Gaba Corporation Employee Reviews about "bookings"

Updated Sep 8, 2020

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2.9
40%
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Pros
Cons
  • "New instructors are often poorly prepared by the both the training staff as well as the Instructor Support Leaders(in 29 reviews)

  • "Your bookings will definitely depend on the location too(in 27 reviews)

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Reviews about "bookings"

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  1. Helpful (93)

    "I highly advise not to work here"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Gaba Corporation full-time

    Pros

    As an English instructor/teacher in this company, you have a contractor status. They do not offer full time positions if you are an English instructor/teacher. Thus, you can choose your own schedule, take however many days off you want. This is probably the only positive thing about this company. But there are many drawbacks to the contractor status that make it an overall negative aspect in my opinion which I will describe below.

    Cons

    If you want the blunt truth, look here. I will give it to you straight. Of course it is biased because it is from my point of view and I may be leaving some things out that other people find good, but everything I write is not a fabrication or an exaggeration. It is 100% factual. Contractor - As a contractor your income is not fixed per month. It is based on the number of lessons you teach. If you teach 0 lessons in a day, you will get no money. You will just end up sitting there doing nothing all day. This is somewhat scary, because for whatever reason, if there is a slowdown for a particular day/week/month, you will earn significantly less money and struggle to pay your bills. This really hurt during the 2008 financial crisis when lesson bookings went down dramatically. On the flip side, because everyone is a contractor, everyone else may open more availability for themselves to try and get more lessons to teach, so lesson demand goes down, while supply could go up. Pay - This is what a realistic average schedule would look like if you are an average instructor like me. On a weekend, I would open my schedule from 10am to 8:30pm. You are required to show up 15 minutes before your classes, so it's actually 9:45am to 8:30pm. So that's 10 hours and 45 minutes. I would open 4 lessons, take 1 break, another 4, take another break, and another 4. So that's a total of 12 available lessons I open for myself. Out of the 12, 10 will fill. If you are at the lowest belt, (which you will be in the beginning for a while unless you fight for getting belted up), you will get 1500 yen per lesson which equates to 15000 yen for the day. On the weekday, you can not nearly get as much. Because of peak-time lessons (which I go into detail below) you might want to open your lessons from say 3:15 to 10:00 with 1 break scheduled. That's a total of 8 open lessons, and you will probably get about 6 filled. So that's 9000 yen. Personally I never wanted to work more than 1 weekend, so let's say you work 4 Saturdays and 4 weekdays, and 1 national holiday. You'd get 219,000 yen, plus a 6500 yen TNT bonus (which I also cover next). It's really not all that much for the amount of work you do. So if you want more, you really have to work both weekends and all national holidays. Then you might be able to get 270,000 yen or so if you have decent bookings. Benefits - There are basically no benefits, other than the TNT (which I will get into later). You do not get health insurance, unemployment insurance, social security, or transportation covered. The only thing you do get is a bonus based on the number of lessons you teach (TNT), which will be around 10-11,000 yen (unless they've changed it since I've been there) if you teach more than 200 lessons. However, in order to teach 200 lessons, I would have to open up my lesson availability on average around 11 hours for 5 days a week. Gaba will probably want to respond here saying that its 1500 yen for 40 minutes so the math doesn't add up. But you have to understand that not every lesson will be booked. And when you sit around and do nothing, it kind of feels like work. And the 5 minutes between the 40 minute lessons are unpaid, and you generally have to do things, such as use the restroom, type up some notes, mentally prepare for the next lesson, etc. This is something I still consider work. So think of it as 1500 yen as 45 minutes with unpaid lunch breaks, and unpaid coffee breaks. Work time - There are peak time lessons and non-peak time lessons. Peak time lessons are for the first 3 lessons in a day, and the last 7 lessons in the day. Each lesson is 40 minutes, with a 5 minute break afterwards. So peak time starts from 7am and ends at 9:10am, and starts again at 5:30pm to 10:40pm. This is the period when most students come to take lessons, thus you are basically at the mercy of when the highest demand times are. So you can't expect to be teaching much during 9:15 to 5:30 because there just isn't much demand. However, this is what a normal work schedule looks like. So if you want to