Anthony Griffin, Corporate Division
A few months after joining AEON, the company president stopped by my branch school. He asked me if my experience at AEON matched my expectations. “My experience has exceeded my expectations,” I enthusiastically replied.
Three years later, I’m thrilled to say that my original statement remains true. What started as a year-long chance to live and work in Japan turned into a long-term experience offering unexpected opportunities for growth and development.
From day one, AEON carefully considered my business background. I was assigned to a branch school, Shinjuku I-Land Tower, where I had an opportunity to combine my previous professional and educational experience with traditional English conversation classes.
Thanks to an empowering manager, a closely-knit team of colleagues, and supportive students, I was able to create two year’s worth of business curricula as well as a series of workshops covering topics such as résumé writing and interviewing, presentations, and business networking. I even had the chance to participate in the day-to-day business of the school by composing advertising copy for special classes and a business English brochure. It was extremely rewarding to hear about students who had acquired new jobs, gave successful presentations, and learned to assert their opinions thanks to the training they received at the Shinjuku I-Land Tower branch school.
This kind of work environment motivated me to extend my stay in Japan and eventually express interest in AEON’s corporate division. Working in the corporate division has created even more exciting opportunities. I travel to companies throughout the greater Tokyo area (and sometimes beyond) to teach business English on-site. I teach at a variety of companies, from world-famous organizations to entrepreneurial start-ups. Each one is fascinating in its own way. Since I interact with students from all levels of the corporate ladder, I often feel that I learn as much as I teach.
In addition to teaching, I’m involved in the training of new corporate division instructors. I continue to design new courses and curricula as well. Working in the head office also presents a lot of opportunities for proof reading, so I continually need to draw upon my previous work experience. Currently my monthly business English seminars are perhaps my most challenging, yet rewarding responsibility.
Embracing the business side of teaching English in Japan has been the key to helping me succeed. Teaching an effective lesson is just the beginning. Our students are also our clients to whom we offer a service. Discovering how to satisfy the wants and needs of both my external clients (students) and internal clients (sales force, coordinators, and managers) constantly motivates me. My colleagues and superiors create an open, positive environment in which I can do my best to meet the needs of our students.
This is just a brief summary of what I do at AEON. New challenges and opportunities come up all the time. Of course, teaching is the core responsibility of an AEON instructor. However, with hard work, creativity, and a proactive attitude, you can take on so much more. If you are a talented individual who is looking for a chance to build a career in Japan, definitely consider working for AEON. I’m sure the experience will exceed your expectations as well.
Alastair Becker, AEON Tokyo Honbu Assistant Trainer
I started off my AEON career as a branch teacher at Matsudo school in Chiba prefecture. It is one of the biggest schools in the area with both adult and kids classes.
Life as a branch teacher was busy but a lot of fun and it gave me the opportunity to help students from all walks of life work towards their goals. After being a branch teacher I became an Emergency Teacher. The role of Emergency Teacher was a truly unique and rewarding experience. I learned so much in such a short space of time. I was lucky enough to help many schools in different areas during which time I met so many wonderful people. It made me realize that every school is different and being able to adapt quickly to meet the needs of the students and staff at each school is key.
It has always been my ambition since joining AEON to become a trainer so when a position became available I was invited to join the Education Department as a result of my interest and prior performance as both a branch teacher and more importantly as an Emergency Teacher.
As an Assistant Trainer I am involved in a wide array of things. In addition to training both new and experienced teachers, I am also responsible for the support of two areas of schools conducting school workshops, lesson observations and teaching demonstrations.
I am also involved in the development of teaching materials, putting together the AEON East Japan Teachers’ Newsletter and Head Office presentations. Multi-tasking and time management are skills that I have had to work on as there are also meetings, paperwork and other office duties to do but our focus is on training, teaching and helping teachers.
Life as an Assistant Trainer is even more fulfilling than I imagined it to be. The great thing about my job is I still get to teach while at the same time supporting schools and their teachers. I always relish going into schools to support both the teaching and management staff. The interaction I have with so many people makes my job so worthwhile.
AEON is a great place to build your career. The experience of teaching English in Japan at AEON will give you the skills to be successful in whatever you choose to do in the future. AEON’s reputation was what originally attracted me to working for the company. I had previously taught at another company in Japan but wanted a new challenge in which I could be involved in more than just teaching. At AEON you are involved in all aspects of school life and as such you get so much more from the job. Unlike at other companies, at AEON you are not just a teacher but a ‘tannin’ teacher, with the responsibility to oversee the progress of a number of students that you teach on a regular basis every week. This allows you to develop close bonds with your students and the sense of achievement in helping those students reach their goals is so rewarding. AEON also boasts one of the best in-house textbook departments I have ever seen. The teaching materials available are mostly unique to AEON and help you to bring out the most in yourself and your students.
