Peppy Kids Club - If Teaching Kids be Your Thing, PKC Might be Worth a Look-see
Peppy Kids Club is yet another private English conversation chain school. Run by iTTTi Japan for children from 2.5 years old to high-school aged. As of 2012, Peppy Kids Club has over 1150 locations with an enrollment of 95,000 students and a presence in every prefecture except Okinawa. Wikipedia. The whole operation is run out of the head office in Aichi prefecture in Nagoya and it has a foreign staff of over 400 teachers.
Peppy Kids Club and the Raw Basics
Monthly Salary ¥240,000 (for teachers with full-time work permits.)
Annual Bonus up to ¥80,000 for 1st year teachers Up to ¥130,000 for 2nd year teachers.
Two weeks paid vacation.
Daily commuting expenses are fully reimbursed.
10 paid vacation days for 1st year teachers (increases with length of service.)
Teaching Hours 3 to 4 lesson hours per day (average.)
Lessons are typically scheduled in mid-afternoon and evenings.
Class Size is roughly 6-10 students per class (average.)
Students are about 2.5 – 15 years old.
PKC hires from abroad or outside of Japan.
Visa processing time is the same as most schools - 2 months.
Housing Arrangements for Peppy Kids Club
Housing is made available and is furnished. Reikin, shikikin and other charges are paid by PKC. Or PKC actually owns the building and says they pay key money but regardless you don't fork out money as landlord gifts.
"We usually hold at least one training session every month, so you are welcome to apply anytime during the year.The initial employment period is approximately one year. Teachers who demonstrate exemplary performance during this employment period receive the option of extending."
Hmm... Okay, what exactly does "exemplary" mean. Perhaps we are getting a bit on the subjective side here. All apologies - our bad.
"We look for highly enthusiastic people who will enjoy working with children and teaching them English. We also want people who are able to work independently and meet the challenges of living in a foreign country.
All of our foreign teachers must have complete control of the English language and therefore we focus on native English-speaking candidates" - according to their website.
Our take on this: Primarily they hire from Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Ireland and South Africa, this basically means that similar to Aeon, Geos, Nova Holdings and to some or a minor extent Berlitz and ECC, their hiring managers will favor these candidates over other applicants who may very well be native level fluent but whose passport doesn't make the cut.
In other words a native level fluent applicant who holds a passport from Germany would have trouble getting hired with this organization. However they do hire from other countries if you are fluent enough.
Regarding the application process at PKC, they will require 3 letters of reference. Two must be professional and only 1 can be a personal reference.
Some interview tips for such candidates if you don't hold a passport from the above mentioned countries, if you send a video to the hiring manager really take care regarding your pronunciation and how you come off. Also make sure their is not a single glitch in your resume. and that your cover letter is tight.
PKC & More on the Interview Process
ESL teachers with little or no experience are readily hired by Peppy Kids Club. What exactly does this mean? Basically, youth. Just like the JET Program which in a sense is a cultural and language exchange based program also favors younger teachers.
But honestly, how can you exactly blame them? How many super energetic 60 year old teachers do you know of that could match the shear knock down power of a 25-year-old teacher day in and day out for the duration of the entire teaching year? This situation is quite similar to Amity the children's branch of Aeon and children's based education in general throughout Japan.
Also similar to almost all of the really large English school chains, their recruitment process is basically the same regarding location. You can request, for example, Kyoto in your application but that doesn't mean that they will honor your request so you very well might wind up in Sapporo or some other area.
One thing to note, unlike the JET Program which is notorious for placing their English teachers in quite rural locations, PKC doesn't quite as much. Why? The Market dictates this. Quite simply, there is more money to be made from setting up shop in areas where there is a high enough population density versus viable competitors. Demographics and analysis plays the lead roll. But rural settings happen with fair frequency.
Typical Teaching Environment at PKC
Peppy Kids Club and a Few Notable Differences
Unlike ALT work which is a situation where the ESL teacher is working in the capacity of an assistant with the head language teacher who more or less calls the shots, Peppy Kids Club teachers are not saddled with working under the shadow of the JTE or Japanese head teacher. Make no mistake, this doesn't mean that you are free to take the curriculum into territories you prefer. You'll be given a canned curriculum and will be expected to follow it pretty much to the letter.
