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Will I be qualified for NOVA?

Tidus

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I'm from Vietnam but moved to America when I was really young. Up until this point I'm a lot more American than Vietnamese, I can express myself more freely in English, I think and dream in English.

I'm currently attending college studying musical engineering. You think I could get hooked up with NOVA when I'm done?
 

xerxes99

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How much of your schooling was done in English? Nova requires 12 years of English schooling. They're really strict about it too.
 

Qutiepie

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There are some ALT working in Japan with below-average English skills,I barely understand their postings half of the time.
 

Tidus

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How much of your schooling was done in English? Nova requires 12 years of English schooling. They're really strict about it too.
barely 12 for me, I started 3rd grade in America, and I'm finishing up my second year at college
 

Iron Chef

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As long as you have a 4-year degree from an accredited university (regardless of your discipline) you are qualified to work for NOVA. Don't worry about the ethnic aspect, NOVA is always looking for degree-holding native speakers and if you've spent the majority of your life living in America you should be fine.
 

Mike Cash

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As long as you have:

1. A college degree in anything
2. A necktie
3. A pulse

you're fine for Nova. Have polished shoes and clean fingernails and you're in like Flynn.
 

Elizabeth

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Does anyone know of age limits for eligibility as a NOVA instructor ? 39-40 ish ?

Or is there a legal upper limit when an employee is considered too old to work in Japan on a yearly contact and continue the annual visa renewal process ? Somewhere I read it was 45, but I couldn't find anything official on this. :)
 

ArmandV

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Does anyone know of age limits for eligibility as a NOVA instructor ? 39-40 ish ?
Or is there a legal upper limit when an employee is considered too old to work in Japan on a yearly contact and continue the annual visa renewal process ? Somewhere I read it was 45, but I couldn't find anything official on this. :)

Gawd, I hope not! I may need to go through them in a few years.
 

Buntaro

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Elizabeth-san!

When I was at Nova, we had a guy about 65, although that was back in the 90's, and the rules may have chnged since then.
 

Mike Cash

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Yet another reason I often tell people that working for Nova is not the sort of thing one should plan on making a career out of.
 

Elizabeth

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Gawd, I hope not! I may need to go through them in a few years.
I'm sure there are instances of teachers getting up in years that or that started in their late 30's and can endure it more than two or three years lurking somewhere deep in the Japanese countryside, but they are definately the odd (not necessarily character-wise....) exceptions.

The biggest obstacle may be coming up with a story to justify your motivations for wanting to do low-paying, entry-level work that has been slotted and designed for a person half your age that isn't a means to career advancement in any other field. Assuming these are instructor positions not requiring TEFL credentials or experience.

At this point, I'm not terribly anxious to leave my job for what could be a very short term prospect and come back to completely rebuild my life. Especially since I'm already familiar with the culture and it isn't necessary to be in Japan to learn the language. So I'll probably apply, go for the interview for the heck of it and see what happens...it isn't like I'm in dire need of getting a bunch of students to laugh at my hapless show of comedy seven or eight hours a day until management decides I'm not as energetic or genki as a totally green freshly minted, probably alcoholic 20-something college graduate... :eek:
 

ArmandV

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I'm sure there are instances of teachers getting up in years that or that started in their late 30's and can endure it more than two or three years lurking somewhere deep in the Japanese countryside, but they are definately the odd (not necessarily character-wise....) exceptions.

I would consider going the NOVA route after retirement (in the U.S.) to supplement pension income or shortly before retirement (about 3 years). This brings up another question to consider, but I'll have to put it in the Gaijin Retirement in Japan thread.
 

Elizabeth

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Yet another reason I often tell people that working for Nova is not the sort of thing one should plan on making a career out of.
Obviously they don't invest heavily in employee recruitment or training, although I still don't know any other business model that actually encourages turnover of 70, 80, 90 % the way eikaiwas are set up. One reason may be a mandatory enrollment in insurance or the pension system after three years since salary isn't necessarily tied to experience....I'm not sure.

Along with the question of ageism it's something that isn't easy to get definitive or honest answers on official policy from the companies directly. And with their lust for young flesh dutifully serving out a one year contract but not much more not a point you should probably explore too much during the interview process. ☝
 

ArmandV

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And with their lust for young flesh dutifully serving out a one year contract but not much more not a point you should probably explore too much during the interview process. ☝

That's an interesting way of putting it!

I would imagine that if an applicant shows a work history that's relatively stable, then their fears of people who are here today, gone tomorrow could be put to rest. Being sincere during the interview would have to be a priority.
 

Elizabeth

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That's an interesting way of putting it!
I would imagine that if an applicant shows a work history that's relatively stable, then their fears of people who are here today, gone tomorrow could be put to rest. Being sincere during the interview would have to be a priority.
Having the type of presence or attitude that fits their stereotype of a compliant employee -- meaning relaxed, enthusiastic, friendly and who gives the impression of being non-confrontational -- is probably the most heavily weighted aspect of any candidate regardless of experience or academic credentials. Someone that will keep the students involved and will take be a total suck up by taking whatever crap is thrown at them.

