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JoyTalk Reviews

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  1. Helpful (6)

    "Weird Company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher, Kindergarten
    Current Employee - Teacher, Kindergarten
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at JoyTalk full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The company really helps you get set up at your school. Some of the staff is really great to communicate with about issues regarding the school of if you are sick. They have more of a community around the workers. Other companies don't really have that so it's nice to see. Honestly the best part is that they leave me alone for the most part. I have been working for a long time in Japan now and I know what I'm doing. It's nice to just be left to teaching without strangers coming into my room to watch or meetings etc. my school reports that my work is good and I'm left to my own devices.

    The company does seem to care if you do have issues though. I know some others have gotten sick and the company went out of their way to help which was nice.

    I've heard that they lie. This has not been my experience. (It could be true though) I was told I would receive a pay raise on my new contract. The pay raise matches what was told. Great. I was told I would work eight hours a day and eat lunch with the students. I do. I was told sometimes I have to come in on Saturday for cultural events. I have.

    Cons

    Management can be so unprofessional. It's shocking. One of the trainers said gross sexual things about a Japanese teacher at my school during training. Ok....
    Training itself felt like a joke. It didn't help at all. I don't know what the point was. Sometimes when you have a question for management they tell you "that's a question for so-and-so." Then they give you that persons email. Why not just forward the email? What the heck? I know its small but it shows that they don't really know how to manage. Which is unfortunate because they are managers.
    If I had to work with management often I would absolutely leave but I don't so it isn't a big deal for me.

    The company pays less then other similar programs. Especially for Kindergarten teachers. Other companies pay more and offer better training for Kindergarten teachers who teach grapeSEED.

    Advice to Management

    The trainers should be trainers. I have not met a trainer at the company that I liked. They are all very rude and inappropriate.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Kindergarten Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Bilingual Kindergarten Teacher in Utsunomiya-shi (Japan)
    Current Employee - Bilingual Kindergarten Teacher in Utsunomiya-shi (Japan)
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at JoyTalk full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Attentive staff- The Japanese staff that helps you with your living situation is responsive and will help you when you’re feeling ill.

    Pay is okay considering that you’ll be placed in the more rural areas.

    Grapeseed opportunities with schools and the training was amazing.

    Provides little involvement with school and it’s curriculum structure.

    Cons

    You’ll only get half your salary within the first 3 months if you sign in with an apartment.

    The transfer you from one location to another for the benefit of the company.

    Company training was so bad. The trainer didn’t look motivated and could’ve synthesized his presentation/content according to the individual he’s talking to. He was also racist to non Native passport holders.

    Advice to Management

    Please make more solid contracts for teachers to just remain in one location and raise the pay grade.

  3. "Good"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - English Teacher in Tochigi, Tochigi (Japan)
    Current Employee - English Teacher in Tochigi, Tochigi (Japan)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at JoyTalk full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    quick hiring process, smooth initiation

    Cons

    bad and slow communication with employees

    Advice to Management

    please improve communication


  4. Helpful (2)

    "ALT"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Tochigi, Tochigi (Japan)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Tochigi, Tochigi (Japan)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at JoyTalk full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Middle management actually cares about the teachers.

    Generally good camaraderie within the company.

    Helpful in moving and getting settled in Japan.

    Better-than-average ALT company.

    Cons

    No room for advancement (general criticism of the industry).

    Certain processes are slow and you won't get any updates if you don't ask for them.

    While overall a better-than-average dispatch company, there aren't any outstanding points that distinguish it from any other ALT company.


  5. Helpful (7)

    "Assistant Language Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher in Ujiie (Japan)
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher in Ujiie (Japan)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at JoyTalk full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    They are a below average to average dispatch company. It's a difficult dynamic within a difficult system.

    The Japanese staff is very friendly and, generally, try to be helpful.

    A lot of power lays at the hands of the schools and Boards of Education.

    Cons

    1) Management is a nightmare. It's a top down problem. The people at the top have gotten lazy and don't really do much beyond delegate to underlings. The middle management has no real power so they are essentially useless. But that does not prevent them from going on a power trip.

