Heart English School
1.6 of 5 22 reviews
heart-school.jp Mito, Japan 150 to 499 Employees

Heart English School Reviews

Updated Apr 21, 2014

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1.6 22 reviews

                             
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    Not the worst

    ALT (Former Employee)
    Koshigaya (Japan)

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

    ConsThe 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 Senior ManagementEither 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Mixed

    ALT (Former Employee)
    Mito-shi (Japan)

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

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

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

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    1 person found this helpful  

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

    ALT English Teacher (Current Employee)
    Ibaraki (Japan)

    ProsVery 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).

    ConsBlatantly 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 Senior ManagementCompletely 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Good beginner's job in Japan

    ALT (Current Employee)
    Kawagoe (Japan)

    ProsLeave you alone but reply quickly if you need help

    ConsNot really a career, Wage deduction during certain months

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Less than optimal ALT company to work for

    ALT (Current Employee)
    Chikusei (Japan)

    ProsManagement 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.

    ConsLittle 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 Senior ManagementGet 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Illegal practices abound

    ALT (Former Employee)
    Setagaya (Japan)

    ProsDidn't have to talk with management too frequently

    ConsWell below living wages, Company offers apartments with rates higher than average and charge for utilities even if you use less than the amount charged. If you use more than that amount they charge more.

    Claim semi-full time, but you are expected to give 35+ hours per week to the company.

    After giving notice they tried to illegally terminate my contract. They refused to change their mind until I said that I would go to the labor bureau the next day. They tried to justify this by saying that it was done in the interest of the BOE.

    Staff emails you saying that you need to call. They do not reimburse for travel, cell phones, or insurance. Even though they have a legal obligation to provide Shakai Hoken, they claim that teachers only work 27 hours so that they can avoid this.

    They have a non-compete clause in their contract. These are non-enforceable, and go against the Japanese constitution.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPay employees what they are due and stop trying to suck every yen from their blood.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Abusive Company

    Assistant Language Teacher (Current Employee)
    Tokyo (Japan)

    ProsEasy work. I can't think of anything else.

    Cons1) The company does not pay for transportation, insurance or anything else
    2) I had to stay in school even if there weren't any classes for that day (ie sports day)
    3) I wasn't told that I'd have to bring my own drinks on the first day (No vending machine within the school)
    4) I got paid 9,000 per day and only worked maximum of 14 days a month , if i were lucky. Most months I worked only 10 days. you can't make enough to survive.
    5) No pay or allowance during the summer break
    6) Racist. Racist. racist.
    basically a shitty company to work for who wants to make off you as much as they can
    There is no future for you in this company. It's very one-sided.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    2 people found this helpful  

    The meanest, lousiest, cut throat school on the face of the planet.

    ALT English Teacher (Former Employee)
    Ushiku, Ibaraki (Japan)

    ProsThe students are really lovely. I had a wonderful time with some of the younger children however the workload is quite horrendous. The food is delicious when nice Japanese people take you out. (I couldn’t afford to buy much food for myself due to the lack of income)

    ConsThe head of staff is rude, mean and abusive. The main owner is sarcastic and he threatened me more than once. They don’t care about the workers at all. I was treated as a slave. I was not paid what was promised. The accommodation was not good. Too small (and a slight cockroach problem) I had the rent deducted from my pay 60,000 yen, later I found out the normal rent was only 30,000 yen, when I asked why this difference they said to pay for the furniture. The pay was supposed to include overtime but didn’t. It was below what is needed to live in Japan.

    Advice to Senior ManagementI really think you need to understand what the word “Heart” means before calling your school something of which you have absolutely none of.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    They were honest and straightforward, never leaving me feeling taken advantage of.

    ALT (Former Employee)
    Urayasu (Japan)

    Pros- Long vacations
     - Low end of decent salary for most months (August was half-pay, but you work ZERO DAYS that month!)
     - No surprises about anything, ever
     - Make no trouble, they stay out of your hair
     - No racist hiring policies. (They hire all walks of life if their English level is sufficient. They do not deny blacks, Asians, non-UK Europeans, etc. You don't have to look North American. I say this from the perspective of the whitest person from North America you'll ever (or never) know.)

