Teaching at Berlitz : the good and the bad
I posted this on Reddit
There are three types of contract nowadays:
Full-time (40 lessons a week or 26.6 hours/ week) = 250,00/month
Part-time (20 lessons a week) = 125,000 / month
Per Lesson (no guarantee) = 1,900 per lesson
**Each lesson is 40 minutes long.
I am posting the details here because they are available online anyway
1) There is a guarantee – even during lean months, you will have lessons
2) They’ll sponsor your visa
3) You are the priority (scheduling and lessons-wise)
4) The schedule is fixed every week
5)You hardly get sent anywhere
1) They’ll maximize you – Saturdays and Sundays at 12 lessons per day, 40 minute break from 8:30 am to 6 pm. This is especially true if you want them to sponsor your visa. You can renegotiate one Saturday (or Sunday) off after 2 or 3 years.
2) If the month has 4 weeks and you taught 40 lessons per week, meaning 160 lessons per month, you get paid 1562.5 Yen per lesson. However, during some months, you might have to go over 160, say 165 or 170 (because some months have more weekends than the others). Because your rate is fixed, you’ll earn less than 1562 per lesson – sometimes as low as 1470 yen per lesson.
3) If you are a full-timer and want more money, you can work outside your contract, meaning teach more than 40 lessons a week . Excess of 40 lessons means higher per lesson rate. But really, 40 hours = just tiring.
4) I was on a Part-time contract which was terribly sweet (13 hours a week) and then if I needed money I opened my schedule to get a higher rate. .
1)The per lesson rate is higher – 1,900 / 40 minutes.
2) The schedule. When I switched contracts, I was able to go abroad and vacation once every 4-6 weeks. There is no guarantee, so you can open and close your schedule ANYTIME you want ** I heard that some teachers at other branches were able to open and close their schedules 2 months at a time (2 months working, 2 months vacationing, alternately the whole year) – I tried it but it was at the discretion of the manager and probably depending on your seniority.
1) No guarantee. Lean months – no students. You aren’t the priority- the contract teachers are.
2) You tend to get sent to other branches more than contract teachers
3) The schedule varies every week. No two weeks are completely the same, maybe except on weekends
4) If your manager hates you he can choose to not give you lessons. After all , your per hour rate is higher than the contract teachers.
5) If your manager is out to get you, you’re more vulnerable than contract teachers.
6) I am not sure about this – but I haven’t met anybody on a per lesson contract whose visa was sponsored.
Berlitz in general
1) You can f*ck off and do whatever you want whenever there are no lessons.
2) CTL -cancelled-too-late lessons are paid. No shows are also paid.
3) Convenient locations
4) No kids at my branch (This depends on the location)
5) Flexibility (depending on your contract and your manager)
6) Fairly strong union
7) Japanese and foreigners in the management ; this helps when you don’t understand (or refuse to obey)certain Japanese BS they want you to follow. Imagine if they were all Japanese!!!!
8) Great co-workers (depending where you are!)
9) If you become a regular (after 3 years of working), hardly anyone gets fired
10)They probably won’t go bankrupt soon.
11) Equal opportunity employer. They hired me even though I’m not white. They hire people from all over the world.
1) The schedule – you will only find out your next day’s schedule (if you are on a per lesson contract or if you opened up for more lessons) 7 pm the day before. Up until that time, you don’t know if you’re teaching one or twelve lessons or none
2) Split shifts
3) No weekends
4) Pay isn’t so great if you’re on the new contract.
5) Seniority-based : older teachers (who’ve been teaching since when I was born) get the priority
6) Japanese staff and your manager can screw you over. Your earnings can depend on your relationship with them (if you are on per-lesson). REALLY.
7) Request and disrequest system : students can complain about you about anything (like bad handwriting or fidgeting). And Berlitz will make a federal case out of it and make you sign a complaint form, which are demerit points eventually affecting your pay increase.
8) Pay increase is really a joke. At least for new teachers.
9) Like all English teaching job, it feels like a dead-end job.
10) Evaluation of your performance also tends to be more personal than objective. Mine was : “Your shoes are ugly!”
11) Textbooks get really old quickly. There could be one day you would be teaching the simple past tense 3 lessons in a row
12) They can listen in to your lessons (which they do, to “monitor” the quality of your lessons) without prior consent. My lawyer says this is illegal (which is why automated bank voice prompt always warns you that the call “may be monitored or recorded” before the actual conversation) but maybe it’s in the contract that we signed????
I suggest going for Berlitz for a year or two. Then move on.
To be fair, I tried applying at Gaba before Berlitz, but the lady who interviewed me commented about my shoes (again) and the fact that I was wearing gray jacket and suit and not all black. So if you’re interviewing for Gaba, please wear all black, as if you’re going to a funeral GOODLUCK!