Congratulations to the founders who built the business from a small room in Nagoya with the idea "Gaijinpot" over 15 years ago. From teaching English full time, to going part time, to then running Gaijinpot full time and moving to Tokyo and building the business out further, it is a great start up in Japan story.
A well deserved congratulations to the two partners from me and likely from a lot of the Japantoday community. It would be great to see more stories like this going forward.
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You can add the absurd large glasses without lenses that have even in fashion with young women in Japan. Silliest thing I have ever seen. I've heard it is to "cover" their cuteness, but it looks rediculous.
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Like I somewhat sarcastically told my wife. If you put the seat up every time for me when you finish using the bathroom then I will leave the seat down for you. The whole argument is crazy on the seat thing. Men have to put up the seat every time we go into use the bathroom and the women have to put it down. We both have to do it. Just accept it and get over it. It is natural. Why do men have to put it down? Why should women put it up for us? Does not make sense.
The missing the bowl thing... got no answer for that other than maybe he's a bad shot?
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As a single guy "back in the day" I was guaranteed to be asked 3 questions within about 3 minutes of meeting a woman here in Japan.
(with translation..)Where are you from? = You from a nice place I would like to go to someday... What do you do? = How much money do you make. Where do you live? = How much money do you make.
My wife never asked me these questions... and today she is my wife = ). Keep it easy ladies. Get to know the person, don't be in such a rush.
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KobeGrandad, not sure what you are stating or asking to be honest. It is unclear in relation to the contents of the article.
jforce, Agreed there are many good teachers, and yes there are some cheap owners. To be honest most small school owners (which is who this article is targeted to) do not fit your description. I would say that many are just trying to survive as a small school and small business owner. Many former "good teachers" especially foreign teachers who are now small school owners would like to own their own school not just for an income, but to create an asset that is transferable to a new highly motivated teacher owner who is looking for independence and benefit from their hard work and dedication. As for the employee aspect of running a business, this article was not focused on that part of the business as I am asked to keep the text length between 1000-1500 words (any longer and people scan and don't read). I have written other articles that touch on teachers a lot more. Please feel free to read through those. I 100% agree that if you are only looking for profit you will end up dissatisfied with the whole experience.
Kurisupisu: Could not agree more with you. Student retention has always been the golden chalice to success.
Ari94: Thank you. Again as written above, I have written articles on employees in the language school industry. This particular article was requested on this specific topic by owners of small schools who are looking for advice and perspective on how to sell their small schools.
AmericanForeigner: I have no answer for that to be honest. You either love teaching or you don't. Some teachers want to take it as far as owning their own schools so that they set their own standards, work for themselves, and even make a good living doing it. For me it is a few things all coming together. I really do love teaching and studying languages myself (I have degree in Japanese). I also have a lot of passion for business, leadership, and organization. Running a school business in Japan is a chance to just maybe (without sounding arrogant) have a chance to have a positive impact on an industry that desperately needs it, have a positive impact on other foreigners and Japanese lives, while doing a bunch of things I personally love to do.
Thank you all for your commentary be it good or bad, and for taking the time to read the article.
Cheers, Dean R. Rogers
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The Tokyo expo has nearly 100 presentations an a large variety of topics. It is a great event that is not just "shopping for materials" which is a small part of the event.
Come find out for yourself and enjoy some time with people who are really passionate and knowledgeable about teaching, and operating schools.
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incredibly stupid question. yes.
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Zenny11: A common expression in business that backs what you are saying is "The little things are the biggest" When you can do the little things really well, the big things are done easily and without difficulty. I find that true running a services business myself. The little things are HUGE for our customers, and to be quite honest for our employees as well. Junnama: What is the name of the community! This sounds like a great idea for JT to run a site in English within JT for restaurant reviews. I'll suggest it at the next board meeting = ).. Junnama: I am required to try to write the article in less than 1000 words. It is not laziness, I am just limited in space and the number of words I can use and thus the number of examples I can use while trying to effectively communicate the topic being discussed. To be honest if you make it much longer people start scanning and missing the points that you are trying to make(there are a number of comments in this chain that this is quite apparent). By the way, this was a 1500 word article.
