It's hardly surprising that Berlitz would eventually come to the Inspector's attention. I was actually looking into Japanese EFL school working conditions when my jaw dropped upon spotting an actual Berlitz Teachers' Union in Japan. Apparently over one thousand poor souls labour away reciting the mantra that is the Berlitz method. Berlitz has no connection with the phrase books, that bit was sold off years ago, though nobody knows and they certainly don't advertise the fact.
I'll add to the Berlitz story over the months to come and look into what they get up to in different countries, but suffice to say, as long as you are a native speaker and are able to consider yourself as a kind of sub-species of the human race by reciting their boring method, you'll do.
Want to create interesting lessons? Forget it!
Want to be something other than a parrot? Forget it!
Want to be paid a decent wage? Forget it!
Oh, The Japanese Berlitz Teachers' Union can be found here.
The front page gives a pretty good idea of the problems you'll face working or rather labouring at Berlitz in Japan. I quote:
"The Berlitz Union was formed in 1993 to provide support for Berlitz instructors within Japan. Our formation was in response to the rapidly deteriorating conditions at Berlitz Language Centers"
Well worth the Inspector digging deeper, wouldn't you say?
Update 18 January 2007.
1. Big Brother (1984 style not the TV nonsense) has arrived with CCT in classrooms. The main shareholder is apparently in the world's list of the top 500 richest men and as for the teachers pay rise forget it. Read on be grateful that you aren't there. Read this update
2. Another insight into life in Berlitz Japan and the general ongoing cheating of teachers, regarding travel time, and an amazing revelation that 1,000,000 + people "nip" out to learn "Engrish". Read and imagine a class full of Japanese singing "Oh Lovely Liverpool Lou my Lovely Liverpool Lou" which I have on good authority sound like "Ruvly Riverpool Rue". The Inspector still mutters in inebriated moments (usually down to an excess of fermented Yak's Milk) about the Japanese Government censoring of school books in particular Japanese atroctities during World War 11 and the collective Japanese amnesia regarding "The Rape of Nanking".
Also confirmation that The Land of the Rising Bum's EFL schools tend to cheat teachers with regard to health insurance. So you had better not get run over by some lunatic kamikaze driver.
Inspector McHammered of the Lard
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