start working when people with normal jobs are going home, then this may be good for you, however I personally like to eat dinner with my family in the evening and not come home when everyone has gone to sleep. Cleanliness - The cleanliness of the school is largely dependent on where you work. Newer schools are naturally cleaner. I worked there for several years and lived in 3 different places around Tokyo, so I have been to quite a few schools. I have to say, from a distance, the school looks clean, but when you look at the keyboards of the computers, the desks, the staff room, it looks germ ridden. I've seen stains around the sink, microwave, or on the staff room table that have been uncleaned for months. Most schools are like this unfortunately. The actual teaching job - I have to say teaching was somewhat interesting in the beginning. However, once you have taught for a year, the lessons become seriously mind-numbing. You will eventually remember the whole textbook lesson like the back of your hand in a matter of a few months, and then it becomes extremely dull. There is really not much of a challenge, and you will feel like you are repeating the same thing over and over again, like pumping widgets at a factory. Also, a large part of the job is establishing good rapport with your students. I would say about 60-70% of your evaluations from your students are rapport based, and the other 30-40% is on your actual teaching. This is of course understandable because as a customer, you want to be taught from someone who can establish good rapport from you... but because this job is teaching and conversation based, you have to act fake and act animated at all times which took a serious toll on my morale and energy. Unless you want to be 100% game-face the whole time, I would not recommend this job for you. In addition to all of that, depending on the school or area you are in, some students just go there to kill time and talk, and make friends with teachers, or find a foreign girlfriend/boyfriend. So a significant number of "students" will just want mainly free conversation for the majority of the time, and you have to come up with conversation topics that you can talk with them based on their limited English skills. This can be extremely mind numbing sometimes talking about the same mundane topics over and over again. Promotions and careers - The recruiters definitely oversell the prospects of getting out of being an English instructor and actually establishing a career. However, this is largely based on your student's feedback. So if you are a great business developer or a great writer who wants to make textbooks/curriculum for the company, you have to be a good teacher. However, these skills don't quite overlap. If for example you are introverted (as many writers are), you probably won't ever get the opportunity. They will base the overwhelming majority weight on the student's feedback. As I wrote earlier, the feedback is largely based on rapport. So if you can't establish good rapport because you are introverted, no matter how good of a textbook writer you may be, that door will likely be closed for you. Management - In my experience, the managers are not the sharpest. Most of them were promoted due to their "teaching", or rapport they established with their clients. They may have been good at sweet talking to their students to get good evaluations. Based on that, they were able to get a position as the school manager. The upper management generally selects this at the bulk of their criteria, and their ability to run the school is secondary. Thus, this can create a lot of problems, because unintelligent managers end up taking over. On top of that, there is too much conflict of interest between the managers and the teachers. One form of compensation for management is the number of lessons that are taught in a given month. So there are a lot of incentives to bring in more teachers, however this will dilute the number of lessons a teacher can teach in a given day, which creates a lower income for the teachers. Also, the more availability there is for students, the better the school looks from that standpoint. However, more availability for teachers means less money for teachers. I can't believe that the management has still not figured our a solution to this. Either that, or they don't believe it is a problem. My final thoughts - If you don't speak Japanese and want an easy entry into Japan and make money while you're here so that you can have a good time, Gaba might be an okay place to park yourself. But I warn you... Do not get trapped in Gaba. It is easy to do and you will regret it. Look for other options first, and then use Gaba as last resort if you can't find anything else, because Gaba will basically employ anyone.. even people who don't speak English properly. And I'm not even half joking. I've seen plenty of "teachers" who can't even speak proper English. And the weird thing is, they might have some of the best evaluations. Again, because it's the rapport they establish. And Gaba doesn't really care much if the "teacher" is teaching incorrectly because all that matters to them is the client feedback and bottom line.

