Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Won't Miss #258 - language schools (the bad)

An ad for "Geos" language school (eikaiwa) using Disney's "Shrek". Even though the school went out of business, these posters are still up all over Tokyo. Given the cash they must have invested to use these images, it's no wonder the company went down the drain.

One of the things that foreigners learn rather quickly after being engaged at a language school is that the experience is not what they might expect. More often than not, the teaching materials are lacking, training is inadequate to prepare you for the job ahead, and you are lied to about the conditions of your employment. The bulk of the lies relate to working hours. You're often expected to prep on your own time, for example, or teach on your day off without extra pay. If you insist on following the terms of your contract by, oh, say, leaving on time at the end of the day, you are looked at askance by the Japanese employees and seen as a lazy worker. If you continue to insist on keeping the hours as they were outlined to you, you may find yourself treated coldly.

I won't miss the way in which language schools bait and switch the working conditions on employees and therefore can never be trusted.