Again I had disappeared for a long period of time and here is why:
I was so stressed from my work that it was starting to affect my mental and physical health. AEON is not for everyone. Some can handle the business and managers of their schools, others are not necessarily if you can handle it, it is more of is your school a good one. And frankly I could not deal with my school anymore nor the manager. If I had been in a different location with a better manager (which is usually the case for teachers who want to move out of their school) it would have been better. I tried to make the situation better for myself but ultimately I cannot change my manager, nor could I change how AEON was going to keep on piling more classes onto my schedule. I was already physically exhausted from standing up all the time, and dealing with coworkers who you don’t get along with whatsoever or classes that stress you out, while all the time putting a smile on your face is quite mentally exhausting.
Don’t get me wrong. Some schools are nice and it feels like your coworkers are your friends and you get along well. Others, sadly, is not that. From my training group alone there are two of us who have already quit, one who is in the process of quitting, and 3 people who will not renew after their year contract. Possibly another person who will not continue after a year, but they are still undecided. So that tells you how stressful this company can be.
They do definitely take advantage of foreigners who don’t know much about Japan and do force a lot of work on you. One of my colleagues has now realized how much they do not care about your health. Let me explain:
She was coming back from being in Canada for about a week for a wedding, and when she messaged them that the flight was being delayed and she has no choice but to get there later than expected, they wanted her to come directly to the office from the airport. They didn’t care that she was already jet-lagged and had been awake for more than 24 hours, plus no time to take a shower nor sleep. And apparently that situation was not dire enough to get an emergency teacher (from their perspective). Ever since then, the working culture has been getting to her little by little and she has been doubting if she can do this for more than a year.
Of course her situation was very strict, but I told her that this kind of strict is not necessarily Japan, it’s more about AEON. Sure Japan is more strict than most countries when it comes to their working culture, (just look at how many days they take off for vacation. . . . not much)but I reassured her of this, and that she can move to another job anytime she wants. She doesn’t have to stay at AEON.
I don’t want to discourage anyone from working at AEON, but I also don’t want to hide their bad parts either. As I mentioned there are some school locations that are worth working for, but you do not have the decision to choose schools so it’s like going in blind. After you talk with other foreign teachers that is when you figure out which schools are good and which are . . . . not so good. The only teachers who can decide where they want to work are the Japanese staff (whether full or part time). Foreign staff are a bit limited in this sense, though as to why I am not sure.
There are some good points. For example, the lesson plan is already there for you to follow. All you need is a few months to get used to it. And it is a good gig if you are working part time. The pay is not bad and they tend to reimburse you for traveling.
As for me, I am officially out of AEON as of last Saturday and I had to move out of my apartment in one day (that is not easy). And they will still need to send me some papers to my new address. But I am sooo happy about this decision. I honestly can say that being at my school was really not good for me at all. I had tried to make the situation better but at the end of the day there are just some things I can’t control and so I had to make the best decision for me and my health. If they hired more staff and spread the work among more teachers, then it won’t exhaust teachers and they wouldn’t have such a high turnover rate.
With that in mind, I have found a part time for now that is willing to sponsor my visa. I have a nice 5 year visa that would be a pain to reapply for. Money will be really tight, but I as much as I hate using money that I saved I’ll have to do that for now. 🙂 And I’m close enough where I don’t have to spend so much on travelling to work. There are some good friends in this area I can rely on and that are willing to help me in bad times. I have some things I do need to settle and resolve within my personal life, but it will have to wait 1 month from now. Shit! 1 whole month!
But I need to have a strong mindset and focus on relaxing. I’ve been too stressed where my sleeping pattern is screwed up and my appetite isn’t what it used to be. But I at least got out of the situation that was inducing these stressors. I’m much happier now and will focus on enjoying the moment. 🙂