    2) Don't believe ANYTHING they tell you. They will tell you during the interview that you will make X amount, then when you arrive in Japan inform you that some "contract issues" came up and cut your salary before you've even started. They will wait until the last week or two of school to let you know that they are moving you/cutting your salary/not renewing your contract, by which point it is far too late to find another job. In short, they are deceptive. There are some silver tongued Devils that can spin very well, but it's worth less than a grain of salt.

    3) As previously stated, the "training" is far from useful. They are militant about attendance, but you will be hard pressed to get anything of value out of it.

    4) Their contracts and business practices are incredibly shady. A couple employees reported them to the labor bureau for wage theft among other things. Be prepared to sign a weighty contract with a significant amount of empty threats and borderline illegal penalties/work requirements.

    5) As stated above the Boards of Education and the schools have a lot of power, unfortunately, a byproduct of that is that the teacher (and the company) have almost none. In short, if you have any problems/issues, they will be blamed on the teacher. The company will not have your back. You will be expected to amend your behavior, whether you know what it is that you did or not. And you will not be permitted to bring it up with anyone.

    6) Others have mentioned the pay and benefits situation. It's all true. The pay is not a living wage. You will not save money unless you are debt free. You will live paycheck to paycheck. You are better off getting out of the company apartments as quickly as possible. Find your own place. No pension. No health insurance.

    7) This isn't really a criticism of the company. The areas where the bulk of their contracts are held are largely economically depressed regions. It is not uncommon for the teacher to be the only foreigner in an area. This isn't a problem generally, but if you are coming from abroad with no contacts in the area it can be quite isolating.

    8) The schools and Boards of Education do not know how bad your salary and working conditions are, they assume the company is above board. So they can be as demanding of you as they are any other teacher, but the ALT is on the lowest rung of the professional ladder. The company will just tell you to do what you're told.

    Advice to Management

    Fix the things mentioned above. Especially the shady and borderline illegal practices. Treat your employees like people, rather than expendable commodities. Stop lying. A change in leadership is probably necessary for a true change in the culture of the company.


  6. Helpful (4)

    "A caring dispatch company"

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

    I worked at JoyTalk full-time

    Pros

    Assistant language teacher jobs are a dime a dozen in an industry that is underappreciated and undervalued; however the rewards of the job (living abroad, teaching English, meeting people, etc.) are certainly worth it, and the company you work for can make a huge difference. Many of the dispatch companies out there don't really care for their teachers nor expect for them to grow as individuals and professionals. In many dispatch companies, ALTs are just a number and a figure on sales charts and marketing campaigns. At Joytalk, though, I felt like I was not only cared about but also looked after. Top managers and coordinators were quick to help with any need I had and were in my corner when there were communication problems between at school.

    Joytalk also supported my efforts to continue my education by working with my schedule and school placement.

    Overall the experience at Joytalk has been a positive one.

    Cons

    As mentioned above, there are some downsides to the industry itself (underappreciated and undervalued); however, this has little to do with Joytalk.

    If I were to claim any con to working at Joytalk, it would be that they can be a little slow in responding to emails. The management is far too overworked.

    Advice to Management

    Hire more full-time managers and specialize the work duties of management so that you can focus more on one set of things instead of trying to do everything at once.

    Provide more advancement opportunities for employees. Maybe leader positions or head teacher positions at your language schools.

    Be more prompt with information and communication.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Just your average ALT company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - ALT
    Current Employee - ALT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Quite helpful in the beginning and throughout parts of the year. The coordinators helped move me into my apartment and get a rental car to use for work. The couple times I needed assistance, I felt relatively comfortable asking them for help, although it could take up to a few days before I got a response.

    Cons

    Joytalk suffers from the same problems that plague other ALT dispatch companies.