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irishosaru: Now that is quite unfair. I am a huge fan of Japan (I don't have to live here, I choose to because it is a fantastic place to call home), and if you read the article and my responses that is pretty clear to anyone who read the whole thing. This is true to the degree that I have a home here, and several businesses here. Zenny11: Harsh, but pretty accurate. I would add that a good friend of mine (CEO and well published Japanese author) says it like this "the people you hire at a lot of service businesses have to be trained until they cry. The reason is he states is that they are mostly lazy kids with little ambition, often barely graduating from high school, and if you don't snap them and reshape them, your business will go into the toilet". His point is that this is the best they can do with the "material and level of education" of the people that they hire. I disagree a bit with this in that a great culture, with great leaders can inspire ordinary people to be extraordinary. It is not easy, but it is absolutely worth the effort. Overall not a bad summary though from you in my opinion.
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There were some good follow up comments. Thanks everyone it has been a good topic that I think most everyone enjoyed reading and commenting on.
Nessie: Funny athiest comment. I would have to agree if I lived in Hokkaido. Simonfox: I am also a big fan of Subway. Simple, easy, healthy and no problem about exceptions, or customization. Antonios: As stated earlier. In general I absolutely love the service in Japan, but can't help wishing for that little bit of flexibility that would truly make it great. This applies to just about every service industry here, not just restaurants. Klein2: I don't see to many rants by Japanese customers (sober ones at least). Drunk ones yes. - And your welcome for the rebutting Klein. Nice hearing the periodic appreciative word = ). bcbrownboy: Your welcome on the rejoiners. I love the food in this country. They do process and perfection like nowhere else in my opinion which translates into some of the best food in the world (any kinds, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, you name it). Limboinjapan: I am a non smoker so Starbucks is just about the only place where NO smoking is allowed ALWAYS. Nothing against smokers, I just want to enjoy my coffee and conversation free of smoke and the Excelsiors and Doutors in my area all have smoking. knews: Thanks for the commentary. stipend: I actually love the fact that you don't have to tip here in Japan. The US for example these days is terrible when it comes to tipping. You have to tip good just to get ANY service much less good service.. nigelboy: Completely agree with you here. My argument is not that Japan has bad service, but that things could be done so much better in one small area and then be truly amazing. But in general I agree, I prefer and do appreciate the professionalism even with its short fallings. Senki: Keigo never bothers me = ), and to be honest it is quite fun to use.
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Thanks to everyone for all of your comments. Good to see.
I always try to respond to a chunk of the comments, so here we go (beginning from most the most recent post progressing back). I won't get back to everyone, but do want to say I read everyone's posts, and appreciate them all in favor or not.
On a side note: I will be doing some presentations at the ETJ expo's in Tokyo and Osaka. Tokyo is on the 6th and 7th of November and is free to join.
Junnama: I rarely if ever ask for exceptions, and when I do I try to be reasonable in my expectations. I think the frustration you see at times with people here is due to the fact that things that could easily be done and are not. m5c32: I only ask for the rare and occasional exception, as do most of the people I know. Not always.. = ). Ice, awa, things within reason, and I don’t do it very often to be honest, but it does not stop it from being frustrating. Frank7446: Having traveled to over 50 countries and lived abroad near half of my life, I am reasonably global. I still can’t help by hope that requests within reason as a paying customer can and would be at least considered if not fulfilled.
Shawnth: Having worked for several Gaishike and been a CEO for nearly a decade in Japan I have eaten at a pretty broad range of restaurants both high end to low end. The experience is better at high end restaurants but not as good as you might think in terms of flexibility. I would agree with everyone about Saizeriya, and your local mom and pop for flexibility they are outstanding, but don't get Japan into the international arena. Zenny: Generally speaking as said in my article I still prefer the Japanese service over that of the west. It is the last 10% and lack of flexibility in the big chains that hold Japan back internationally speaking. At least that is my view. That is why JT is so great. So many people can share and debate their views here. TheRat: Good to see you back, and glad to see you have not lost your humor = ). Mummet: Good to see someone understands that McDonalds was an example only. I happen to have a degree in Japanese, and have lived in Japan for 10 years, so I am quite sure of my ability to communicate clearly and politely a reasonable request. I never make a fuss, just move on, but it does not stop me from being frustrated.
