Friday, September 21, 2012

Will Miss #489 - ETC

During a large part of my time in Japan, I worked both as a freelance private tutor and in a Japanese office. To get private students, I worked with a referral company called ETC (English Telephone Club). There are many untrustworthy employers who cheat or change conditions on foreign employees or referral agencies that you sign up with that end up being a complete waste of time, but ETC is neither of these. They always dealt with me honestly, paid me in a timely fashion, and communicated with me as well as possible. They connect people who want to teach in their homes with students who would like this sort of instruction and ETC provided me with relatively abundant numbers of students. I can say they also never asked me to give freebies as some companies do.

Before I left Japan, I was getting 15 students a week from them and it was harder than anything saying goodbye to those people who came to my home every week, sat down for a cup of coffee or tea, shared my private space for talk of their lives and worked toward their language learning goals. It was the most enriching teaching that I did in Japan. When I told the people at ETC's office that I was having a tumor removed, they offered to drive me to and from the hospital for my surgery. When I left Japan, they sent me a huge bouquet of flowers, and the people at the office had never even met me face to face! They were completely delightful and kind and dealing with them exemplified the best of the best in Japan. They were an example of the positive face of Japan that foreigners imagine.

I absolutely miss the lovely relationship I had with ETC and their patient, polite, courteous, gentle, and professional assistance in referring students to me.