    - The pay is abysmal and it difficult to save up any money. You will have to pay for health insurance since it is not covered by the company, despite working full-time.
    - Training is an awful waste of a time, and incurs a pay reduction of 10,000 yen for missing a day of it. Apparently, it has gotten better over the years, but if it weren't for the money I would see little reason to attend these sessions. Orientation was reasonable, but hardly prepared you for what you would actually experience in a Japanese school.
    - No benefits, no opportunities for advancement. This is a dead end job, and the ALT business is pretty seedy as it is.

    All in all, ALTs receive very poor treatment, and Joytalk is no different than most other low-end dispatch companies. At the end of the day, I am wondering if Joytalk will be able to renew my contract or possible relocate me. Guess we'll see in the upcoming months.

    Advice to Management

    Pay more, treat your employees better, and while you are at it, get rid of training outright.

  8. Helpful (2)

    "It was good at first..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - ALT in Fujisawa, Kanagawa (Japan)
    Current Employee - ALT in Fujisawa, Kanagawa (Japan)
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at JoyTalk full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    When I started, things were okay. Had to drive, but they helped me get a car (rental.) And one of the coordinators took me shopping for things for my apartment. The middle management staff is usually pretty helpful, but they are (as others have said) few and overworked.

    Cons

    Contracted to work at several different schools, for long days (between 6.5-8.5 hours) but with little to do. Some schools didn't have me teaching often and I wouldn't be able to do much besides sit in the teachers room. A lot of people like getting paid to sit on their butt... Not me, I was so bored. I know that is the school...but still.

    ALT training is required and you are penalized if you don't attend (about 11,000 yen per one day missed!!) and it's a total joke. The training did get better for one or two sessions but it went way downhill from there. Trainers don't agree on things, and talk down to teachers who might speak up against them, and treat the teachers in training like children.

    I moved within the company this year to a different position and I feel like things have really hit the fan for me. The website says that they offer relocation assistance, but be forewarned it was VERY minimal. There is not much help in the actual moving process at all. There was a lot of misunderstanding between my school and the company, and a LOT of things that JoyTalk probably knew about this position and didn't tell me about.

    There is very little room for advancing within this company.
    Pension is not *usually* paid but in some specific circumstances.
    Health insurance is not paid.
    Contracts are not guaranteed. Placements are not guaranteed.
    Reimbursement for travel is usually decided by the Board of Education, but not ever equal to what you will spend.
    No end of contract bonus, paid holidays are lost if you don't use them (even if you're a longer term employee.)
    Overtime is not paid, unless it is specifically organized by the company (for example, staying late for after school activities will be unpaid, but teaching classes for JoyTalk's English conversation schools *might* be. <-special cases, it might not be.

    Advice to Management

    Go back to cashing out unused sick days at least, that might encourage people from just taking off willy nilly. Try to stop hiring people just to be warm bodies and actually work with the BOE's you have currently to keep them happy, rather than focusing on getting new contracts elsewhere. Hire more help and pay them a decent wage so they can live and work for you only. Don't be so vague with your long-term employees and their employment circumstances, and DON'T LIE.


  9. "Paid Health Insurance and Good Company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - ALT in Saitama (Japan)
    Current Employee - ALT in Saitama (Japan)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    They provide you with a health insurance and it's paid for. Meaning you don't have to go through the city hall and register nor use a booklet. Once they give you the card, you're able to go to a clinic and pay for the amount there. Meaning you don't have to pay monthly because it's paid for already.Plus they do on site health checks and they have a great support team ;)

    Cons

    The management can be a bit cheesy and unorganized but they get stuff done!

    Advice to Management

    None


  10. Helpful (5)

    "do not apply!"

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

    Pros

    none at all for this company
    Only bright side is probably working with the kids

    Cons

    this company is a joke.
    They give you promises at first but once you sign in Japan none of that is true.
    The apartments they find for you are super expensive.
    With the extremely low salary they pay you, you will have enough only for rent, and some food.
    The upper management is a joke, no help at all, and very unprofessional.

    They lose contracts and therefore cannot guarantee a renewal for your visa.

    Avoid this company at all costs

    Advice to Management

    none