Heart English School Reviews

Updated March 8, 2015
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  1. No visa sponsorship until after you relocate & start working

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - English Teacher
    Former Employee - English Teacher

    I worked at Heart English School

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    They hire people who are not native English speakers. People from third world countries. People with thick accents.

    Cons

    They advertise visa sponsorship in the job ads. So you fill out some forms and mail your documents to Japan. Then the school year starts getting closer, and every week you get emails politely explaining why you need to buy plane tickets and find residence before they will assign you to a school. Meanwhile you're wondering why you haven't received any visa documents in the mail yet. If you ask the employees, they tell you that you will receive your work visa in Japan. So they want you to spend thousands of dollars to buy round-trip plane tickets and leave everything behind to relocate for a work visa you may or may not get, for a job that pays the equivalent of $10 USD per hour.

    Advice to Management

    You seem friendly but you can't hid the fact that your business is a scam that takes advantage of the desperate and less fortunate.

  2. Helpful (2)

    Not a good company but useful to get your foot in Japan.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher in Ibaraki (Japan)
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher in Ibaraki (Japan)

    I worked at Heart English School full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    1.The company leaves you alone. You are given no materials though. One of my schools had absolutely nothing.
    2.They rent out cars if you have an international license, albeit for 20000yen! Also you must pay for your own gas. The cars are also in pretty bad condition. My battery dies a lot and the radio doesn`t work. And supposedly I got a good car-.-
    3.They rent you an apartment, which is great when you are new to japan but my apartment was 25000yen more than what it actually went for. (you don`t actually need guarantors, it just make the real estate companies feel better) The 50000yen for renting the appliances is a lie. The rental is with the real estate agency in my town and they dont charge that... Also the real estate place in my town has english speaking staff. Also the futon that Heart sells to you for 6500yen is the same thing at homac for 3500yen.... You can literally buy it the same day they put you in your apartment.
    4.They literally hire anyone. This can be good and bad. I was fresh out of college with a degree in something trivial and no experience teaching and didn`t know Japanese. They hired me. There are some really weird people that they hired.
    5. They wait till the last month to renew contracts so I was able to find another job that pays way more and has many more benefits. Heart tried to keep me by asking if there was anything they could offer me besides giving me more money-,- Thanks for being my stepping stone into Japan!

    Cons

    1.They only gave me a week and a half notice that they would hire me before I needed to be in Japan. They told me it would only take about a month to get my one year visa. The company kept sending me excuses that they needed a different picture but after I sent them 6 passport photos they ended up using the first one and I got my visa on the day I would have become illegal. That means they had my passport for 3 months so even if I wanted to leave I couldn`t.
    Since I had no residency card I couldn`t get a bank account or cell phone.
    2.They rent you a cell phone for 3500yen but you can only make calls. Since I couldnt get a bank account they sent me my money in the mail for 1200yen. Technically I worked for three months illegally for this company.
    3.The meetings every month are the most pointless things on earth. We literally just go there and all the alts complain. Nothing constructive happens. Even when the trainers run the meetings they just talk about things like what you do in your free time at school or something funny or awkward that has happened.
    4.The pay is per day so if you call out no pay. If there is a typhoon, no pay. 14 days of work in a month minus insurance minus 200 for the car = one really tight budget. I don`t have enough to go into Tokyo.
    5.There are no promotions. A man in my city has worked for them for 6 years and has never seen a raise. There are no bonuses. The company makes money off of filling contracts with cities. They care not for their employees.
    6.My training was about 3 hours in Mito before they shipped me off. They decided the city on my last day of training and told me I would need a car(did not think I would drive in Japan). Don`t expect to learn anything or grow from this company.

    Advice to Management

    1.They need better communication in the office.
    2.Pay should be better but then i guess they wouldnt get any bottom feeder contracts.
    3.Hold employee get togethers or enkais or something like a real Japanese company...

  3. Helpful (1)

    bad

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - English Teacher in Chikusei (Japan)
    Former Contractor - English Teacher in Chikusei (Japan)

    I worked at Heart English School as a contractor (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    not much boss supervision. provide rental cars when necessary.

    Cons

    bad pay. bad training/employee support. bad vacation/sick day policies. no bonus or contract incentives. very little co-worker networking

    Advice to Management

    better initial training. better pay/contract incentives. give your employees a company they are proud to work for.

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  5. Helpful (2)

    I am an ALT with Heart Corporation.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - ALT in Ibaraki (Japan)
    Current Employee - ALT in Ibaraki (Japan)

    I have been working at Heart English School full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    I have liked working with Heart for the past 2 1/2 years. The school that I am currently teaching at has a great atmosphere, students, and faculty. I realize that every situation is unique, especially in Japan, but I would encourage current ALTs to keep a positive attitude about your surroundings and your employers. It makes a huge difference!

