A Large Chain of English Schools in Japan

ECC Foreign Language Institute

Pictured: Nabe party in Japan by Devanshe Chauhan

One of my former employers. They are probably the best large school chain in Japan.


Kanto District Head Office: 5th Floor, San Yamate Building, 7-11-10 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023

Tel: 3-5330-1585

Email: Email them!

Their Employment Site for Japan:

They have 500 schools throughout Japan.

Salary: 252,000 Per month (This is far less than I made as a first year teacher in 1990). But that is the same across the board. Salaries have dropped in Japan the last 20 years for many kinds of work.

Compulsory: 2 Week Training Course. This was very helpful!

One year contracts, though shorter periods possible.

Assistance with accommodation.

29.5 hours per week

(This is a lot more than I had to work! When I was there it was just 20 hours per week for 276,000 Yen!)

On This School

As said, I worked for them myself and so have some friends. It could be a pretty cold place to work at and they don`t seem to like teachers staying longer than a few years. That is my impression based on the stories of good friends and my experience of working there.

What I really mean is Head Office like many head offices could be cold. If you had a good manager and good colleagues though, teaching here could be a lot of fun, and often was for me.

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And did we mention the reasonable price?

Romantic Fuji Views near Hot Spring

Minamiashigara-shi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan
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Head Office will sometimes try to push their way if they can so you need to be aware of that. When I quit I wanted to stick to the contract, which at the time stated we had to give two months notice. My boss wanted to end it earlier and I had to repeat what the contract stated to which he angrily retorted:

"I know what the contract says!"

I felt like saying, why are you trying to cheat me then?

I stayed calm and just repeated that I wanted to stick to two months notice before I finally finished working at ECC. (I needed time to get my own school going). So if you get into an argument with ECC head office, just know what the contract states, know what the rules are and what your rights are, and stick to your guns. Don`t be bullied by anyone there. This happened only once to me, and when I was quitting.

For the most part though, for a large school, it is a great place to teach. All four of the ECC managers and assistant managers I worked for were fine to great. The staff too for the most part was fine or even great. The students are enthusiastic--they have paid a lot of money to study there.

Teaching at this large chain is much easier than university teaching in Japan, where the students can be unmotivated and spoiled to some extent. Their parents have paid a lot of money but the students sometimes don`t care to study English.

If you intend to work for an English school, it is probably a good idea to eventually find a small school or small chain that cares more about its teachers than the larger companies.

The big school chains are a good place to start however, and often the only schools that will hire you at first.

Perhaps it is fair to say, that many small school prefer teachers with previous experience, teaching in Japan. Some don`t, but many do.

Some Comments About This Large Chain from the Greenlist of English Schools in Japan

::Ernie:: said...

sorry i stumbled across your blog and wanted to leave a note. i currently work at ecc. it's not like that at all.. it's pretty cool... the staff are great and so are personnel, i'd actually recommend them...

Blogger greatpowers said...

Ernie thanks for your comment.

I think the staff are often pretty cool at ECC, it is dealing with head office that was always tough.

I think ECC isn`t a bad school to start with if you can`t get a job with a good small school, and you are a young teacher just starting out.

For some working at a large school is the only job they can get.

However, a friend of mine approaching 40 felt that ECC didn`t want you to stay around for a long time.

Once he had worked for ECC for about ten years, the classes he was offered started to get worse. He was never fired but it was obvious to him that they wanted younger teachers. He was no longer young at that point.

When some of the younger, inexperienced teachers proudly told him they were now teaching some of his favourite classes, he felt the writing was on the wall, and it was time to move on. It was obvious he wasn`t wanted.

ECC isn`t unique in this respect. There are some other schools that also feel this way, as well as school districts that tend to opt for younger, prettier, slimmer teachers.

When I asked for time off for my honeymoon (three days) they gave me a hard time about it. They grudgingly gave it to me, but I knew then it was time to get out and start my own school.

I think ECC trains you well, and was a good start for me. But I could never see myself teaching there for more than a few years.

There wasn`t enough freedom at that time to teach. They told you which textbooks to use and how to use them.

I imagine this hasn`t changed. For some teachers they need that kind of guidance.

For me however, I prefer to let my creativity guide me, and I allow the teachers at KES to choose their own teaching materials (within reason). I think by allowing teachers to teach, they are better teachers.

Probably some things have changed but at that time 20 years ago now, they had cameras in each classroom and you could be filmed at all times.

It was a little too Orwellian. I got used to it and used to joke to the cameras.

Note: I don`t think ECC has the cameras now.

At the Greenlist we only list the top schools in Japan, so I don`t feel ECC is a terrible place to teach, especially for those teachers just starting out. It isn`t one of the top choices though.

For some great schools check out David English House in Hiroshima, or David Lisgo`s school in Kyushu, or any of the other schools listed here.

Blogger Chris said...

For who's benefit is this list supposed to be? Teachers? It must be I think, since the big schools and the way they treat their students like commodities has come back to bite them on the ass now.

Maybe in the future you could profile smaller schools as they seem to be the future of the business model.


Blogger greatpowers said...

Yes this list is for teachers. There are many small schools profiled here, and they tend to treat their employees better than the large chains.

There are exceptions but in general that is true.


Blogger greatpowers said...

I notice that their staff are not ranked in the top 5 at Oricon, yet their textbooks are, (at time of writing).

A Complaint about ECC:

Some older teachers felt they were pushed out of ECC due to their age (turning 40). One good friend suddenly found that his favourite business classes were being given to inexperienced teachers in their 20s. And he suddenly started to receive classes that he had specifically asked not to be given. So after ten years of dedicated service, he felt forced out and quit. He ultimately left Japan due to the problem of age discrimination.

Have you or a friend taught for ECC?

Do you know what it is like to teach at ECC? Share your story!

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