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  2. Helpful (1)

    "Expect each experience to vary greatly."

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Instructor in Ōsaka, Osaka
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Gaba Corporation for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Some clients can be wonderful to talk to and the Japanese staff are almost exclusively a joy to work with. You only work during your booked lesson slot; any unbooked lesson slots can be closed by speaking with the ISL or Japanese staff. When not in a lesson, your time is 100% your own and you can do with it as you please. So long as the client is happy, you're welcome to develop a lesson style which suits you and your client. GABA, for the most part, won't interfere in your success. Once you develop a bit of experience and a sense of the lesson flow, you can get into any lesson with any client with zero prep time and you realistically don't need to put any effort into the lesson outside of the 40 scheduled minutes.

    Cons

    New instructors are often poorly prepared by the both the training staff as well as the Instructor Support Leaders. They are made to believe GABA to be much more rigid and teaching focused than it is. New instructors are often pushed to go after certifications and supplementary training which tends to work in their detriment financially. Different Learning Studios may have vastly different cultures and have massive implications on your success and satisfaction. You can expect management changes at least once or twice a year, sometimes for better and often for worse. There is zero job security. Those with a comfortable client base can expect to see the same clients week in and week out, but it might take a truly personable instructor six months to a year to develop such a client base. While even woefully incompetent instructors can't get fired from GABA, it is hardly rare for a significant percentage of instructors to languish with mediocre booking rates and dismal paychecks.

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  3. COVID-19
    Helpful (2)

    "It's working"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    Current Contractor - Instructor in Funabashi, Chiba
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Gaba Corporation

    Pros

    Well... First it pays decent per hour, but that assumes you get the lessons. Scheduling is the biggest pro.

    Cons

    ...Connected to the first is that if you don't have lessons. For example, our current situation now with COVID19, you won't get many bookings or lessons. More free time, but less money...

  4. Helpful (4)

    "Good money to be had, with caveats..."

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - English Instructor in Tokyo
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Gaba Corporation for more than 10 years

    Pros

    The base per-hour rate is only 1,500 yen per lesson, but it is possible to get more if you move up to higher belts, or do specialised lessons. Most of the Japanese staff in the learning studio are very friendly.

    Cons

    1. It has become next-to-impossible to move up to the top two belt levels, despite many openings being available. Even if you meet the criteria, the company can simply decide not to move anybody up without needing a reason; 2. You only get paid for lessons that are taught, and management regularly move lessons to other instructors if the client didn't specifically select you. This is often done the evening before, so your chances of the lesson re-booking vary wildly depending on how busy the schedule is; 3. You get no support from the company if the client decides they don't like you and makes up some bogus story about your speaking speed or attitude - there is no way to prove it false and the company always sides with the client because they bring in the money; 4. A flexible schedule used to be a big drawcard for this company. Previously your schedule would be fine as long as it was submitted by the 10th of the previous month, and you were able to make adjustments as much as you wanted up until that date. Now you need to submit it as early in the previous month as you can because you are competing for places on the schedule. Management will withhold your entire schedule if they are unhappy about even a single lesson slot you submitted, and until you fix that lesson slot other people will be given a place ahead of you. Also, if you need to make any changes once the schedule has been submitted and accepted by the manager, you need to go directly to the manager to make any changes, even though it is before the 10th. The flexibility has been largely hamstrung by these changes, but the company still claims the changes are in the best interests of the instructors; 5. Some bonuses are only available at select learning studios. Other learning studios don't offer the same opening hours, so it is impossible to get the bonus at those learning studios.

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  5. COVID-19
    Helpful (1)

    "Good if their style fits your needs. Probably not good if you are looking for stability."

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Instructor, English in Tokyo
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Gaba Corporation for more than a year

    Pros

    Schedule flexibility! I doubt there is any other company in Japan which allows its contractors to have full control over working days and times and submit their availability a month in advance. Great if you are looking to lead a self-paced lifestyle, as opposed to a 9-to-5 routine. Not much supervision after you get through the initial period, leaving you with relative freedom as to how to lead your lessons. Overall very relaxed atmosphere and no need to stress over unspoken communication, which was a big problem for me, an European, while working for more typical Japanese companies previously.

    Cons

    Many employees have already mentioned this - your open lessons won't all book. Before Covid-19 I used to get around 80% of my schedule booked every month though (and I'm definitely not one of the more popular instructors). Your bookings will definitely depend on the location too. However, how the situation changes after Covid-19 is anybody's guess.

  6. "Good for what it is"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Instructor 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Gaba Corporation part-time

    Pros

    Flexible schedule, no need to take work home

    Cons

    No guaranteed bookings, little sense of community/culture

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  7. Helpful (1)

    "Flexible but flawed"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Instructor in Tokyo
    Doesn't Recommend

    I have been working at Gaba Corporation for less than a year

    Pros

    Flexible schedule, easy learning materials.

    Cons

    Waiting for bookings to fill is stressful. There is a culture of favouritism. Initial certification information and reality of job is not aligned.

