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Real Voices

Real Voices Are you being paid less over the summer and winter holidays?
I am sure that one of the first parts of a job description we read is the salary explanation. As any of us who have been looking at job sites recently will notice the worrying trend of decreasing salaries, one posting I saw a couple of weeks ago was for a full time ALT position in Tokyo and was advertised at 160,000yen per month. I wondered how many people could realistically pay rent and live a comfortable life in Tokyo with this kind of salary.One teacher I met recently was looking for a full time position in Tokyo starting when his current contract ends at the end of March. We talked about his current position and it seemed to me as if he really enjoyed his classes and was satisfied with his role in the school which in turn led me to wonder why he wanted to leave. I think he was reluctant to tell me the real reason, in interviews I guess we are not supposed to say this, but it boiled down to his salary. He is working at a school full time, Monday to Friday, yet he is only making 200,000yen per month and even this was cut during the summer and winter holidays. He told me that this was proving to be very difficult with Tokyo living costs, as well as being able to enjoy himself.This is just one of the times when I realize that EduCareer stands apart from other recruiting companies in this respect. I was able to assure him that all of our positions, that aren't part-time, offer a fixed 12 month rate payment, and we also cover their transportation costs. I think this offers a lot more stability than not knowing exactly how much your salary will be each month. Of course
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Real Voices Why are buffets called "Viking" and staplers called "Hotchkiss" in Japanese?
English words that are lost in translation.Let's play a little game. In the 1969 book, Galactic Pot-Healer by Philip K. Dick, idle workers kill time creating puzzles by jumbling words through numerous translation services, much like the classic children's game of "telephone". So ring-ring, this call's for you.First Round, Warmup - How many you get correct? There are 15 in all.オーライ(oh-rai) is called when someone drives in reverse, what does it mean...a(ll) righ(t)カンニング (kanningu) is "cunning", but with Japanese intonation it means...To cheat (on a test)エキス (ekis) pops up with supplements or aromatherapy. Like vanilla...ex(tract)テンション (tenshon) is "tension", but Japanese use it to mean...excitementand what is a チェリーボーイ (cherībōi) "cherry boy"?...A male virginNext round, Technology - Usually pretty straightforward, but here are the funner ones.A power outlet is called a (konsent) コンセント, what does that refer to?concent(ric plug)Apparently plugs were round in early 20th century, which may be where the word comes from.Why is a mechanical pencil called a (shā-pen) シャーペン?shar(p) pen(cil)The company that popularized mechanical pencilsin Japan was the Sharp Corporation.Why are staplers called (hotchikisu) ホッチキス?HotchkissAgain, a name, this time for both the company and the inventor, somehow it took root in Japan.Why are commercials called a (C.M.) シーエム?Commercial MessageI always wondered what the M stood for...Next is the best round, Food - There may be a few surprises for you...Why is an all-you-can-eat buffet called (viking) ヴァイキング?From the restaurant "Imperial Viking" in the Imperial Hotel,which was the first restaurant in Japan to serve buffet-style meals and inspired by the 1958 American film The Vikings. Deep-friend (Katsu) カツ is delicious over rice, but what's its origin word?Cutlet... Really?...(Calpis) カルピス is a milky soft drink, but what's its origin? No, it's not "Cow Piss".cal(cium) + ?? ??? (sar)pis (Sanskrit for "tastes good") The final round, Other Languages - Although most
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Real Voices The English of Science
A Russian, a Korean, and a Mexican walk into a bar. How do they communicate?In English, of course! But especially if  that bar is around the corner from an international science conference. Because in today's world, scientists speak English."English is the dominant language of Science."As world powers were pooled and divided during the events of World War II, and the Cold War, the once polyglot world of academic science became overwhelmingly English-only. That may not be a big surprise seeing as how the same can be said for business, engineering, and medicine. It's also not likely to change anytime soon as the possibility of Mandarin Chinese becoming a lingua franca, as Mandarin doesn't even hold complete sway through all of China, and is considered exceedingly difficult. So if your students are interested in science than English dominance ought to light a bunsen burner under their butt to get them motivated to study English, lest they regret it later in life.But English wasn't always the primary language of science, truth be told the multilingual background of science has left a significant impact on the way we speak English today. Latin, German, and French have all made significant contributions to the vocabulary of science. But in the 19th century it was fashionable that all scientific and technological words had to be named in Greek. Many everyday things would have a completely different ring to them today if that weren't the case. Monosodium glutamate would be one-salt gluten acid, and photographs would be called lightwriting. Somehow the direct English translation lacks a certain grace. Maybe even the "selfie" would be a bit more dignified in Greek as an "autoportrait", or maybe not?
