Saturday, November 23, 2013

English Teaching Jobs in Hokkaido

I subscribe to a service that emails announcements about English teaching jobs in Hokkaido, and sometimes other types of jobs, to its subscribers.  This is how I found the job at the children’s English school where I work part-time. Recently there was an announcement for an English teacher in a high school and it specified only Australians from the Gold Coast could apply.  Another was for a tenure track professor at a university.  Applicants had to be under 40 years old and have earned a Ph.D. within the last ten years. Not all of the job announcements are so restrictive.

About two weeks ago, I saw an announcement looking for native speakers to work with adults.  I emailed a letter and resume and was contacted within just a few hours, asking me to come for an interview the following evening, which I did.  Shortly after I arrived at the school and started talking with the owner, a student came to the door.  The school owner had forgotten he had a class at the same time I was to be interviewed! After I had traveled an hour and a half by bus and subway (and had that distance to return), I was asked to come back two nights later to observe a class.  In the short amount of time that I did talk with him, he told me he never gets women as teachers, only men have applied.  He also told me how much he pays his teachers, which is very low.  He said he couldn’t pay more because many of his students come from a Group-on type promotion for four very low cost trial lessons. I specifically asked if I should prepare anything for the class two nights later and he said no.
 
So, two nights later, I returned to observe him teaching a class and found out he would be teaching a children’s class in one room, and I would be teaching a single adult in another room. I was able to pull a lesson out of my head with the help of some materials in my bag from another class.  I was surprised that not only was I not observing a class, he was not even observing what I could do. I chalked it up to his disorganization, but was still interested in the teaching job with adult students.  He said he would put together a contract and email it to me and thought he had several classes a week for me to teach. He also told me the trial teaching period would pay 75% of what I considered an already low hourly wage. I went home, thinking I’ll wait to see what the contract says, but I didn’t have a good feeling.
 
I never did receive a contract, but over the next week, every couple of days he requested different documentation and contact information for my references (he hasn’t contacted them yet).  This added to my uneasiness.  I thought he should know what he needs and ask for it all at once.  Thursday, he emailed me four times in about 20 minutes and it was feeling creepier and creepier, the last one about being grabbed by immigration and being deported.  As much as I want a job teaching adults, I had to email him back and say I would no longer be pursuing employment with his school.  I have had very few “creepy feelings” since moving to Japan and they have all been with foreigners, not Japanese persons.
 
I will continue to watch the job announcements for another teaching position with adult students.

4 comments:

  1. I am relieved your instincts told you to stay clear of that job. Wait until you can get a job you find yourself comfortable with and people you can trust.

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  2. Goodness gracious. I thought such schemes and deviousness were not present in Japan. Obviously I am naïve and your were right to trust your instincts. Good luck with finding a more suitable position.

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  3. Wow, what an experience. Good thing you moved on. There are creepy "foreigners" everywhere. I'm crossing my fingers that something much better will present itself for you.

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  4. Wow, what a crazy experience! Glad you stayed safe. I'm crossing my fingers something better presents itself.

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