Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Voice of an English & business instructor

I endorse the spirit of DQEE. It is because the English language business in Japan has greater discrimination than the former South African apartheid. 

First of all, most English language schools and English language teaching companies in Japan will not hire Asian-looking or Black or Southeast Asian or Afro-American instructors, although they may be native English speakers. However, they hire many blonde and blue-eyed Eastern European instructors who have thick accents and hardly speak English. 

On the other hand, normal Japanese companies do not hire any foreigners as managers or even employees, and they only hire Japanese nationals. There is also active discrimination against male instructors. 

I have often encountered cases where the Japanese company clients would request a young, female, blonde instructor, or during the course request a change to a young, female, Caucasian instructor. 

When this keep reoccurring, one wonders about the criteria of the Japanese companies that hold English lessons for their employees either compulsory or volunteer, and the reasons of the employees for taking English lessons. 

Other issues I have faced is the continued lay offs of English teachers by these schools and training companies, in order to keep their labor costs low. Many of these firms and organizations continue to terminate the one-year contracts with instructors after a few years, so that they do not have to raise salaries and wages, even though the salary and wages of English instructors is already low compared to all the salaries, benefits, multiple allowances, and status privileges that normal Japanese public and private school Japanese instructors get. 

Many times, it is the English language school head instructors who systematically make false excuses or falsify evaluations, in order to get rid of high performance capable instructors who threaten their jobs. 

In the Japanese public schools and private schools, they hire foreign English teachers as English Language Assistants (ELAs) to teach the students. 

The Japanese English language instructors often are masters of English grammar, but they cannot speak English conversationally, and their accent is all wrong and incomprehensible. For example, instead of saying, “This is a pen,” they say, “Jisu izu ah pin.” They make the ELAs create all the English language training materials, which they do much better, because of the creativity of foreign teachers. 

The Japanese public school teachers do not have that much creativity, because they are brought up and educated in a rigid, militaristic, central government controlled Ministry of Education national textbook educational environment. 

The entire culture punished creativity; hence the famous Japanese saying, “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down,” and it becomes a mind made from manuals and methods and repetition of traditional ways of doing things. However, Japanese school teachers are treated as full-time lifetime employees with huge salaries and many allowances, while the foreign ELAs are only hired on a one-year contract with very low pay. 

This is the reason why all the established evaluation agencies of the world have rated Japan with very low “human rights” ratings globally due to all the open discrimination and prejudice and inhumane treatments of workers and violation of human rights. 

There is an overflow of English language teachers in Japan, because they hire all the college students who just want to come to Japan to play around and have fun, then go back to their countries after a year. 

Age is another area where “human rights” are violated. Normal Japanese companies will have on their recruitment ads and job descriptions an age limit of 30 or 35 years old. One has to work up the ranks, and after 30 years they can finally become managers. 

Even if you are a genius and a company executive in a foreign firm in Japan, if you apply to a Japanese company, they will start you off with a very low salary as a low-level employee. Many people who are laid off in their 40s and 50s have no companies that will accept them, even if they were senior managers and capable people in their former companies, so I have seen many of them working as taxi drivers or convenience store clerks. This is the reality of Japan and its labor market. 

This is why I respect cultures like the United States that hire people from any nation or ethnicity or age or gender (although there is a lot of discrimination against Christians now) for their management positions, and it is a nation that is based on performance and hard work and knowledge, instead of ethnicity or connections or lineage or age or race. This is what made the U.S. a superpower. 

Currently, Japan only hires Indian software programmers into their Japanese companies, but this has to change to accept people of all ethnicity, age, gender, religion, physical appearance, and race. This is why I respect what Nicky is doing by being a pioneer and leading the battlefront and undaunted advocate for the “human rights” of workers (especially foreigners) in Japan, and I thoroughly endorse his endeavors. It is a difficult upward battle, and may take centuries to change this medieval feudal system in Japan, but one has to start somewhere.

Anonymous English & Business Instructor in Japan for 25 years

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