Thetruthhurts: I do enjoy wine, but prefer beer. - ) Gyouza: I eat everywhere, and I have no expectation of anything free. I always offer to pay. My point was that even when I am happily willing to pay, way too often we just hear no when it would be easy and simple to allow the customer to pay for what he or she wants that is slightly different than what is preset. We are not talking HUGE differences here. Simple, small and reasonable. If you think a beer that is 40%-50% foam and pay $10 for it is ok, then no problem. Limboinjapan: Good to see you back. Have had the same experience (milk tea and coffee) Majimekun: I speak 1st level Japanese, have been on live tv here quite a few times etc.. I speak very good Japanese (without trying to sound arrogant, just a fact). Language is not the problem (though it may be with some). I honestly do try to be honest and smile when I ask for anything off menu (hoping it will help…) once in a while it does and believe me it is well appreciated. Bcbrownboy: Can’t say I disagree with your logic. Professional is good. America just has a much bigger range of service from MUCH MUCH worse, to top of the charts. Japan does solidly good service very well, but has difficulty adapting to individuals(the overall point of the article). Tahoochi: Right on the money. Good post. Stevepfc: you’re a lucky guy. UsagitoSaru: Agree. Bdiego: On the beer comment. Not trying to get more for my money, just trying to get a beer, not a glass of foam. You serve a Kirin City beer in a pub just about anywhere in the rest of the world and then tell the customer NO we can’t reduce the foam you will loose the customer (in a UK pub, you might get it back in your face especially on a footy night)… ie the point of the article is inflexibility of this nature outside of Japan does not fly. Thank you for your perspective though. Stipend: yup. Aska: I always try to pay for extras. I don’t expect anything “extra” for free. I will say I am not happy about paying for 6oz of beer with 6oz of foam at a high rate though. Mc Donald’s used to allow you to pay 20 yen for a packet they just stopped it a few years back. You may get it at a few places, but most don’t. What gets to me is when I am happy to pay for a small change and then inflexibility on the service side just says no when it would not be an inconvenience, and I am willing to pay way over the value. Gonemad: I would agree that there are many factors beyond the flexibility and yes the education system might be contributing to this. Klein2: Good to see you back as well = ). Agree in general with the low margins. I agree Japanese service is tops (in 80-90%). Gotta agree that American and Western servers can definitely overdo it (Got a good laugh while reading your bit there). limboinJapan: No question local is the best. But local does not go international, chains do. Even Mcd’s manages to Japanize their service here into the realm of inflexibility when you just don’t encounter it as much (caveat there..) as in the rest of the world. Usaexpat: I agree. I love the country and almost all of the service here. Call me wishful in that I think it can be even better, and hope it does.
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This would be fantastic if it ever went mainstream. I can relate to lovejapan21's comment. In college I drove off the road countless times in my 2 hour drive home from University late at night from pure exhaustion. I can't even begin to count the number of times I should have ending up a blob on the side of the 101 freeway.
Keep it up Google. You have to love a company that has the financial means and the will to step outside of the norm and their core business and try to develop something that can hopefully save lives and improve the quality of life of people around the world.
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Thanks everyone again for all of the great comments. I am on the road traveling all this week and will get back to the comments piled up above later next week.
WANNA MEET UP? For those who would like to join me at the first Gaijinpot event of its kind. The "First Keg is Free" party at Hobgoblin in Roppongi on Thursday the 25th of Feb at 7pm, I will be there.
FROM THE HORSES MOUTH.... For those of you who join, you can fire all the questions you want at me personally. I will be there from 7-10pm having a drink with other teachers , and non teachers in attendance. There are a lot of things happening in the industry now referred to above, so there should be some great conversation.
Some of our staff and teachers will be there as well, so you can ask them yourselves what the benefits/or not.. of working at DMA are.