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  8. Helpful (6)

    "The Blackest of Black Companies"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - English Instructor in Tokyo
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Gaba Corporation for more than 3 years

    Pros

    None. Literally Zero pros. They say that you can “choose your own schedule” but restrict your ability to do so to the point where it’s no longer an advantage.

    Cons

    - No salary - No control over one’s own schedule - Responsible for covering all of your business costs, filing your own taxes, and no remuneration for travel etc. - Unable to close lessons slots without permission - Unable to refuse to teach clients if you don’t want to teach them - Frequent sexual harassment It’s ironic how, being an English Instructor, I can’t find the words that do justice to articulately express my abjectly disdain for Gaba Corporation. The company is a technically legal scam. They exploit and lie to their clients, and they exploit and lie to their supposedly “independently contracted workers”. Clients at Gaba pay in excess of ¥5000 for a 40 minute, non-peak lesson. Instructors are remunerated 1500¥. At peak times, clients can pay over ¥7000 for a 40 minute lesson. Instructors are still only remunerated ¥1500 unless they’ve managed to pry a “belt” from Gaba’s iron fist and can then be paid from an extra ¥100 up to an extra ¥700 for a peak lesson only. However, after having worked their for almost 3 years, I and many other instructors who had worked for similar durations were only belt A (no extra incentive) or belt A2 (a meagre extra ¥100). Gaba sells itself on being a company in which instructors can “choose their schedule” and have an “uncapped earnings potential”. Both of these statements are technicalities. In January 2019, one of Gaba’s studios forced their instructors to submit their schedules on the 1st of the month whereas before, they were permitted to submit a schedule up until the 10th of the month. However, Gaba also reserved the right to refuse instructors any lesson slots Gaba deemed “met supply demand” and instructors had in some cases, 40% of their requested schedules declined for submitting after 9:00am on the 1st day of the month. In order for the instructors to secure enough lessons to pay their finiancial obligations, they sat up until midnight to hurriedly submit a work schedule for the following month. And to close a lesson that was unbooked and the instructors don’t want to teach, these so-called “self employed” workers are required to request permission from an Instructor Support Leader (ISL); some of whom blackmailed the instructors to keep the lessons open (the ISL team are given financial bonuses for the number of lessons opened in their Learning Studio). Blackmail usual pertained to say things like “I guess you don’t want a belt, then”. Clients are given an ability to rate their instructors’ lessons on an online evaluation system ranking from 1 star to 5 stars. In the event a client rates their instructor 1, or 2 stars, Gaba classifies it as a “Negative Evaluation”. The client goes into Gaba to explain their evaluation with a member of staff, and the respective instructor who is supposedly self-employed begins Gaba’s disciplinary system in which they may receive verbal or written warnings and the ability to receive a belt is suspended until a 3-month probation period is completed with the instructor receiving no negative evaluations. Sounds fair, right? The thing I haven’t mentioned is that clients can give negative evaluations for ANYTHING deemed to be “within the instructor’s control” including wearing fragrance the client doesn’t like, drawing pictures on the lessons notes if the client doesn’t like them, having body art that’s even remotely visible, yawning, sitting in a position that the client doesn’t like, speaking too quietly, speaking too quickly, not speaking enough, speaking too much, and the list goes on exhaustively. And with the negative evaluations and their unfairly broad categories, the Japanese staff who recommend instructors to clients are of course less inclined to recommend any negatively evaluated clients; lowering one’s booking rate and in some cases, preventing instructors from receiving any lessons which has happened to me. GABA is a company that is “technically legal”, but if they operated in a country that gave non-Japanese people fair rights as workers, they would be sued for every penny they’re worth. This company is the Blackest of Black companies.

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  9. "English Teacher GABA Review"

    4.0
    Current Contractor - English Teacher in Tokyo

    I have been working at Gaba Corporation for more than a year

    Pros

    This job offers flexibility with choosing your schedule. You don't have to find your own clients.

    Cons

    If your lessons are unbooked you are not paid. Therefore, your salary can be quite unstable. It takes time to gain a consistent booking rate.

  10. "Fun company but could offer more."

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Gaba Corporation

    Pros

    Flexible working hours, supportive management and plenty of training. Salary is paid on time.

    Cons

    It’s very results-focused environment which may not be suitable for everyone. Salary will vary from month to month because it’s based on booking rates. Unlike most companies in Japan, travel expenses aren’t covered and there aren’t any company benefits.

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Viewing 1 - 10 of 27 English Reviews