I have like 3 M.A.s in two different fields (psychology & library science) which makes me hugely overqualified. But it's more or less by default only because I had no idea what I was doing after college and ended up having to change professions. It doesn't mean I'm particularly ambitious now, or will end up pursuing anything else more professionally challenging once I get into the system. 😊 As you say, dealing with any potentially problematic background issues like that sincerely and very convincingly goes a long way....but I'm sure with the rate of dissatisfaction they foster, all of these companies are still rightly paranoid about the huge percentage of early bailouts.
 
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Elizabeth

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As long as you have:
1. A college degree in anything
2. A necktie
3. A pulse
you're fine for Nova. Have polished shoes and clean fingernails and you're in like Flynn.
From what I've read, though, lately the general trend from around 2004 is definately downwards primarily due to pressures of market saturation resulting in recruitment downsizing, branch closings and personnel layoffs -- probably no more than 30-40% today make the cut ??? but it's still a very random determination depending on the personality of the interviewer, immediate staffing needs, seasonal volatility etc.

And now anyone reading this hearsay that has a more nuanced and up to date account of the situation please, please give us your impression of any recent changes to the process. 😊👍
 
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Iron Chef

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While high-turnover is very real most Eikawa head offices do everything in their power to retain the teachers that are currently under their employ. It's much easier maintaining the status quo with teachers who have already learnt the ropes as opposed to having to bring in new faces fresh off the boat, orientate, train, follow-up train, etc. Not to mention most of the people who break before their one-year contract is up do so for two reasons:

1) They found a better job.

2) Those individuals for whatever reason were unable to adjust and cope
with living a life abroad (homesickness, no desire to learn Japanese, etc.).

Current teachers who have a year or more under their belt generally don't fall into #2 above from my experience but start leaning towards #1. And about them being more selective these days... I wouldn't be so sure about that. Back in the day when I was at my initial orientation/interview in Chicago for AEON there were five of us present the 1st day. We were asked to do a 15 minute mini-lesson using the others as imaginary students. Four out of the five were asked back the next day and offered positions with the company.

This included one woman who had made TWO attrocious spelling errors during her 15 min. mini-lesson and were on the whiteboard for all the world to see (really elementary level stuff too-no joke). Maybe she was nervous or maybe grammar wasn't her strongpoint but nevertheless she was hired, go figure. On a side-note, age is not an issue from what i've seen. I know quite a few middle-aged peeps who have been working in-country for sometime now.

Re: English teaching as a sustainable career, I really think people shouldn't be so quick to dismiss the financial rewards teaching English can yield if you use the work visa as merely an "in" to get you acclimated. Get your fet wet (do your job and do it well), establish your contacts while under the duration of your employ, and start planning for the future so that you may branch out on your own eventually. I learned everything I needed to know after working at AEON for a month, not even. And my responsibilities were far greater than those of your average branch school teacher. Re: getting the actual job/interview process, basic common sense: present yourself in a professional manner, don't oversell yourself, and most importantly express to those who will determine your employemnt your strong desire and willingness to undertake something new.

I started as an ALT in Sapporo (ツ??50,000+/month), moved on to AEON at their head office in Nagoya (ツ??85,000+/month), and now some five years running in Japan total, i've been in business for myself the last two. I secure all my own work and rely on only a few select individuals to help me navigate certain areas of the business my Japanese can't quite manage. I won't disclose but rest assured it's more than double my yearly salary whilst working for AEON.

I started out doing my own handouts for hours on end everyday at peak times in front of local train stations trying to solicit whatever business I could. I made up professional brochures, did door-to-door, advertised in the Fukuoka-wide Yomiuri Shimbun. The first year I was completely in the red but the last six months I have had to turn away so much business that I wish I could clone myself to cover the demand. And while the big Eikawas continue to see their profits cut, entrepreneurs like myself are making plenty of headway into this market.

It should be stressed though that the most important thing for me or anyone else in this field I believe is to do it for the personal satifsfaction and enjoyment I get everyday from what I do. The quality of life for me over here that i've established for myself is much more palpatable to my tastes than back home and my daily interactions are reward enough. Don't get me wrong, i'm no slouch--I put in 60+ hours a week to pull in the money I earn but that's my choice to work that much and overall, teaching English can be rewarding and lucrative as well as have longevity.

Anyways, I could go on and on about a myriad number of issues but that's just some food for thought. Bottom line is it's never to late to reinvent yourself. As one certain JREFer puts it... "Do what you love and you'll never work another day your whole life..." (or something along those lines).
 