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Change the image of the industry: This is why I am here putting my neck out on the line. I agree 110% with your thoughts here. Substantial efforts: Agree. Community: Agree - we do this through charity work ongoing. We do not advertise it anywhere in our brochures etc.. but even a percentage of the ad revenue from articles on JT here are going to our company charity. Better left unspoken and just done because it is the righ thing to do. Basically I agree with everything you said. Thank you for the wonderful post. sharpie: Name represents the tone of the comment. Change happens but not always at the speed at which we all hope. I am starting with our company first and letting that speak for itself. I am sorry that your experience in this industry so far, has so obviously been a raw one. yabusama: Welcome back. Agreed with your comments whole heartedly. colorfullife: 200,000 was for a 4 lesson in the evening 4x weekdays, and 1 weekend full day 8 lessons. Part time job at DMA not a full time job and the pay is quite decent for the hours worked. As the business grows and we raise prices our teacher salaries continue to rise. We had 1300 applicants for the job by the way, and none of the people we have hired have left. Some have come on full time at a different pay structure. This was an entry level position, which had some overqualified people accept the jobs. geronimono2006: There is a huge movement right now behind David Paul which I am involved in where all of the small schools are joining together to form a standards association. There are hundreds of small schools paying to join the association. These are small schools with hard working and caring owners. We all are not interested in joining the current "kyokai" due to the fact that most believe the major companies that are members will not be around for too much longer". Why join something that just stains your name? To be honest to have the Japanese government regulate English Teaching quality is a scary concept. If they hired a council of both foreign senior instructors and Japanese respected professors to govern this "association" then absolutely 100% in support of the concept. Have any of you been in to a government office lately and had a good "customer experience"? movingtokyo: ouch, and not unjustified. inTheKnow: ouch again. It is never easy to write when your audience is full of teachers. Again not unjustified, nor is your commentary unfair. No you are not asking too much.
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pointofview: Point well taken, and yes I incorrectly use Gaijin, when I should be saying "Gaikokujin" as a foreigner myself. I will change this in future articles as it is a valid correction. At the end of last year a large chunk of our teachers became "employees" not contract employees. For the contract part time employees yes we still do 1 year contracts, which I do not think is out of line with being part time. pathat: Most language learning can be done at home for those who have the discipline and ability to do so. I do think that working with an instructor within a method allow for guidance and feedback that is difficult to get working alone. The system is built around pronunciation, no "kaiwa" per say. To be honest as a new student of Chinese, I wish there were a Hummingbird Program for Chinese pronunciation. There are many Japanese who are high level speakers who have a low level of Native fluency ( in terms of how they sound ). Hummingbird is quite effective in its ability to help those people break through some of their pronunciation mistakes. betting: It all depends on the "gaikokujin" and their respective understanding of the language and its nuances. Some can speak amazing Japanese. THanks for the "pretty good article" comment. NambanOnigiri: Ouch. The article is about managing foreigners and some of the issues that plague foreigners working with Japanese management. bamboohat: Point taken. "Eikaiwa in on of them". Love to get corrected on my English "in closing" then see the same commentor make spelling mistakes. = ). You are correct though in saying my "in closing" was premature. I disagree with the McDonalds argument. If that works for you, then that is fine. Limboinjapan: Things do change, but they take a voice of change, and an industry the size of the language school industry will not change overnight. I teach about 600-800 lessons myself per year. How many CEO's in this industry do you know that do that? Change starts with getting involved and caring. The wiping clean of the establish standards I would say is already well underway. Don't expect overnight changes, but bit by bit. Pay and salary have not been avoided, but I have tried to focus on the issues not "us" as much as possible. tkoind2: Become customer centric: Agreed. For us that starts with our people wanting to deliver the best customer service. That is a pipe dream if the people who actually deliver your service are treated poorly and go unrecognized. 2 kinds of teachers: Very much agree. Inclusion: Agreed. Salary: 250,000. Agreed. As a starting young person coming to Japan this is a reasonable start. From there, if the company provides opportunities the salary should be reflective of higher performance and added responsibility.
