Mission: Gaba strives to meet the English language needs of the Japanese community to assist in the globalization of the workforce in Japan. Further, we aim to support and assist our Instructors to thrive within our system, gain new skills, and enjoy their lives in Japan.
The business of providing English conversation lessons is not a new one in Japan. The country's prominence in global trade and commerce has required professionals in a wide variety of industries to speak English. Many more choose to study as a hobby or to enhance their travel experiences. While the language is taught from a young age and most graduates are capable of reading and writing to a respectable standard, many struggle to speak with any degree of confidence. This deficiency has given rise to numerous eikaiwa (English conversation schools), Gaba among them.
First and foremost, English conversation lessons are a service. For those interested in teaching in Japan, an appreciation of the exceptionally high standard expected from any service provider is a must. To be successful as an instructor requires strong teaching and service skills in equal measure. While a challenge, living and working in Japan will redefine your understanding of business and service; new perspectives that can be applied whatever your aims in life.
Japanese have come to prefer studying with native speakers of English for obvious reasons. All the major eikaiwa companies provide this option. Gaba is unique in that all lessons are taught one client at a time. This one-to-one format has been central to the business model from the very beginning. This approach, combined with our innovative teaching materials, technology, and thorough client support has helped us to gain prominence in a competitive industry. Explore each facet of Gaba's service here.
Teaching is about communication and fostering understanding. Teaching English in Japan requires doing so across cultural boundaries. Therefore, success as a Gaba instructor requires strong people skills to bridge these divides. The excitement clients experience from learning something new is one of the biggest rewards of the work and infectious too. As their motivation increases, so does yours as the instructor.
For those who enjoy meeting new people, teaching with Gaba provides no shortage. There are the clients of course, but also the staff and other instructors. Gaba presents a wonderful opportunity to make friends and learn more about Japan, the world, and even the language you call your own. Believe it or not, there are equal numbers of discoveries awaiting both the teacher and student! Read on for more information on each of the clients, the instructors, and staff.
Gaba is a business and as such, we are dedicated to ensuring the satisfaction of all our clients. Teaching as a service might be a foreign concept to some, but it is a well established practice in Japan.
Gaba was founded in 1995 to challenge the norm of the day. English was being taught in group lessons using a formulaic, one-size-fits-all approach. Gaba's innovation: instruct clients one at a time with a focus on each individual's needs. In other words, give a fully customized learning experience.
We set out with a three-fold mission which holds to this day:
When Gaba first started, there were no Learning Studios and lessons were taught in public places such as libraries and cafes. In the year 2000, we opened our first studios to better ensure the quality of our service. Despite Japan's economic bubble having burst by this time, client demand grew swiftly.
Other notable years include 2005 with the opening of our first locations outside of the greater Tokyo area. In 2007, Gaba went public. Our continued success garnered the attention of several large Japanese companies including Nichii Gakkan. A large provider of medical services, they acquired Gaba in the autumn of 2011. Today there are 39 Learning Studios in each of Japan's three largest markets: Kanto, Kansai, and Chubu.
We can only achieve our goals with our greatest asset: quality instructors. Thus, Gaba measures its success by both the satisfaction of its clients and instructors.
Instructors are the foundation of the business. As a current client, I enjoy interacting with our culturally and professionally diverse instructors. My motivation to improve my English is derived from a desire to share dreams and ideas with them. As a company our chief mission is helping people achieve their most audacious life goals. Naturally, this extends to instructors; the flexibility of our contract and scheduling system is ideally suited to individuals pursuing their dreams in Japan.
The eikaiwa industry will remain vital to Japan in the decades to come. If the country is to remain competitive in the global economy, there needs to be a shift from the export of finished goods to highly technical services. Furthermore, an aging population will require the import of skilled labor from abroad. English will be the medium of communication for all. Gaba will be the eikaiwa of choice.
One-to-one lessons from our Learning Studios established the brand. Now a market leader, Gaba's future success calls for both a deepening of our core service and diversification. We are recognized for the quality of our lessons and counseling. We must expand this to new segments such as corporate lessons. Instructors can expect a wider range of teaching options with the potential for even greater flexibility.
Teaching English in Japan is a learning opportunity. Respectful, safe, and welcoming to all comers, our country is a wonderful choice. At Gaba, there is no end to the insights you can gain teaching alongside instructors from over 60 countries and clients from every facet of Japanese society.
President and CEO
I have been working at Gaba Corporation full-time (More than a year)
Of course the schedule flexibility is the main draw. Also, adult students (my other jobs involved teaching kids, which didn't suit me) who are pretty interesting.
If you make the effort you will can get your lesson rate increased, which again is different to other teaching jobs I've had where this option simply doesn't exist. Also, I have friends who moved up to be an ISL, or work on the textbooks etc so some mobility if you want it (personally I prefer to teach).
Decent environment, good company reputation among Japanese people and mostly* decent coworkers (see below).
Another minor point is that things are always changing and being updated - IT systems, text books etc. This is different to what I experienced at other schools in Japan.
While most Instructors are great, there are those who struggle in the position and tend to moan a lot (a vocal minority, see other reviews on here for some prime examples). Tends to be those not so good at dealing with the clients in my experience.
As for the company, it does need to listen to us Instructors more. This is most likely true for every company but it applies to Gaba also.
Better communication about changes would be good, but not a major beef.
Not a con for me, but this is an evenings and weekend position which some don't like (lord knows why they took the job in the first place but there you go).
Advice to Management
As above, open up more lines of communication to Instructors.
Otherwise, keep it up!
I applied online. The process took 7 weeks. I interviewed at Gaba Corporation.
I applied online via Gaijinpot, and within a day or two I received a response asking for basically another application in their format. I found the recruiters very responsive, thorough, kind, and professional. Gaba requires a first interview, then a follow-up interview task prior to asking you for a second interview. The interview task has multiple items including writing a short story to judge creativity, writing out teaching role-plays, and answering questions about Gaba and your intentions/goals. After that is submitted, they will get in touch with you about a second interview. During the first interview, you do a teaching role play that does not count, and they give you feedback. During the second interview, you have 2 role plays - one that you are prepared for and one that is on the spot. They seem to be looking for how well you incorporated their feedback. I was told I'd find out their decision within 2 weeks and I found out on the 13th day. I will say it was impossible to have a feel for whether or not I'd be offered the job, so it's best to just keep busy until you find out!
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