Real Voices
Real Voices What are the roots of English intonation?
In English there are two ways of accenting words. For example, the word wonder, with its intonation at the beginning (WON-der). But if a suffix is added then you get wonderful (WON-der-ful), and the intonation doesn't change, it stays at the beginning. But, take the word modern (MO-dern) and add a suffix, then the accent is pulled back towards the middle of the word becoming (mo-DERN-ity), and not (MO-dern-ity). "Knowing the history might help your students"The accent remains the same with (CHEER-y) and (CHEER-i-ly). But again shifts with the word (PER-sonal) and (person-AL-ity).Why is that? It's because  -ful and -ly are Germanic endings, while -ity comes from French and Latin, which pull the accent closer to the end of the word. Such as with (TEM-pest) becoming (tem-PEST-uous) - while a Germanic suffix leaves the accent alone. Maybe you've never noticed this aspect of English, but it might trip up your English students, and it's difficult to know the why and how of where this feature of English without knowing where it came from. There are many convoluted rules to try and explain it, but knowing the history might help ground those rules with context for your students.
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Real Voices Did you know English isn't native to England?
The Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Frisians brought their Germanic-based languages when they immigrated to (well... invaded) England, which had already been inhabited by the Celtic people (Welsh & Irish). The invaders were fewer in number, but they forced the natives to speak the Germanic-based language they brought with them, replacing the native language with... English, but certainly not as we know it today."English isn't native to England?"There were major differences between the languages, for example, in the old Celtic language  verbs come first (came first the verb), and 'do' was added liberally to sentences to form a question, make a sentence negative, or just flesh out the sentence (Do you walk? I do walk. I do not walk.) This use of 'do' in English today is derived from the original struggle the Celts made to speak the language of the Germanic invaders. To this day, besides English only Celtic languages continue to speak this way. "English is a smorgasbord of many languages"Their improper Old English became the standard for modern English, and started a trend that would happen again, as a new group of speakers would struggle with English. This time new "immigrants" (i.e. Vikings), would arrive in England speaking Old Norse, and their attempts to speak Old English influenced and further convoluted the language, but also simplified it. The Viking influence removed gendered nouns, leaving behind simpler words like 'the, these, those' (Thanks Odin!) and simplified conjugation further. Like the Celts, who rendered English in a way that felt natural to them, with prepositions at the end of sentence (Where did you come from?), instead of (From where do you come?), a major influence of the Vikings was a large addition of their own words into the English vocabulary.Multiple influxes of foreign vocabulary over the centuries helped create the
Real Voices
Real Voices Is "texting" even English? Should you teach it?