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Thanks to everyone who contributed constructive commentary. TheRat: Thanks for the good ideas comment. I am less trying to focus on the ideas, and more on the current situation of the industry as a whole, and the management of "gaikokujin". Pay is relatively poor for highly experienced, highly qualified teachers as a pure teacher. To this I would largely agree. For senior instructors, and managers the pay increases, as does the responsibility. sk4ek: Ouch. Shufu: I have tried not to refer to NOVA too much, but to be honest it is hard to avoid. The management ie.. Shacho etc.. and the environment and business philosophy. If you read more carefully you will see that I do NOT believe that foreigners are either lazy, or have poor work ethic, but that the management styles have created work environments that do not foster hard work ethic.
JmannGod: Glad you enjoyed it. Idiots: Not everyone came here for a girl. Not all foreigners lack fluency in Japanese. I think you might be surprised if you came around our schools how many near fluent, or fluent foreigners work in our schools. Not everyone of course. Nearly all of our foreign staff and teachers are studying. We provide Japanese lessons to our teachers by the way.
Tokyochris: Agreed on the salary post. Eikaiwa is more of an entry level position for most teachers getting started. They gain experience and qualifications, and some take on more managerial roles as they grow with the company. As solely a teacher the pay will never be unbelievably great given the current state of the economy and the industry. On the other hand, University pay is (not always) usually higher as a "teacher", but your ability to move up into a managerial position (and higher pay) or a more senior position is almost zero. bisoy: Yes and no. It is hard to pay top dollar as a small school and small business. Low pay vs high pay is a matter of perspective, but minimum in the language school industry is roughly around 250,000 yen in Tokyo. Our pay base pay has increase just about every year for starting teachers. People who have been with us for a year or two have seen their incomes and opportunities increase. Thepro: Pay goes up as the business can afford it. I agree with your general idea. But just paying people more does not insure the best people, but sure can increase the odds you will get more candidates. sk4ek: Agreed. Badsey: Very much agree. If you don't already then you should be studying if at all possible. We do look for people who either speak Japanese at a decent level, or are studying it. It is not a requirement, as we have some really great teachers who can't speak a lick of Japanese. = ).
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rburgundy, If you call our office (check our company website), leave your name, number, or email I will get back to you. I am happy to share industry info etc with you directly beyond what I will be publishing in the coming weeks and months. What is the project? A book? Starting a language school? Currently running your own?
Happy to Help. Dean
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Several people have emailed me saying that the link to the METI data was deactivated when the article was uploaded. Sorry about that. Here is the direct link:
Included on this excel sheet are the current sales, employment data and customer numbers for the Language School industry: From METI
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Sctaber56 – In my personal case as addressed earlier, I have a degree in Japanese and studied in the linguistics dept for 4 years at UCLA. It’s a pretty darn good program. I hope I picked up a thing or two there… On the job… yes I have taught “a few…” lessons. ^ - ^. 5k plus and counting.
Kanadamanada – was pleasantly surprised to see a former Hummingbird teacher on here. Welcome. Hummingbird was in really dire circumstances when we bought the rights. The parent company did right by the customers and the employees and unlike many other companies in this industry paid out their employees and refunded students money. So, they may have had weak management but they did follow through with their employees and students from this standpoint. Hummingbird was our most profitable division last year. For the employees who have come over to the business with us it was a pretty huge year. The business lost money for 8 years straight to the ire of the former company and they (the teachers) knew it the whole time. They can and should be proud of their achievement in 2010. We have most definitely changed a lot about how the business was run and the model itself. It is a great program that was run by teachers without considering that you have to DO BOTH WELL, teach well and run a business well. We hope we are doing that now and that it is reflected in the results of the business. Ogino-sensei is doing a great job heading up the day to day for us now. I welcome you to come over and visit the Shinjuku team and see the school.
Yabusama – He is referring to before. I am familiar with what he is referring to. Different management, and different times now.