Japan is a country full of surprises. The image I had of Japan before moving here back in 2003 is true in many ways but for me Japan is a country which has a mix of all kinds of people and things. Harajuku is a prime example of this and has always been a fascinating place to explore. The area for me typifies what is so magical about Japan. It is where the old traditional Japan meets the ultra modern. Nowhere else in the world are you able to see such extremes in fashion, trendy shops and hangouts and old historical sites in the same place. Japanese people are what really make this country so special. Even more than I imagined the people are so welcoming and eager to talk to you, especially those that are a part of the AEON community.
Living in Japan has also made me more independent and confident both in and out of work. If it weren’t for all the experiences and challenges I have taken on over the years, I think I’d still be clueless about what I want to achieve in life. I never thought I’d want to be a teacher, but life is full of surprises. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else now.
Lyndsey Dines, AEON Kansai Honbu Assistant Trainer
I was working at my branch school for two years before I was offered my position as an Emergency Teacher and Assistant Trainer. At my school, there wasn’t a head teacher, so I had to work hard at looking at my own lessons and try to make each lesson better than the one before. I made it a priority to get to know my students and their goals so I could teach them more effectively, give them advice, and recommend extra materials. There are a lot of responsibilities at the school and I did my best to help out the other teachers and staff at my school and be there for them whenever they needed me.
When I first arrived at my school and I first started teaching, there was a lot to learn about my students and the lessons. But I focused on helping my students improve and become more confident in their English ability. Then my students started improving. They came to my class every week. They were happy. Then I knew that I am a good teacher and there is nothing else I would rather be doing.
There are many aspects I like about my job, but what I like best is that I can make a direct impact on the schools, teachers, and students in the Kansai area. I enjoy visiting the different schools because I have a chance to meet and talk with students and teachers. As a trainer, I enjoy helping teachers by giving them advice on how they can make their lessons better for their students.
My duties have expanded a lot! But my job allows me to do many different things and everyday is different. One day I am at a school teaching lessons, the next day I am helping to make new lesson materials and then I will be part of training new teachers. All of these different duties are helping me to become a better teacher.
Moving to a new country and working for a new company can be intimidating. I was very nervous and I wasn’t sure what to expect. As soon as I saw my trainer, waiting for me at the airport with a big smile on his face, I knew that I had picked the right company to work for. During my time here, I have received a lot of support from my trainers, staff members and teachers at my school. Anytime I needed help with something or had a question, there always someone there to help me. While I am outside of school, sometimes people ask me where I work and when I tell them I work for AEON, I always hear, “Wow! You’re an English teacher at AEON? You must be a good teacher.” Hearing those comments have made me proud to be working at AEON.
Visiting a foreign country and living in a foreign country are completely different. And the longer I live in Japan the more I realize that there is so much I want to do while I am here. I’ve already visited the more popular tourist destinations, but I am learning more about each area and what makes it special. I learn about different places and things to do from my friends, co-workers, and students and I am still amazed by how much there is to see and do. During my training, I was told to keep a list of all of the things I want to do while I am in Japan. Since then I’ve crossed a lot of things off of the list, but I keep adding more and more to the list. It’s exciting to live in a country where it feels like there are endless possibilities and my appreciation for the people, the history, the food, everything grows more the longer I live here.
When I first got to Japan, I felt a little overwhelmed by everything from the train systems to deciding what to buy at the supermarket. I thought to myself, “Can I really do this?” But every day I learned something new and I learned how to be proud of the small things that I did. I remember the first time I went sightseeing by myself and being happy because I made it to my destination and I was able to figure everything by myself. After that day, I remember thinking, “I CAN do this.” Of course, there are moments when I do get frustrated with my Japanese abilities or I can’t figure something out, but when I do find myself in those moments, I do my best not to give up, because I know those difficult moments have made me into a stronger person and has made me feel more confident in myself.
Yutaka Kimishima, AEON Tokyo Honbu Trainer
I have been working as a trainer in the education department at the Tokyo Head Office for about five years. As a trainer, I have many tasks such as planning and providing various kinds of training, planning new courses, giving advice to teachers, and supporting schools. One of my favorite tasks is teaching a Japanese lesson for foreign teachers at their initial training. The lesson is taught in the same style as we teach English conversation classes at AEON schools. Some of the trainees get really nervous at the beginning of the class since it is taught in Japanese, but most of them look very satisfied at the end of the lesson. They are put in students’ shoes and realize how important that student care is during the lesson. If you ever take my lesson, I hope you will enjoy it.