The increasing role of technology in the classroom and our daily lives forces us to reconsider what forms of English are appropriate to teach ESL students. In the same way that English teachers wouldn't teach outdated English words, doesn't it make sense that we ought to teach the latest trends as well? So how about texting, or the shorthand slang used on the internet (i.e. lol, or CUL8R)... Is it even English?Some argue that texting is the bane of literacy, and a detriment to the written word. But some language experts believe texting is more like a new way of talking, not writing."Texting is more like speaking than writing."When you look at it that way, it's a little easier to overlook the faux pas commonly associated with texting, such as the lack of capitalization, proper spelling, or punctuation. But neither of those are necessary when speaking either.Texting seems to be something altogether new. Certainly the written word has been used with back-and-forth communication for centuries, but not at the level of rapiditiy and interactivity that we see today. "Texters" are developing new rules and conventions to dictate what is appropriate for this new hybrid of written and spoken language.For example, LOL has evolved to be more of a greeting or social grace than a literal admission of 'laughing out loud'. LOL is used to create a basic empathy between texters, often like a smile would do when two people are speaking together to ease social tension - to convey an attitude.Instead of having a literal meaning, it does something. In this way, LOL is used like texting grammar."It's part of their real world use of English."It doesn't look like texting will be going away anytime soon either. If anything it has been evolving and deepening with the emergence of emoji
Real Voices
Real Voices 【EduCareer No.4】 Language Barriers with Coworkers
   My interview with Gary a couple of weeks ago confirmed my thoughts about the language barrier in his school when he told me that the simple act of trying to communicatewith the other teachers is the key to feeling a part of your school.    For the new arrivals among us of course this can be very difficult (and nerve racking!) but a simple greeting, thank you or how are you can go a long way in breaking the ice with the teachers around you and once this ice has been broken it can open up all kinds of doors. The best thing about trying to do this is that it can not only show the school that you are really making an effort but also give you an opportunity to improve your language skills.    If your Japanese is of a higher level you will be able to participate in school and department meetings, of course this will allow you to understand the workings of the department in more detail and even participate in decisions regarding the structure and development of the English course. Another teacher, Mike, said that this was one of the biggest advantages of speaking Japanese in his school.Remember: Fight the nerves and stay positive in communicating with those around you!There have been times where I felt that coworkers were curt or unhappy to speak with me. While I grant that is a possibility, in the past I was usually a bit disturbed and upset. But I've come to realize that it usually means that they are just busy, or having a rough time that I am unaware of. Try not to let it get you down, you might see them the next day with a big smile for you. Unless of course, you give
Real Voices
Real Voices 【EduCareer No.3】 Do you know how to get involved in clubs at school?
Most full time Japanese teachers are responsible for an after school club on top of their other duties, these clubs can meet 2 to 6 times a week, often sports clubs such as baseball or soccer meet every day and on weekends for practice and matches.So let's look at the role of Native teachers in all of this.After speaking to Mike, I realized that a little extra effort can really pay off. Mike was hired directly by his school after 1 year of working as a dispatch teacher but even during his time as a dispatch teacher he was involved in a lot of activities outside of his classroom. He was in charge of the English Club which met twice a week, attending a sports club, as well as helping students apply to Universities abroad.This is all on top of his classroom and curriculum development responsibilities. Mike told me that one of the reasons he thinks he was able to receive a direct hire contract is because of his dedication and work outside of the classroom, as it clearly showed his dedication and sincerity to the school. Taking part in the activities outside the classroom can also show the students that you are taking an interest in them and help build a greater relationship.Don't get carried away, and bite off more than you can chew. But getting involved can show your students that you are more than just their "English teacher" and show the school that you are willing to be a teacher that is truly part of the school.Are you already involved in your schools clubs? Have any advice or stories about your experiences you'd like to share in the comments below? Also be sure to check out our Job Board, or follow us on Facebook too!
Real Voices
Real Voices 【EduCareer No.2】 the Working Culture of Japan
Many of our successful direct-hire teachers have expressed in interviews that in order to be considered a real part of your school, it is important to "fit in" with the working environment of your school. This could mean occasionally working longer hours than you are explicitly contracted for... Or consciously communicating your effort to supervisors and coworkers...The best attitude to have at a Japanese school is to not think about the clock, but instead to focus on your work. A specific number of hours written on a contract can be misleading. If you are a part-time teacher and are paid by the hour than it is expected that you are not as invested in your organization and that your position is temporary. But if you have greater ambitions, and would like to be considered essential to your school, than it may be necessary to show that using the established working traditions of Japanese public and private schools. For example, if you have some planning or preparation to do, it's probably a good idea to do that in plain sight of everyone rather than at home or in a secluded place. Otherwise, how else would they know you've done it? There is a tradition in Japan that being SEEN working is just as valuable as doing good work. I know it's kind of shocking,... but it makes sense. It can be difficult to keep track of the efforts of every teacher, so the fact-of-the-matter is that administrators often rely on what they've seen directly with their own eyes. To be accepted at a school, it may be important that you look busy in the staff room, and show your effort that way. This is interpreted at traditional Japanese schools as you caring about your job and the organization. The expectation for
