Teaching English in Japan – More of Generic

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More on the Generic Eikaiwa. Man, talk about a racket. I actually feel sorry for the kids, parents, and especially, the native (Japanese) teachers. The junior high kids know that they’re getting into a scam and it takes a real intrepid hard-core teacher to cut through their cynicism. This is one of the reasons why the classes of the older kids (14 and 15 year olds) have only one or two pupils.
The older students were “raised” on Generic and these students are great to teach. I can tell these guys know that we, the company, suck but they come to class anyway. The sad part is that these students really want to learn English and they demonstrate this by the effort they put into their studies.
On the other hand, the parents get hosed financially. It costs about US$80.00 per class which equates to about $3000.00 for the Generic package (activity books, audio tapes and sundry low-cost manufactured items). This is just as expensive as some university programs! Now the prolonged hosing occurs if the parents decide to raise their kids on Generic. After their kids hit the next grade level, the parents have to pay for a new Generic package. It seems like many of these parents are of the lower to middle rung of the economic ladder, so it’s not like the Generic fee is chump change.

Okay, now for the teachers. The Japanese (native) teachers get significantly lower pay than the expats. I was an exception though since I haven’t obtained my 4-year degree and thus my pay was on par with the native teachers.

Now for the crappy part. One of the duties for the Japanese teachers was to clean the toilets at whichever facility they worked. Since they only worked four hours a day – ALL the teachers I knew had to take part-time jobs to support themselves. One woman (they were all women) was happy to have found a waitressing position through her friend’s restaurant!

But you know, I have to give kudos to the native teachers. Many of them actually spoke fairly good English and I haven’t met a single one that isn’t dedicated to our students. I believe that the lack of dedication from some of the expat teachers is one reason why many of the Japanese teachers do not like the expat a.k.a. gaijin teachers professionally. I have to admit that although many of the expats are slackers or just straight up jackasses, we cashed out much better than the native teachers.

Oh well, more later!

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