Working For A Chain: GEOS In Japan
If you’ve read about the JET Program, AEON, NOVA, Interac and Westgate here at the TEFL Logue and wondered “what about GEOS?” you’ve found the right post. Also stay tuned for a “master post” covering all of these to compare and contrast.
GEOS says, “The differences between GEOS and other major English-language schools in Japan will make you glad you chose GEOS.”
In class, they use a system they refer to as “Tanninsei”, which involves teachers staying with the same students for longer; it’s not clear if this is the gist of the whole system or just one aspect of it. While students can be from all age groups and levels, about 1/3 are between the ages of 3 and 10. You can request to teach only children, but not only adults.
There are 500 GEOS schools in Japan, and 47 worldwide. From the website: “Once you have a year of Japan-based teaching under your belt, opportunities abound in teaching, marketing, curriculum development, teacher training, management, HR, and much more.”
To meet the requirements to apply, you should have a BA in any discipline, and have gone through all your education in an English-speaking country. It’s best to start the application process two to four months in advance of your availability date, and in-person interviews in your home country take place following this schedule. No TEFL certificate is required – those who are hired undergo a one-month correspondence course covering English language, teaching and Japanese culture, and then proceed on to a four day training on arrival.
The salary is 250,000 yen a month, plus compensation to offset the higher cost of living in more expensive areas and various potential bonuses (including one I am highly suspicious of based on interviewing students who go on to enroll at GEOS). As far as housing goes, the company will find you a furnished single flat and pay the deposit, but you are responsible for the rent and utilities, which they estimate at about 65,000 yen a month. They try to find a flat near the school, and if it is more than 2km away you get a supplement towards transportation; it is not unusual to commute 45-60 minutes per day.
Your schedule will include 29.5 hours a week in school, either Monday through Friday or Tuesday through Saturday, with two consecutive days off guaranteed. Four weeks of holiday – in addition to Japanese holidays – are included, though some must be taken at pre-arranged times. Another benefit is 24 You can take 24 hours of Japanese lessons for free during your workday in the first six months of your contract.
Finally, GEOS offers one benefit which I haven’t seen in any other chain: if you work there for one year, you can take a one-month leave of absence to complete a CELTA in either the UK or New Zealand. If you work for Geos another year after that, they will split the cost of the CELTA with you.
The Japan job discussion board on Dave’s ESL Café provides a forum for info coming from teachers; you can use the private message function to get in contact with members once you join. People do say that those who had a bad experience tend to speak out more than those who found it fine, so keep that in mind just as you would for AEON, Interac, JET, Westgate (I’m not sure where to categorize the now-defunct NOVA).