My co-workers have been keeping me excited and motivated since I joined the company. People at our company are positive, fun, and enthusiastic about their work. I am always impressed and inspired with their dedication. I feel really lucky to be surrounded by such people. Through this positive environment, I am able to enjoy working here and at the same time, have been able to mature as a person.
To be a successful teacher, a person needs to be flexible and willing to try new things. Although living and working in a foreign country could be a thrilling experience, it could be tough if you have to deal with something new every day. You need to be adaptable both at work and outside of work. I have met a lot of teachers who were willing to try new things. They learned so much and grew as a person during their stay in Japan.
Hisayo Okajima, AEON Chubu Honbu Trainer
If you are reading this section, you must be very serious about teaching in Japan. And to be very honest with you, it’s going to be once- in-a-life time experience for you!
In my 20 years of working with AEON, I’ve seen hundreds of teachers who experienced so much here and went back home referring their friends to a career with AEON. Each of these great ex-AEON teachers formed very strong bonds with his/her school staff and students while they were here. What do you want to do while in Japan? The people you will meet could become your life-long friends. Life is too short, so give it a serious thought right now.
I would like to share another key with you. In this rapidly changing world, East Asia is a very important economic zone for the world. If you haven’t done much research about the Orient, simply studying about Japan and its culture and business will benefit your future tremendously. Our students vary from children to high school students and business people dealing in international markets. I was a branch school teacher near central Nagoya in the late nineties teaching teenagers and business people. I learned a lot from my students and I still believe that those high school students taught me to how to become “a teacher”, whereas business people taught me how to survive in the digital business world. Without English and good communication skills, we can’t do business with the world. We sincerely need your multicultural interpersonal communication skills for our students at all local branch schools. If you are humble enough to not only teach but learn, AEON is the place for you.
I’m sure you already have lots of detailed questions you want. Am I qualified? What’s life in Japan like? Do I get complete training? Do I need to speak Japanese? Can I persuade my parents? What do I need to prepare before departing? Where can I travel during my vacation? What are the necessary immigration papers? Do I need business suits? Are there gyms nearby?
Contemplating these thoughts is a very exciting process of working and teaching outside of your country so I hope you enjoy this opportunity.
Once you arrive in Japan, don’t worry, we are here to support YOU!
Ray Dunn, AEON Chubu Honbu Trainer
I began my career at AEON at a very small school in rural Mie Prefecture. Actually, I was the first foreign teacher at the school as it was brand new when I arrived. It was an exciting experience and we all worked incredibly hard as a team at Suzuka school to make our first year a huge success. Following my time at Suzuka, I was offered a position as an Emergency teacher which was an incredible experience to say the least. I was sent to various schools around the region to help out schools with whatever they needed. I loved the rapidly changing environment that Emergency Teachers work in, and on top of that I had the opportunity to meet even more fascinating students and staff members than I had as a branch school teacher.
After my time as an Emergency Teacher, I was approached by my Education Department Director, and offered a brand new challenge as an Assistant Trainer. I couldn’t have been more thrilled to accept. This gave me the opportunity to work more closely with the Education Department and educational trainers at our head office on a daily basis. I supported our trainers by conducting lesson observations, organizing and presenting sections of training seminars, and developing curriculum for use at branch schools. After some time, I was promoted to a full Trainer position, and now I am in charge of training new native speaking English teachers that arrive in the AEON Central Japan area. AEON has provided me incredible professional and personal experience that have shaped me into the person I am today. The company and my position continues to challenge, fascinate, and reward me in ways I never dreamed possible when I first stepped into my interview for the job.
From the moment I arrived in Japan I have reveled in the myriad of ways I am constantly challenged, encouraged, mentored, and compelled to grow professionally and personally. As a teacher and a trainer, I have gained the skills needed to stand confidently in front of a large audience of business professionals to make presentations on our Business English textbooks, or step with equal confidence into a lesson with a 1-year-old baby and sing silly songs about fruit while dancing around the room.
On top of this, my eyes have been opened to a world much wider than I could have imagined as a child growing up in a small city in the southern United States. While many of my friends back home have never lived outside of the state in which they were born, I have moved to the other side of the world, learned an entirely foreign language (I could say arigatou and konnichiwa before arriving), soaked in natural hot springs while sipping green tea, eaten raw fish that can be deadly if prepared incorrectly, climbed to the top of Mount Fuji, and even shaken hands with a Japanese monkey (a local friend from my first hometown in Japan). The richness of the experience to be gained from the opportunity AEON provides in Japan goes beyond words in any language.
