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Interac
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13 reviews

Interac Employer Reviews

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A Realistic Experience Teaching in Japan
Assistant English Teacher (Current Employee), JapanJuly 23, 2014
Pros: gets much easier after year 1, company helps some with relocation
Cons: 2 month 1st pay delay that repeats every year, 4 months of the year pay is reduced from 25-50%, technically contract work, not true full time work
Work for Interac varies depending on what company branch, what school district, and what principal/vice principal you have to deal with. The company has received the scores it has due to the unpredictable nature of the work. My personal experience in the first year was teaching 5-6 lessons per day across 5 grade levels, for whom I had to make original – more... content every week. I had to remain at school even if there was nothing for me to do. I transferred branches and am now in an easier (ie more Western style) situation where I can come 20 minutes before my first lesson and go after my last lesson. Schools can vary wildly, so the kids you work with can be anywhere from stoic to riotous, depending on the neighborhood and the teachers involved.

Management is a tricky question because while your actual managers are distant at a branch office, your Vice-Principal will keep tabs on you and relay his expectations of what you are (or are not) to do to the branch office. Depending on how old-fashioned or a task master this individual is, it can affect your responsibilities at school and how long you sit at a desk with nothing to do.

Your co-workers are all Japanese people who cannot speak English or who speak at a low level- even the English teachers. Occasionally an English teacher will have a higher ability level. At any rate, the language barrier and big difference in culture can make the work environment somewhat isolating. Since other foreigners are almost never assigned to the same school, it can become lonely. Making foreign friends outside of work to decompress with is very important, besides learning how to get along with Japanese people, of course.

The most difficult things about the job can be strange demands or interference by the local teacher in your lesson planning, last minute planning you were not told about, changes in the schedule you were not told about, and various other things you were not told about (you may notice a pattern). Since you are a foreigner, you will always be out of the loop and will have to be very proactive about getting information from your coworkers about what is going on or coming down the pike. Sometimes classroom management can be very challenging because in Japan, students have a, "Right to education," therefore they cannot be thrown out of class unless they are being outright violent. This means that disruptive or disrespectful behavior that (hypothetically) would not fly in western schools can happen during lessons. On the whole, Japanese students are extremely well behaved compared to their American counterparts; but the lack of serious discipline means that there are sometimes behaviors that continue when they shouldn't. Also, 4 months out of the year, you will be in a financial lurch, unless you came to Japan with thousands of dollars instead of having to borrow thousands just to cover the moving in expenses and the initial 2 months of no pay (in Japan salaries start rolling in at the end of the *second* month of work). Frankly, if you have thousands of dollars of cash to begin with, you probably already had a decent job in the US and don't need to do this unstable and unpredictable job in Japan, unless you are doing it purely for the experience of living in Japan (many do just that). Also note that there are no meaningful raises with this job, as the company is a middleman taking a cut of whatever rate they have negotiated with the school district before paying you.

The most enjoyable part of the job is seeing kids doing an activity, speaking English, and not even realizing they are doing an English activity. To see them write something fun and creative that they actually want to write. To hear them say something they actually want to say. When they start to see that English can be a means of expression in an otherwise reserved and inexpressive local culture. – less
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Old fashioned company who still cares about the children first.
Behavioral Specialist (Current Employee), Philadelphia, PAJuly 15, 2014
Pros: appreciative and knowledgeable supervisor staff
Cons: low compensation
Small and caring company who remained focused on the reason for working is to take care of our clients. Supervisory staff are caring, knowledgeable, and helpful. Open door policy, excellent supervision, and strong support for clinicians is evident. Clinicians know they are appreciated. The experience of the supervisors helps for a balanced work environment. – more... This company is a pleasure to work for. – less
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A wonderful life experience
Assistant Language Teacher - Tonohata-mura, Japan (Former Employee), Iwate, JapanMay 13, 2014
Pros: cultural and life experience.
Cons: cultural shock for those not prepared.
Living in Japan was amazing. The Japanese culture is welcoming and caring. work can go from light to almost overwhelming but the rewards of a job well done are worth it.
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supportive workplace
English Teacher (Former Employee), Tokyo, JapanApril 21, 2014
Fun, variety and opportunities to make a difference in the community.
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Typical dispatch company
English Instructor (Current Employee), Funabashi, JapanFebruary 18, 2014
Nothing good or bad, just what you'd expect from an ALT dispatch company in Japan.
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Interac is a company that provides an opportunity to teach ESL while gaining experience of a different culture..
English Instructor (English as a foreign Language) (Current Employee), Yokosuka, Kanagawa, JapanFebruary 11, 2014
Working at INTERAC I have learnt that I am not only a teacher but a cultural ambassador for my country. A typical work day consist of three to four classes where I am charged with the responsibility to motivate Japanese students to speak English. This is no easy task, however by the end of the fifty minute session I feel accomplished. My co-workers – more... are the Japanese staff at the school and they are very courteous, respectful and hard-working. The most enjoyable part of my job is to see the smiles on the student's faces. – less
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Allowing foreigners to live in Japan
Assistant Language Teacher (Former Employee), Moriok, YokosukaJanuary 1, 2014
Pros: living in japan
Cons: no support, uncaring company
I worked first as a NS (Native-speaker) and then as an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher). There's a lot to say about Interac. They are a company that brings foreigners to Japan to teach English. They handle most of the process, and some of the management is very helpful, very friendly, and clearly want the teachers to succeed. Others are not. There's – more... a lot of business rules that may annoy the teachers. It's complicated. They also state a certain number of working hours, but do nothing to enforce it. My hours often soared to 50 or more hours a week but Interac would not take steps to help me get back to the 25 or whatever they said I would work. There's also no guarantee your contract will be renewed, and being in Japan there are a lot of illogical rules. – less
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Great employer that gives you space and independance
English Consultant (Former Employee), JapanAugust 29, 2013
Pros: a new culture. wonderful people.
Cons: creating lessons gets tedious
Go to school, give some lessons to your students. Make your own lessons, usually grammar, and songs.