Ashika1009 – Agreed, Agreed, Agreed……… Right on the money just about through your whole “article..”. Come by a DMA or SALA school and you will find that over half our teachers speak 1kyu or 2kyu Japanese. You will also find a computer in every single booth which is set up with a lot of technology most of which we have spent the last 5 years developing. Think ERP for Eikaiwa that ties everything together from learning systems, to operations, CRM, reporting, tracking, and financial. Japanese: It is not a prerequisite, but shows a dedication to Japan and to learning the language of the people you are trying to teach. Many of our meetings are conducted in Japanese as pretty much all of us are fairly comfortable in the language at a pretty high level. The ones who are not great speakers, are good teachers and almost without exception learning Japanese. We offer Japanese lessons to our foreign staff by the way for all reasons above and many of the ones stated in your “article”. Thanks for the obvious time and effort you put into your comment. In terms of TESOL, ESL etc.. I look on it as good formal education that can do nothing but benefit the teacher and shows a dedication to improving oneself in the area of teaching. Definitely not a minus.
Audreyruqburn – The same thought did cross my mind when reading a few of the comments this evening.
Yabits – It sure does not hurt does it to understand and have studied the language of the people you are teaching. Then again I am a bit biased.
Mark MaCracken – I do remember you from the interview article. Welcome back = ). We will get into some very specific stuff. One of the articles will be going into great detail and break down the exact costs and expenditures for running a language school for example. All the good stuff that is “not public”. I own 6 of them so have a few cases to work off of. Hope it sheds light and adds knowledge and transparency for people.
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Bicultural – our last hiring in July in Tokyo was less than 1% actually. We hired 5 people. It is a bit of a running joke with those guys as they all have “a number” that they can quote. Many of them applied through gaijinpot and when you apply you get told what number applicant you are. I believe our curriculum designer who was hired in this group was number nine hundred and something.
Tkoind2 – Well said, if you want to contact me through one of the schools and identify yourself I would be happy to meet and talk more. Well written.
Noborito – Good question. It was not easy. It started with me moving away from the expat life I had been living into a 25m 1rm apartment 5 minutes walk from my office, and living eating and drinking teaching and our business for the first several years. It was not easy.
Bobbafett – You obviously know us. Thanks for the well wishes.
Yabits – look forward to your constructive feedback on those upcoming articles. Glad you appreciate the content.
M5c32 – You are right. Most are not career people when they come here fresh out of college and many do not become career oriented while working at a language school, largely because there is no career opportunity being offered. You have to offer an opportunity and a vision for where the business is going and then back it up with results and opportunities before people can turn into “career people”. Don’t want to be the savior, just build a great company that does great things for great people.
Orchid64 – really interesting insight, and one I would agree with to some degree. It is a safe environment to take steps to learn to communicate with non-Japanese for some. Nicely stated and quite succinct. Yabusama – agreed. And yes we teach a lot and it does make a difference to everyone in the business from the reception to the teachers, and the students.
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Thanks to everyone who have added their comments on the forums. It is rather late, so please give a bit of flexibility on my late night prose and lack of effective spell checking.
Cracaphat – The article series is not dedicated to one particular company. I hope to provide meaning information through the article series that allows people to make more informative assessments. Also I believe JT will write on something relating to GEOS if and when something more substantial occurs that can be reported on.
Tumbledry – quite serious about it. Thank you for the well wishes.
Otakufreak – I have tried to be and continue to try to provide meaningful help and services to both our students and services. All of those efforts have not been as successful for the people that used them as we had hoped. I am not sure what the web portal service that you are talking about is as I have never owned a site named headteacher.net. We did work on an online scheduling and support service called headmaster.com for nearly 2 years that we shelved due to at that time our inability to support the service to the level that the customers needed. If this was the case with you and (not headteacher.net… which would thus not be us). I am sorry that the service was not up to your expectations. New first time offerings are not always the glowing success that you hope they will be.
Ahocchau – Thanks. The company structures and business models in depth is part of this planned series. I hope you enjoy the read in the coming weeks.