    Cons

    The pay is low. That's really it. I've heard some complaints from other current/former employees, some of which are valid. I encourage anyone thinking of coming to Japan to teach to thoroughly do some research online before deciding on such a venture. Some people, such as I, are enjoying it to the fullest. Others absolutely detest it. Find what is good for you (location, hours, etc), and decide from there.

    Advice to Management

    I've had a good relationship with management. I think some more English-able employees might help a bit, as sometimes communication can be a bit difficult. But that's a minute detail; my coordinators (past and present) have been fluent in English and generally helpful with questions that I may have. My advice to management is to screen potential employees more diligently. Sometimes I wonder to myself, "How did this guy/girl get this job?" Just a minor complaint.

  6. Helpful (7)

    Terrible, maybe the worst English school in Japan

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher in Mito (Japan)
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher in Mito (Japan)

    I worked at Heart English School part-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    -They'll hire anyone
    -They will hire and sponsor you from abroad based on only a Skype interview
    -They're an easy ticket into Japan, but...

    Cons

    -They don't pay a lot (11,000 - 13,000 per day)
    -Their UNPAID training process takes three days and lasts 8-9 hours per day
    -They will not help you set up your bank, insurance, residency, cell phone or anything. They want you to figure all of that out, even though you may not speak Japanese. Why would you sponsor someone from abroad and refuse to help them get set up?
    -If you come from abroad, you'll probably end up living in hotel for the first couple of weeks. You have to pay for this. It costs about 3,000 to 4,000 yen per day. They will not reimburse you for this.
    -They will not reimburse you for your travel, your work expenses, your transportation, your housing, or anything really. You have to pay for all of that on 11,000 - 13,000 per day.
    -The car that they offer you is a piece of junk (and you pay for all of its expenses)
    -The apartments that they offer in Ibaraki are terrible. They're valued at about 30,000 per month, but Heart charges you 70,000-80,000 per month.
    -The management is made up of miserable, awkward gaijin who are stuck in Japan because they married Japanese women. Really. The owner is a greedy, old, Japanese man who wants to squeeze as much money out of his teachers as he can. The "trainers" are awkward, weird gaijin who are stuck in Japan for one reason or another. The Japanese management are somewhat bilingual young Japanese women who happen to live in Mito.

    Advice to Management

    You guys are sick. I can't believe that this company is allowed to continue. You should ask yourself "Is this really what I should be doing with my life?"

  7. Helpful (2)

    Not the worst

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - ALT in Koshigaya (Japan)
    Former Contractor - ALT in Koshigaya (Japan)

    I worked at Heart English School as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    I was paid a monthly salary and paid on time. They gave me a visa and hired me from abroad.

    Cons

    The people in maangement are rude and offer zero support. I was sick once and called in appropriately as I should. While I was asleep, my manager found his way to my house, let hself inside and woke me up, nude and sick, in my house, without me being aware. I'm sure it was to make sure I was sick. When my contract ended there was no notice that I wouldn't be able to renew. If I hadn't been prepared to move I would have been stuck in an apartment in Japan with no money, no friends and no job. But the pay was OK. Not good. But not bad. Bad is A.C.U.P. Heart paid for vacation days and was a set salary.
    At the same time, I worked for 2 months on a tourist visa before I got my work visa. I was instructed to lie about it if every asked about it. They said this in email so I was certain to conver myself if I got into trouble.
    But pay was on time.

    Advice to Management

    Either don't treat your employees like children, or don't hire people that behave like children. Heart does not treat their employees warmly or as an adult.

  8. Helpful (2)

    Mixed

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - ALT in Mito-shi (Japan)
    Former Contractor - ALT in Mito-shi (Japan)

    I worked at Heart English School as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    They will hire almost anybody; they'll sponsor people from overseas

    Cons

    The housing they offer is way overpriced; the training is a bit excessive

    Advice to Management

    Training can be condensed; company apartments are way overpriced; be more helpful to employees who just arrived from overseas

  9. Helpful (2)

    A terrible company that looks at employees as easily exploitable sources of money.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - ALT English Teacher in Ibaraki (Japan)
    Current Employee - ALT English Teacher in Ibaraki (Japan)

    I have been working at Heart English School full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Very easy to get a job with them, as they are very desperate due to very high employee dropout rates (as they treat employees terribly). Also very hard to get fired from (one employee was told to leave by the prefecture by school board, due to 'grooming' the kids, however Heart just moved him to a different location).