Jun Onishi, AEON Seibu Honbu Trainer
Living and working in Japan was something that I had always wanted to do, and I had every intention of turning this teaching position at AEON into a long-term career. During the recruitment process, I had made this intention known. My recruiters must have taken that into consideration when they offered me a position as an Emergency Teacher, which allowed me to travel to different schools throughout west Japan.
As an Emergency Teacher, what I enjoyed most about the job was the opportunity to travel to many different cities, including the outer reaches of western Honshu and Shikoku. Had it not been for this job, I would have never known how rich in tradition and history these places were. Getting to know the local people in these cities and immersing myself in the community has been one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences of my life.
I spent my first 2 years in Japan as an Emergency Teacher. With each assignment, I wanted to make sure that I left the school a better place than when I had first arrived. With a dash of luck, good timing, and an unwavering commitment to this job and this company, I was promoted to my current position as a foreign teacher trainer.
As a Trainer, I take great pride in being able to welcome new teachers to Japan, helping make a smooth transition, and guiding them along this cultural journey. In doing so, however, I have found myself learning much more about cultures that I had been unfamiliar with, such as of the U.K., Australia, Canada, and other U.S. cities. My experience as a Trainer has taught me so much about other cultures, and I continue to learn new things every day.
As an Emergency Teacher, my main duties were to teach quality lessons to students of all ages. As a Trainer, these duties have been expanded to include training new teachers, creating and publishing new teaching materials, visiting other companies to promote English lessons, being in charge of seminars, running workshops and regional meetings, and countless of other responsibilities. The wide variety of duties for this job always ensures that there is something exciting for me to look forward to every day!
AEON is a highly reputable English conversation company that is built upon a foundation of fun and effective lessons. At the heart of our company is the desire to make our students happy. AEON is a catalyst for international communication. AEON is fresh, innovative, and stands at the forefront of the industry, both technologically and with the quality of our teachers.
As a Trainer, I have learned that there is no such thing as a perfect teacher. After many years of teaching, I am still borrowing ideas from other teachers and refining my skills. The most successful teachers are those that strive to improve and are always receptive to feedback. Being at AEON, I am surrounded by such great teachers, and they have helped accelerate this learning process. I believe that humility and asking ourselves, “What can I do better?” “What do I need to change?” is necessary at all stages in our careers.
At AEON, we are responsible for teaching not only English, but valuable communication skills as well. Unlike what one learns in a textbook, the English language can serve as a new avenue of communication, and this can be seen in the way our students interact with us. I have seen so many people who are otherwise shy or reserved, open up and speak to each other in English with so much enthusiasm and energy. AEON lessons allow us to tap into a whole new part of our personalities. And it’s not just the students that benefit from English conversation. Having been an introvert for most of my life, at first I was concerned about how I would make the transition to becoming an AEON teacher. But seeing the excited expressions on my students faces as they communicate in a whole new language allowed me to open up and establish what I now call my “teacher” face. As a result, I have gained so much confidence, swagger, and interpersonal skills that I would have never acquired had I not taken on this role.
Alfred Cuba, AEON Kyushu Honbu Trainer
I started out as a branch school teacher in Utsunomiya City (about two hours by train from Tokyo) and was there for about a couple of years. I wanted to be an Emergency Teacher and when an opportunity opened up, I applied for it and was accepted.
Being an Emergency Teacher was hectic yet fun. There’s a lot of responsibility but everyone in the schools I worked at went out of their way to help me out. I also got a chance to travel all over Japan, from Hokkaido all the way to Nagoya. I like traveling and took advantage of the weekends and holidays to check out a lot of different and unique places.
After a few years of being an Emergency Teacher, I applied and was transferred to Fukuoka (in southern Japan). The Trainer position became available soon after and I was promoted to the position.
I truly enjoy being able to work with a great group of people (teachers, managers, students, the staff at the Fukuoka head office). I work in a small region and I am the only foreign teacher trainer so I get to work closely with the teachers even after they’ve gone to their branch schools.
I also get to do a lot of things that have a direct effect on teachers and students. The work is challenging and things can change quickly, but it’s definitely rewarding. I never get bored.
Beyond my regular responsibilities as a Trainer, I also get a chance to do some really fun projects like teaching the Japan Air Self-Defense Force fighter pilots, seminars on cross-cultural communication for the management staff, and recruiting for the AEON Corporate Division.
