DONT WORK AT SEIHA -- YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
Don`t work at Seiha - You have been warned!
This is about Seiha,
(who also own and operate Hilltop and Rabby School)
what you can expect if you choose to work here.
Common Acronyms in this piece:
FT - Foreign Teacher (you)
FTs = Foreign Teachers
JT = Japanese Teacher (Japanese National)
JTs = Japanese Teachers
I just wanted to take a moment to educate (warn) anyone considering working for any of the above companies just to be careful.
Now its true that no job is perfect, it`s also true that there are some jobs that a better than others.
Some jobs are accommodating and flexible to their employees even when conditions aren't the best and others, like Seiha,
make the job worse than it really needs to be.
They may promise or advertise:
- 250,000 yen a month for (F/T) Full-Time after 2 initial (P/T) Part-Time training months.
- Health insurance is provided by the company
- Travel no more than 30 minutes each way regularly (with the exception that once or twice a month I'd have to travel over an hour)
- 5 days a week, occasionally 6 days
- P/T 1000 yen/hour for training and campaigning, 2500yen/hour for teaching
- The first month is P/T observation/training, the 2nd month P/T teaching/training, 3rd month F/T.The reality is a different story:
- When I first started I did observation for only a week, the next week I started teaching.
They threw me to the wolves so to speak.
So the training is almost nonexistent.
The Japanese Teachers (JT or JTs) always complain about the lack of training the Foreign Teachers (FT or FTs) receive.
The JTs have given up complaining to management's deaf ears.
Seiha always seem to be short of FTs, because FTs are always quitting soon after they start, or not renewing their contract.
- After my so-called `training` months, it came time to sign the Full Time contract (which was supposed to be a salary of 250,000),
during the signing, they made up some 'excuse' as to why I didn't qualify and offered me 220,000,
so basically they screwed me out of 30,000 yen a month.
They claimed, `I wasn't up to par`...
What !!! not a word was said about my teaching ability beforehand ,
and besides that, HELLO, if they had trained me properly maybe I could have been `up to par.`
I have since learned this is a common trick that they do to all the Foreign Teachers (FT),
they lure them in with the the promise of 250,000, and quickly throw them into a class and claim they are not up to par as the reason to not pay a full salary.
- I also find out after 2 months that health insurance isn't 100% `provided` for.
Provided for -- what does that actually mean?
People, its not like back home where the company pays 100%. So expect to pay about 30,000yen a month for social insurance to the government every month.
Caveat Emptor: Now I know ( too late) that it is normal for a Japanese company to say that Health Insurance is provided, but what they really mean is that the company pays half.
Management constantly and consciously uses this kind of verbiage to effectively lie to its employees.
Also, watch out for these key non-binding words during any interview or signing: SHOULD, NORMALLY, TRY, all these words mean nothing!
These words have zero contractually binding value and when a manager uses such a word they need to be stopped and immediately be challenged and get that in writing what they really mean.Where are we at:
So they paid me 30,000 yen less salary than agreed per month, and then I am required to pay 30,000 yen a month for insurance, so that's 60,000 yen a month less than I expected ....
that's more than I pay for rent !
-Long Long Travel Times
Although I specifically said I didn't want to travel far (no more than 30 minutes one way) when I interviewed, to which they agreed said that normal travel times are 30 minutes ( oh, a key non binding word NORMAL) . I had to travel over 2 hours one way, twice a week, and just over an hour one way regularly. So Imagine how in reality this works, get up at 6:30 am, get ready, run and wait for bus that goes to the train station, now wait for the next train going in your direction, now run and wait to catch another bus to get to your school. A lot of hurry up and waiting for trains and buses; then arrive at your school by 10am, now do the same thing when you go home. arrive at your door at 9:30pm. Be prepared for LONG days when you work for Seiha because if you cant time the train/ bus schedules just right that adds another hour to your travel time.