Also unlike other private English school branches, the bulk of the teaching at Peppy Kids Club runs off the back of the Japanese teacher. So 75% of a given classes lessons are taught by a Japanese and the remaining 25% is taught by a foreign teacher.
What this means is that you will be rotated through various locations and won't see the same kids again and again. If you are not into developing deep relations with students then it's an ideal job. If not, you might find something lacking. So in a month the Japanese teacher will teach them 3 times and the foreign teacher will only teach them 1 time.
Peppy Kids Club And One More Big Difference
Another notable difference is that unlike your typical ALT type work where ages are cut and dried, you get more variation in ages. What this means is that the classes themselves are more difficult to handle. This, and we are not kidding one XXXXing millimeter here, is exhausting to teachers as it breaks continuity in game structure as well as the class social structure itself.
"What?" Say that again!" Okay we will. It means that if there is a 2 or 3 year age gap in the average age of the kids in the same class, the older kids will finish any given task faster.
"Great. And so?" Glad you asked. What will the older child be doing with the spare 5 minutes he may have on his or her hands while he/she waits for the others to finish? Calculate pi (π) to the 69th digit or run around? Perhaps poke another kid with a pencil? Or sit quietly in a zen pose awaiting further instruction? I think you know the answer to that one.
Comments on Peppy Kids Club From Various Net Sources
So to save you some time, we've done some of the leg work of scouring the internet for comments and aggregating them here for you.
Note: when you see the copy in "quotes" it has been take directly from other internet sources and does not reflect the opinions of staff at this site.
Peppy Kids Club and Some of the Pros
We often hear and read in various forums throughout the internet that often although they advertise 3 to 4 classes per day, it is often 3 and not 4.
Although it may not seem like much at first glance we're talking about nearly one-quarter of reduction in actual work time. One hour is not so much when thought of as a single day but over the course of a year, it adds up.
Some other quotes are "part time work for a full time salary."
"They pay on time and abide by their contract."
"Foreign staff helpful and supportive."
"They take pretty good care of you."
"Training is hard and intense but very helpful" (They use quite a bit of shadowing or observation techniques in their training so you can pick up on how the teacher is actually running the curriculum right there in the classroom.)
"If you are not a morning person, it's an ideal job."
"Application process is easy and straight forward."
Peppy Kids Club and Some of the Cons
Class size can be a bit out of hand at times. Their averages range from 6 to 10 kids. Believe us when we say there's quite a bit of swing / difference between handling 10 kids vs. 6, especially considering you're not getting a support teacher to help you. Read: You better hope their levels are quite similar or you're in for some tough sledding.
Note: PKC is an after school type program meaning it is supplementary education and so like many small eikaiwas that function in the same way may not be considered real education. Take that for what it means.
Here's a crusher that can't be overlooked. Turnover. It exists for a reason and no amount of bull-shitting disinformation, can cover this up. Long time readers of this site know that we believe math doesn't lie. If the organization was the cats meow why is the, get this, Japanese as well as foreign staff turn-over so high? Why does the average duration of employment last roughly 2 years? Hmm...
Some of the Japanese staff can barely put an English sentence together. So if you can't speak Japanese it's going to be tough to get to communicate your points of contention.
"Decent entry level job in Japan but not for the long run."
"If you work for Peppy Kids club, you work on Saturdays."
"I worked for Peppy though it was a number of years ago. A few things you should know: first, it is an after school club...or it was when I worked for then which means you will be working in the late afternoons and evenings rather than during the day and I know that except for on Saturdays I rarely got home before 9pm."
"The hours are also decent but can be ruined if your classrooms are far away. There is a good chance they will be far away if you are placed in a small city or rural town."
"If you don't like kids though, especially rowdy and exuberant ones then this might not be the right job for you."
You have to pay for accommodations during training.