    Cons- Insufficient training

    I recall in particular, the first day of training we were supposed to introduce ourselves. The first few introductions went smoothly, and then one person decided to do it in Japanese. I was on the far end of the class so after that person finished, the twenty people or so following that person all gave their introductions in Japanese. I thought that was very wrong, but nobody (the trainer, the coordinators, the managers) was saying anything. Finally, about five people from the end, just before me, someone came up front and gave us a verbal scolding for not using English, because what do the kids (students) get out of it? And of course that's 100% right, but it meant that the WHOLE introduction activity was a waste of time because they sat on that basic piece of guidance for 90% of the activity.

    That is one example. Even outside of this, the only really helpful advice they gave us was dealing with school staff. Now that definitely IS useful information to have. However, they spent about five minutes talking about how to plan lessons, which is the most important part of daily work. They said "use the three P's: presentation, practice, and production." And that is a great format, but they didn't really explain what that meant, and I didn't really ever learn at that job.

     - Limited support for those living in big cities (You have to find your own apartment. I don't mean that they won't help you financially [which they definitely won't do], but you have to actually find your own apartment. Which was fine for me, but my Japanese helped greatly. If you don't speak Japanese, you're likely to get stuck paying more than you need to on rent and feeling like the company doesn't pay you enough.)

     - No bonuses, no reimbursement for transportation, no health insurance, etc. etc. In other words, standard treatment for the ALT industry.

     - They don't coddle those who just want to skate through and have a couple of easy years in Japan. If you can call that a con.

    Look, they're far from a perfect company. But you have to realize where the company is at fault, and where things can't be helped due to specific boards of education. At least they lay everything out on the line for you up front.

    Advice to Senior ManagementImprove the training program, spend more time on instruction as it relates to teaching in the classroom. Support your Kanto-region ALTs who need help in getting an affordable apartment so that they don't end up feeling underpaid.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    I rather be a homeless than signing a new contract

    Average Joe ALT (Former Employee)
    Kawaguchi, Saitama (Japan)

    ProsIt will depend of which school they throw you in.
    Sometimes the school is nice and staff will help you a lot.

    Cons*August you probably won't work. They will pay you about 100.000 yen. It might sound a great deal, They reduce a little your monthly pay in order to "save" your payment for summer vacation.

    *Check your contract VERY WELL. usually 160.000 Yen BASIC SALARY + 50.000 Yen BONUS for extra hours. This means " does not matter how many hours of overtime you work, you won't be paid".

    *As in other reviews, expect them to email you ONLY. They never call, you are expected to answer the phone at anytime. Try to not answer and you will see.

    *They will "kindly" FORCE you to volunteer in practices for the Speech Contest during summer vacation. It will be offered free time in exchange, time which you won't get.

    *Surprise visits to your lessons: You will be inspected by untrained staff who have no clue about the reality inside schools. What you are going to listen is the same things always.

    *Heart Car rental? Good luck driving that. You might buy better thing for 100K JPY.

    *If you realize you are going to be late, even if 5 minutes, you must call them. On the train? Get out of it and call them. In a car? Stop it safely and call them. Remember: When you are late, the most important thing is to call Heart corp, even if doing that will delay you even more.
    Upon arrival, call them, so they can make sure how many minutes to cut from you fatty payment.

    *Got sick? Oh boy, you are not allowed to get sick. Come back ASAP or good bye.

    * Second, third contract? Expecting to ask for a pay raise? No way dude, you have two options: Same payment or GOOD BYE.

    *From 2014, new contracts will be paid PER WORKED DAY. That sounds fishy, BOEs will continue paying Heart a full month payment. The average month is about 16, 17 worked days. Can you survive in Japan with 152.000 yen (before taxes) a month? Yes, you can. But this is 120.000 yen less than then average proper ALT payment. On this budget you can manage rent, bill and food. No savings at all.

    *Your working hours in the contract will always be 30 min bellow the total required to classify you as a full time worker. This way they escape paying taxes and etc.

    Heart and other DCs are trying to suck all the money they can because this is the last decade of Free ALT blood.

    From 2020 government is planning to change the way English is taught in Japan.

    By the way, according to MEXT of Japan, BOEs are supposed to hire ALTs directly.
    The use of DCs is basically against MEXT laws.

    And of course, they staff that are VERY grumpy and annoying.

    Advice to Senior ManagementLook at you, you must be proud of living based on poor gaijin who are not aware of your wrong doings. Take care people. Your business lifetime has come to an end.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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