Also, Seiha wont reimburse for Express trains, which could cut travel by 30 minutes or more.
And get this .... Now they claim, this
is what's expected.
The only thing I expect from Seiha is to get lots of promises to get you to sign and lots of broken promises thereafter.
-Remember the 5 days a week work schedule?
I was told that most work weeks should be 5 days a week,, ( SHOULD ! ) Seiha can and does willy-nilly enforce half-day. So a 6-day a week work schedule is quite common. So imagine traveling all that way for a freakin half day !
and some locations even have the FT work Sundays.
-Also, you should be informed that you DO NOT get national holidays off.
I never even thought of asking as I thought they are mandatory by law. So if you take a NH off you'd have to make up for it another week. The only holidays you get is 4 days in the summer & 4 in the winter. Other things you should know or consider:
- How can one tell if a company is good to its employees:
You can tell how good a company is to work for when you look at employee turnaround. Seiha goes thru employees so quickly you will be a senior level teacher in a year or 2.
(if you can last that long) .
- Be prepared to work Sundays
Many locations make you work Sunday on a regular basis.
- Tiny pay raises
Pay raises (if you happen to stay there for a few years) are tiny, if they are offered at all.
- Managers are not on your side
The managers are paid bonus to keep your salary as low as possible. The managers are overworked and constantly under pressure from their Japanese boss.
Its difficult to get qualified and good people to be a manager at Seiha for the pay Seiha wants to spend, so the managers are marginal at best, incompetent at worst.
- Don't expect to learn Japanese while working at Seiha
Seiha refuses to let you speak a word of Japanese, even during downtime, (which can be up to 5 hrs a day).
They say they dont want customers hearing you speak Japanese.
Most FTs say their Japanese got worse after starting with Seiha.
- Speaking of downtime,
Yes. there are times when you dont have to do a lot, this is actually the only way the full time contract makes sense. So I hope you like hanging out at malls for hours on end. This is actually ok for for the first week, thereafter you are thinking, why did I rush for 2.5 hrs to be here at 10am when my first lesson isn't until 4pm.
- English Teachers that cant speak fluent English
They hire so many people to work as an FT that don't actually speak fluent English. For example, many Filipinos can speak some English, that doesn't mean they should be teaching English with their Filipina accented English. So, the the quality of English being taught at Seiha is OK but not excellent.
- The Japanese Teachers (JT) .
Every lesson you teach will have you, the FT, along with a Japanese national, a JT. Some of the JTs can barely speak English and have difficulty stringing a few sentences in a row. But Seiha literally has to take any Japanese teacher that applies as the pay is so low. Others JTs English ability is OK and a few (not many) can speak better English than the Filipinas they hire as an FT.
Many JTs are frustrated with the fact that they pay a Filipina so much more than they make.
JTs pay is so low that there is a constant stream of new JTs every few years, and they keep trying to suck more and more out of the teachers without a raise or a bonus.
Some JTs are very easy to get along with, others extremely difficult. Many FTs have quit because the JT they worked with was such a pain in the rear, with nonstop criticism.
Some JTs believe it is not there job to train an FT (rightfully so actually) so some wont even offer advice or help. Other will try to help.
What kind of JT you will be paired with is a crap shoot.
So the reality with SEIHA / Rabby / Hilltop is:
Many 6-day work weeks, sometimes even 7 days.
220,000 yen pay, (some are even offered and paid less than this)
Up to 5 hour travel time total both ways,
No paid national holidays.
No learning or speaking Japanese on your downtime.
Possible major difficulty with JT.
I would've NEVER taken the job had I had full info.
But of course they didn`t fully disclose the details otherwise who in their right mind would sign.
So you have been warned, if you ever see a SEIHA / Rabby / or Hilltop ad hiring,
just ignore it and avoid this horrible nightmare of a company at all cost.
If you do take the job, dont expect to be happy. No one working there is ! Not even the managers !