a grueling schedule of eight lessons a day, with a 10-minute break between each. It’s worse than a factory.”

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?fl20040224zg.htm

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