The people I meet and work with come from all sorts of backgrounds. They have a lot of experiences that are different from mine and they sometimes look at things from another perspective. Working at AEON teaches and motivates you to be flexible, creative, and to think quickly on your feet.
Once you’ve lived in another country for some time, things that were once new and exciting become more comfortable and relaxed. It’s a good feeling.
I feel I’ve grown as a trainer and as a person. I’m now more patient and accepting of things. I’ve also learned to look for more than one way to solve a problem.
Living in Japan has taught me to be more aware of who I am, where I come from, and I think most importantly, the things I say or do.
Mariko Miura, Institute of Language Education
I still remember the time I started working for AEON. I was fresh out of college and very excited to share my experience in the US with everybody. What I can’t believe is that it has been more than 15 years since then. Some of my students, who were in elementary school back then, now have kids of their own, and some even have become English teachers. Meeting students and being a part of their lives in class a couple of times a week can make a great impact on a person’s life. It’s very rewarding to see your students make visible progress with their English skills and see them master the language which allows them to take a big step into their exciting future.
As I work for the textbook developing department now, I try to visualize those students in my mind when we brainstorm ideas for the new materials. Studying can be tedious and difficult at times, but at AEON we try our best to make the learning process fun and interesting for our students. Our goal is to produce materials that will allow students to indulge themselves in practicing English and to interest them to take another step forward to strengthen their language skills.
As the saying 一期一会 (Ichigo ichie) goes, “Never can time be reversed, so make every moment count – Treasure it, be thankful of every moment you’re given to share with others.” The experience at AEON has brought me many of these moments. It truly has been a pleasure to teach. And, the fellow staff members who I have worked through the years have enriched my life in many ways. If you are looking for this kind of experience and are willing to dedicate yourself to the students’ needs, consider applying with us now!
Andy Gadt, Recruiter
After finishing university in 2002, I knew that I wanted to teach, but did not have much classroom experience. Most of my “teaching” experience was on the baseball field as a coach. After researching many different options, I encountered the opportunity to teach English in Japan with AEON. When I arrived in Japan, I was not sure what to expect due to my lack of teaching experience and inability to speak any Japanese. However, the training program at AEON prepared me well and once I got in front of my students their dedication to learning English pushed me to work harder to improve my teaching skills in order to be able to offer them the best possible lesson that I could.
I worked at a smaller branch school in Nagoya for two years teaching students of all ages. Teaching children brought many interesting challenges about lesson planning, engaging all levels and abilities and helping each child enjoy studying English. The excitement on the children’s faces when they were able to answer my questions and converse with me in English is something that I will never forget. Many of the adults that I taught were studying English for their careers and were very serious about improving their skills. I learned about each of them individually so that I could help them see their strengths while working on the best plan to assist them with their weaknesses in English. In all classes, I did whatever I could to make the lesson fun and remember lots of laughter. The students at AEON are extremely dedicated in the classroom and also very interested to share Japanese culture with the foreign teachers. I made many good friends with my students at my branch school who I still keep in contact with today.
After two years at my branch school, I became an Emergency Teacher, then an Assistant Trainer and finally Trainer. The range of experiences I had with those positions taught me many skills that I will be able to use for the rest of my life.
Currently, I am working as an overseas recruiter for AEON to hire teachers who have the passion not only to help students improve their English skills, but who also want to learn about and experience Japan and Japanese culture. We have two recruiting offices in the US where we receive thousands of applications each year from candidates all over the world. We hold interview sessions at our home offices, but also travel to many different cities in the US as well as to Canada, The United Kingdom and Australia in order to hire teachers of various cultural backgrounds and nationalities. I truly enjoy meeting new candidates who have an interest in teaching English in Japan and giving them more information about the wonderful opportunity AEON has to offer.
However, hiring teachers is only one part of the job. As recruiters, we share what we have learned from our time working with AEON in Japan to help all of our new teachers prepare to take on one of the most interesting, challenging and rewarding experiences of their lives. We assist the teachers with the contract and visa process and provide them with information that will not only be useful for their new job at AEON, but that will also help them with life in Japan.
From my time at AEON, one of the biggest things that I have seen over and over again is that the more a teacher gives of themselves to their students, the more rewards they receive in return. Having students trust and follow your advice even though you might be relatively new to teaching is a great feeling and it all comes from the work that you put in for them.
If you are a career teacher or someone who is just starting out in the field and you have the desire to work hard for your students while at the same time gaining a new cultural perspective, AEON is the perfect place to work!