Real Voices
Real Voices Real Voices: Leigh
We recently spoke with Leigh, a licensed teacher from Australia who is one year into a direct hire contract at a private Elementary school. Here's what he had to say about direct hire!   Tell us a little about yourself and your work history. I have been living in Japan for five years now. The first two years of my time in Japan, I spent working in a small eikaiwa company, a job which was mainly teaching children. The next two years I spent working as an ALT with a major dispatch company, and during this time I worked at a number of different elementary and junior high schools. For the last 12 months, I have been working as a direct hire at a private elementary school in Tokyo.    What is your current position? What's a typical day like? I am currently employed as a full-time English teacher, as well as working as a sub-home-room teacher for the 4th grade. A typical day for me involves teaching 3 or 4 English classes per day, assisting with home room duties, supervising the children's play outside, as well as attending meetings and preparing classes. A busy, but enjoyable day!   What are some differences you've noticed between being a dispatched teacher and being directly hired? The main difference that I have noticed between being a direct hire teacher is that you are given more responsibility but also more freedom when it comes to preparing and teaching lessons. As a direct hire teacher, I am working at the same school every day and so I get to really know the teachers and students well, and I really feel like a part of the team.   What advice would you give a teacher who wanted a direct hire position? For teachers wanting a direct hire position, I advise deciding
Real Voices
Real Voices
We talked to Mike, a teacher who was a dispatch teacher with Global Partners before being directly hired by his school. Read about his story here. Q.Please tell us about your current position. A.I am currently in my 3rd year working at a private Junior and Senior High school. I worked as a dispatch teacher for 2 years and have been hired directly since April 2009. I saw the advertisement for my position on the internet and decided to try to apply with Global Partners. The position was not just an Oral Communication teaching position, but there was also a chance to teach literature which sounded like a good opportunity. I attended the interview at the Global Partners office, then attended the school interview and was successful. Q.Can you tell me about the difference in your duties between being a dispatch and direct teacher? A.One of the things about working in a school in Japan is the vagueness regarding duties. One of the things I have done is try to look at the full time teachers and kind of follow their lead, as often there do not seem to be any set rules. For example, it is common for full time teachers to stay late after school, while some teachers go home at 5 or 5:30. I am usually there until at least 6:30 and sometime as late as 8 pm. Also when we have school events, such as the school festival which is held on the weekend I am expected to be at school on Saturday and Sunday, whereas the dispatch teachers usually only attend one day. In this way, many of my duties have increased in level of responsibility, even though I was helping out doing the same thing before. New areas of responsibility include clubs and the
Real Voices
Direct Hire Contracts Really Do Exist
Read my interview with Gary; a teacher who received a direct contract with his school after working through Global Partners for 1 year.   Q.  How did you first hear about Global Partners? A.  I first came into contact with Global Partners through a friend in December 2003.  I took the time to look them up on the internet and thought it sounded like an interesting company so applied for a position.  At the interview itself I found the company to be professional and organized and was very impressed.  After passing the initial interview at the office I went to the school itself for a final interview and was successful in securing a position.   Q.  How did you find the school and the job when you first started? A.  It was busy, but I always tried to work my hardest for the school and the students, I wanted to become a valued member of staff for the school.  I had regular classes as well as responsibility for the International Program which sends students abroad to study.   Q.  So how did the process of being hired directly by the school come about? A.  The school actually approached myself and another teacher and asked how we felt about going direct with them.  Of course I was keen to do so and Global Partners supported me through this process.   Q.  How did you find working with Global Partners as a dispatch company? A.  I always found them very easy to work with, the office staff were always helpful and accessible, I felt that they take the time and effort to get to know their teachers which helped us build up a good working relationship.   Q.  Finally, do you have any advice for people who are thinking of working for a
Real Voices

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9 minutes from Nakano Station (Chuo/Tozai lines) South Exit

1 Chome-62-10 Nakano,
Nakano-ku, Tōkyō

Enter the Tokyo Community School building, call on the intercom telephone at the orange door.

Office hours : 09:00-18:00
Regular Holiday : Saturday/Sunday

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