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nice gaijin

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Always encouraging to post a lengthy reply only to see it die...
well, despite having no real plans to teach English in the future, I thought it was very helpful and interesting. 👍
 

Elizabeth

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Always encouraging to post a lengthy reply only to see it die...
Sorry about the late response. :sorry: I also found it extremely helpful and encouraging to read a success story and positive take on the process for once. :).

Although on a personal level, my reasons for wanting to live in Japan fall much more under the category of 'for the general cultural experience and as a means for pursuing language study' than having professional ambitions of entering management or becoming an entrepreneur.

And with my lack of a degree and teaching qualifications a smaller school is a much less viable possibility at this point. So I'm not necessarily thinking of anything, even long-term, outside the structure and stability of a large eikaiwa. As you say, Iron Chef, perhaps initially on a single FT contact but eventually branching out into a series of PT positions, even public school or university level, with a private client base for added security.

How to convince a company, on the other hand, that a potential hire knowing the language and being fairly culturally savvy up front is still a good investment is still my conundrum. Provided I do decide this is the best vehicle with which to reinvent myself. :)
 
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Pachipro

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I just love it when people post a question and others take the time to give detailed answers and the OP fails to return to the forum!
Iron Chef said:
I started out doing my own handouts for hours on end everyday at peak times in front of local train stations trying to solicit whatever business I could. I made up professional brochures, did door-to-door, advertised in the Fukuoka-wide Yomiuri Shimbun. The first year I was completely in the red but the last six months I have had to turn away so much business that I wish I could clone myself to cover the demand. And while the big Eikawas continue to see their profits cut, entrepreneurs like myself are making plenty of headway into this market.

It should be stressed though that the most important thing for me or anyone else in this field I believe is to do it for the personal satifsfaction and enjoyment I get everyday from what I do. The quality of life for me over here that i've established for myself is much more palpatable to my tastes than back home and my daily interactions are reward enough. Don't get me wrong, i'm no slouch--I put in 60+ hours a week to pull in the money I earn but that's my choice to work that much and overall, teaching English can be rewarding and lucrative as well as have longevity.

As Iron Chef so eloquently pointed out above, teaching English can be very rewarding and profitable. However, I also feel it is not for everyone. One really has to enjoy what one is doing even if it seems like you aren't making any headway when your students fail to learn anything after a year of teaching them. This adds to the high turnover of teachers and them getting burned out. However, the success stories do make it worthwhile. At least to me it did.

I started out in mid-sized schools and avoided the larger schools altogether and also worked for "schools" that sent you out to corporations in the evenings. Since I was already in country as a student I didn't have to start out at the big schools to get an "in". Both were easier to find, the hours were flexible, dress was casual and it was much less stressful than the rigors of the big name places. Plus the hourly pay was much higher. I also had a fair number of private students that I taught on my off nights and on Saturdays.

Like Iron Chef, I eventually branched out on my own, bought a small school from a foreigner leaving Japan and tripled the number of students within a year by advertising and handing out fliers. The "personal touch" seems to work much better and student retention was high. Plus the income derived from the school was well worth it. But again, if you do not enjoy teaching, no amount of income will ever make it worthwhile.

Therefore, while the big name schools are ok in order to get you into the country with the proper visa I, personally, wouldn't want to stay with one because, as I mentioned above, the smaller schools pay better and are more flexible and far less stressful. Plus, if you enjoy working for one, they will usually provide sponsorship/visa if you need one.

Elizabeth said:
As you say, Iron Chef, perhaps initially on a single FT contact but eventually branching out into a series of PT positions, even public school or university level, with a private client base for added security.
From what I've outlined above you should have no problem achieving this goal.
 

Sukotto

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As long as you have:

1. A college degree in anything
2. A necktie
3. A pulse


i guess that leaves me out.

1. don't want a college degree despite having gone a couple years.

so no NOVA for me? drat.
i guess one just has to have priorities, huh?
mine are backwards, i guess.
 

Mike Cash

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i guess that leaves me out.
1. don't want a college degree despite having gone a couple years.
so no NOVA for me? drat.

I also don't have a college degree, despite having gone a couple of years.

i guess one just has to have priorities, huh?
mine are backwards, i guess.

Did you read my list of the basic minimum requirements for a job I wouldn't wish on a dog as somehow being a value judgment on you personally? Or are you just down on yourself as a general thing?
 

Sukotto

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Did you read my list of the basic minimum requirements for a job I wouldn't wish on a dog as somehow being a value judgment on you personally? Or are you just down on yourself as a general thing?


Well, you know how parents are.
Especially when their sister's kids have these career things.
They always want what they think is best for you and the money they paid for part of the college.

maybe l'll check out this list of yours.


baaaaa. it's snowing! finally. it won't stay though.
usually snow stays starting early Nov. around here.
instead recently I've had to wait for the bus in the rain.
 
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