Intheknow – JT monitor addresses this in a later post, but they report on hard news wherever possible. Let’s Japan and Shawn do a great job providing open discussions and information leads, which is not necessarily right for JT. (my view at least) Quest – I took a degree in Japanese from UCLA. 4 years of studying languages and linguistics. I speak nearly fluent Japanese, and have taught over 5000 lessons here in Japan. I hope that allows me some leeway to be considered a teacher. Hep501 – Thanks for the comments. Pay has gone up every year since I bought SALA. We continue to raise salaries as the business has grown. I had a bit of a hard start with the original business that I purchased as prices were too low. Most of the price increases have gone right back into salary increases.
Therightsofman – 2nd paragraph is right on the money.
Tarento - The focus is on the business end. There is a lot of excellent writing on classroom structures, teaching styles and methods but little hard data on the business. That is the focus of this series. Hope you enjoy it.
My2sense – Vision to reality. The proof is always in the pudding as they say. We still have a fair ways to go.
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Thank you everyone who had constructive commentary on this article about our school. I figured a one time response from the horses mouth might give the commentators and readers a glimpse of who we are.
In answer to cwhite: I do not take any bonuses, commissions, or additional stock options for myself and do not intend to. As you stated the success of the business as the largest shareholder are pretty self evident.
Evalena: I do not go by Dean Morgan, I had a former partner named Morgan and yes we were quite conscious of the fact that there were well established similar names that we might be able to ride their "reputation coattails" so to speak. As a small start up you need every perceived advantage you can get. By using our own names it was meant to put a kind of personal guarantee. If the business has a bad reputation = I have a bad reputation which means I need to work hard always on all front as it carries my name. A little indirect incentive to stay humble and focus on integrity and hard work to get results.
To USakuma: Thanks for the good luck wishes. The quality of a service and an organization are what we choose to make of it.
to LOVEUSA: It is not an advertisement. I was approached by Japan Today to do this interview. To be honest I am proud of the company we have built to this point and of the people who have made it possible. This article was a way to talk to that and recognize indirectly those achievements, as well as talk about the hardships and rewards of building a new business venture which is usually pretty interesting. There are usually lots of interesting hidden stories of the early days and we are no exception.
to Supermarket80: As with many rumors there are half truths in what you are saying. The majority of teachers are on fixed contracts not freelance. Fixed teachers do have paid holidays. Full time people start out with 10 days per anum as per Japanese law of paid leave. Part timers start out at 5000 yen for transportation yes this is true. The location a person chooses to live is something we have little control over to be honest. We make adjustments to this over time if warranted mostly based on results and need. Full time employees fall into a different category. We do our best to accommodate the individuals situation when the situation warrants it. Again we are a small organization and adjust and adapt as needed but are definitely not perfect.
To Elbudamexicana: I think our teachers would chase away the Union with a crowbar. There are not that many teacher oriented companies out there like ours. People have to WANT to join the Union to make it work and feel that they are not treated right. It might be interesting to watch though ^ - ^.
USAkuma: Just a fact correction. The minimum is one full day a week, not 1 single lesson. This is about 40 or 50 lessons a month for our average manager or roughly 500-600 lessons a year. Why is it important? It keeps the managers in touch with the REAL situation. We are a teaching organization and we all MUST continue to innovate and improve and that comes from being in the classroom. To be honest it is the best part of our job anyways. Being in accounting meetings all the time is mind numbing, but nice when you are profitable. I understand your skepticism as we are in the Japanese language school industry with a VERY bad management history especially in regards to foreign employees. It is up to us to prove ourselves and our business methodology and our integrity to the teachers and the industry and that simple just takes time. We will endeavor to continue to do so.
MARK: We do have a Japanese accounting firm who does our accounting as well as an in house book keeper. All managers at this particular time ARE native speakers. And yes our managers do teach and are qualified and damn good to be honest. Your last comment hits it right on the button and is why teaching is a requirement. I talk to our team quite often about why so it is kept in the proper perspective.
In closing. We are without doubt a very imperfect organization. We don't yet have all of the benefits of some larger organizations, and still have a lot of areas we need to improve in. We do have a consistent record of increasing salaries, successful growth and of creating opportunities for foreigners and Japanese alike.
Hope that sheds some light on things. Thanks for all of the constructive comments, and you are all welcome to drop by out schools and meet me or our employees. Sorry if I did not respond to everyone. Figured this was too long already.
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