I learnt how people like to learn. Tools which create a positive and effective learning experience.

The management was very flexible, was not always checking up on you.

Co-workers all quite young and positive. Love their jobs.

The hardest part of – more... the job was coming up with new material for every lesson that was interesting for the students and that met their needs.

The best part was the kids. The students loved learning and being taught by me. It was an incredible positive environment. – less
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Enjoyment of teaching English to Japanese students
Head Teacher (Current Employee), YokohamaJanuary 27, 2013
When you see students understand and enjoy the learning of the English language, it makes you feel like you have made an impact on their lives and to open their eyes and opportunities for future work and travel.

Interac Co. Ltd. provides on-going training and wonderful support from the office staff.
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They're good to give you a visa to get to Japan
Assistant language teacher (Former Employee), Yokohama, JapanAugust 25, 2012
Pros: got to live in japan, experienced a new culture
Cons: yokohama branch, japanese teachers of english
This company will hire you to be an ESL teacher in Japan. If you show any kind of potential they'll give you a job and get all the paperwork done for your visa.

Once you get to Japan, you'll teach English to children ages 6 - 18 as an assistant language teacher. The Japanese teachers of English themselves know all about English grammar, but they can – more... barely hold a conversation with a native speaker unless you speak extremely slow. You are also told to speak the same way to the children. They also assume that since you can speak English, you're familiar with all grammar terms. I put an end to that nonsense by asking them Japanese grammar questions and gave them the same treatment back when they didn't know.

The children themselves didn't care if I spoke Japanese to them because they had to learn English. They didn't care for it as it was a required class for them. They opened up when I asked them about their numerous trinkets hanging off their cell phones or gym bags.

Management at the Yokohama branch is a joke. They give all building names and addresses in English only so you're guaranteed to get lost. The upside is you learn Japanese faster by doing it yourself. They were also unhelpful about helping me find an apartment, get a cell phone, etc. Luckily, I had made a Japanese friend before I went over and they helped me get set up. – less
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Extremely friendly working environment.
Assistant Language Teacher (Former Employee), JPEAugust 10, 2012
Pros: school lunches, monthly teacher parties, kept schedule, work environment
Cons: different culture, occasional difficulty communicating, very isolated living circumstances
A typical work day was from 8am - 4:45pm. I would walk to school, prepare lessons for the day, prepare advanced lessons for the entire week, and work on any additional details that needed to be done. I would usually teach about 4-5 middle school classes a day. During my time with this company, I really learned how to take on multiple projects at the – more... same time. Although my middle school was my main priority, I also had days where I had to teach Elementary school, as well Adult language classes. My co-workers were exceptionally friendly. It was helpful that I was able to communicate with everyone in Japanese, but overall, the other teachers I met were incredibly accommodating, hospitable, and caring. The hardest part of this job was getting my supervisors to give me my lesson plan requirements several days in advance - there were times when I wouldn't know what I had to teach until day of. Since I usually like to plan and prepare in advance, not having that information until the last minute was very difficult for me. The most enjoyable part of the job was definitely the people - Not only were my coworkers exceptionally friendly, my students were engaging and always willing to learn - they always made me so proud. – less
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Break Japanese Labor Regulations
Assistant Language Teacher (Former Employee), JapanMay 12, 2012
Pros: many schools so placement requests, and transfers, are possible.
Cons: they break the labor laws
They play games with working hours. For example, they tell the instructor that they need to be available for work from 8AM to 5PM and some schools will have the instructors there for those hours. But Interac keeps instructors off the government mandated social health insurance/pension plan ("shakai hoken" in Japanese by claiming that only 5.9 or fewer – more... of those hours are actually "work" time, thus making the instructors part-timers. Interac claims that they cannot enroll their instructors in shakai hoken but this is a lie. Not only can they, but they are required to.
Most Japanese companies give their employees two bonuses a year but Interac does not give its foreign employers. There had been a contract completion bonus but, at least for me, it disappeared and it had been tiny compared to normal bonus sizes.
The Japanese government has told local boards of education not to use dispatch companies like Interac but many continue to do so.
Japanese labor guidelines set up how many paid days off instructors get but Interac puts some of those days during the summer break so they do not have to give their employees as many days off.
Over the years they have shaved pay and the number of vacation days.
Interac changed many of its instructors to a kind of dispatch contract called 'itaku'. This is because itaku type of dispatch workers do not get job security unlike the normal dispatch workers. After several years of working at a company as a dispatch worker (temp workers sent from an agency), they workers are considered to have become dependent on their jobs and they cannot be let go without good reason. Itaku workers do not get this permanency but they are not allowed to get any directions from the people at the job site. The other teachers at the school are not allowed to discuss anything about classes or how they will be taught. The schools must contact Interac who will then send a fax or email to the instructor. So, even though discussing class content is a very normal and necessary thing, it is expressly forbidden. And the Japanese teacher must be present in the classroom but cannot participate in the teaching at all while the foreign instructor is teaching. All this crazy smoke and mirrors craziness is to prevent the instructors from getting any job security. This is an indication of the character of the managers and owners of Interac.
If dispatch companies like Interac didn't exist, local boards of education would hire their instructors directly. There would be more job security, better pay, and better treatment.
There are many more negative points about Interac – less