    Cons

    Blatantly lie to employees before and after you start working for them (if you apply from overseas, expect the contract, working conditions, etc to have changed once you've arrived). THey also tell new employees they have a high rate of retaining ALTs, when the vast majority quit after 1 year (about 10% quit before then). In general they lie to employees about everything they can, assuming it makes them money. They get a substantial placement fee for putting each ALT in a school, regardless of whether you stay for the whole contract. Anything after that is just extra money for them, hence they have gotten away with such terrible business practices.
    If you get hospitalized or sick for more than a few days they get really nasty and abusive. One ALT had a very bad infection in his mouth (hence couldn't speak) and Heart harassed him for days telling him to go into school or be fired.
    Contract mentions paid vacation days - you never get these. They just say 'sorry its inconvenient for us, try again later'.
    Supply apartments that are massively overpriced, even in comparison to other ALT companies. This is due to their laziness when it comes to caring for employees. They mention a refundable deposit, however it is doubtful you will get it back due to stipulations in the contract.
    They use housing to trap ALTs into working for them. If you quit the company then you have to vacate you apartment that day.
    ALTs get visas about 2 months after starting work, meaning you have to work illegally for the first few weeks. Their comment on this is; 'don't worry about it, just keep working' or 'the guy who normally takes care of visas is off'.
    Zero prospect for a raise. One employee worked with them for 6 years without being given a raise, despite repeatedly asking for one.
    Wages vary widely between employees doing the same job in the same area. Last year one ALT was on 180,000yen a month and was told that all employees in the area earned the same. She later found out an identical ALT (same Experience, hours, schools, etc) was getting 210,000 a month.
    Very little actually DONE to help ALTs. They will tell you plenty of common sense stuff, but anything that requires actually putting any effort in on your behalf will not be done.
    No bonuses of any type offered, giving no incentive to work harder or continue employment.
    They will look for any excuse to deduct pay from you. For instance, if you are asked to spend the day in school but not actually teaching English (ie. being force to help with school festivals, events, English speaking competitions, etc) you will not get paid for that day (Note: in this circumstance the school board still pays Heart corporation the daily wage that should go to you, however Heart just keep it for themselves).
    Generally disorganized. Often wont inform you of schedule changes till last minute, wait last minute to give you your schedules, contract, visas, etc and always blame the school board (Note; the school boards will often give heart the information weeks in advance, however they don't inform you until the last minute).

    Advice to Management

    Completely restructure the business from the ground up. Remove all upper management, recruiters and most of office staff. Model the business off other schools, instead of trying to undercut them with no regard for the future.

  10. Helpful (1)

    Good beginner's job in Japan

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - ALT in Kawagoe (Japan)
    Current Employee - ALT in Kawagoe (Japan)

    I have been working at Heart English School full-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Recommends

    Pros

    Leave you alone but reply quickly if you need help

    Cons

    Not really a career, Wage deduction during certain months

  11. Helpful (3)

    Less than optimal ALT company to work for

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Contractor - ALT in Chikusei (Japan)
    Current Contractor - ALT in Chikusei (Japan)

    I have been working at Heart English School as a contractor (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Management mainly stays out of your way if you do a fairly good job and show up to your job on time and do not call in sick often.\

    Not a very heavy work load, I had an average of 4-5 classes a day and plenty of free time to prepare for lessons compared with other teaching jobs I've had in the past.

    Cons

    Little inter-departmental communication. I had told them my available start date after my contract with my previous employer was finished, and was offered a job that started a month earlier than my available date. When I contacted the person who e-mailed me, he said he had no knowledge of what I had communicated to another employee and had a rather "take it or leave it" attitude about it. Upon further communication with the original person I contacted I was able to negotiate a different position that satisfied my available start date.

    Training was a 2-day waste of time. Not recommended if you are an entry-level teacher with little or no experience teaching. They basically go over company policies and do little to prepare you for your actual lessons or teaching techniques. Your basically thrown into the deep-end on your first day at school and you either sink or swim.

    Salary is under what an average ALT makes, there is ample vacation time in August and December, but little money to spend on travel or entertainment when you do have the days off.

    Do not offer insurance to their employees and the National Insurance can be expensive if you've already worked a year in Japan (around ¥30,000/mo in my case). Also, rent is unreasonably high, all utilities are included in the base rent if you use them or not and you are charged extra if you use over your limit.

    Was not offered a salary increase if I chose to re-contract with them.

    Highly NOT recommended if you are new to Japan or looking for a long-term career.

    Advice to Management

    Get more competent staff and put more effort to give new teachers the tools necessary to become effective and fun teachers. Give teachers an honest salary and try to be reasonable and flexible about apartment rental rates and offer benefits or compensation for insurance/travel/etc.

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