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New career in English Education with YARUKI Switch Group

A diverse educational organization, YARUKI Switch Group
YARUKI Switch Group has more than 1,700 schools throughout Japan and is expanding to the world. With a track record stretching 40 years in teaching, nurturing, and opening up a future for children, they aim to be a general education group that caters to a diverse range of students.

In this interview, we asked Kevin, one of the native recruiters about why he joined YARUKI Switch Group and what kind of talents they are looking for in the candidates.

Kevin Rowland,
Teachers Assist Head Division, Native Hiring Dept.

Coming from Milton Keynes in England, Kevin originally joined YARUKI Switch Group as a teacher. After a few years with the company, he is now one of the recruiters responsible for finding the most suitable candidates. We asked him about his experience with the company and about what they look for in the candidates who wish to join YARUKI Switch Group.
Chance:A lot of creative freedom

― What made you decide to seek work in Japan? I studied English and linguistics in London, where I met a lot of people from all around the world, and I had a lot of Japanese friends, which peaked my interest in Japan. I traveled to Japan once, fell in love with this place and six years ago I came back as a teacher. I originally came to Japan with one of the big English conversation school chains before joining YARUKI Switch Group.

― How did you join YARUKI Switch Group? I had a friend who was working for Kids Duo International at that time and I also heard a lot of great things about Kids Duo. I wanted to be more creative in my job and they were telling me that I could be if I joined Kids Duo. During the whole recruitment process, everyone was really professional and I really felt that this could be a career for me.
On my first day of training, I was quite nervous but the training was great. I remember that everyone was very serious about what they were saying but they also made us feel really comfortable. I felt that this training program has been developed over a long period of time through the knowledge of the teachers.

― What do you think makes YARUKI Switch Group special? What I felt when I first joined the group was that the teachers are given a lot of trust and a lot of creative freedom. I think that this is what sets the group apart from a lot of English schools in Japan. Sometimes it’s hard to have such creative freedom in other schools and you might feel like you have to stick to a script, so I was happy that I could be more creative in YARUKI Switch Group.

When I first joined the company, I remember visiting one of the schools where the kids were doing a sort of a cooking activity. I was just amazed by how much English these three-year-olds could speak. They were telling me in English how to cut a banana and how to sit nicely when I wasn’t, and I felt like this is where I want to be. It was really memorable, as I was shocked that kids who have never been overseas spoke such great English.

Step up:Time-tested methodology and hands-on training

― What are some skills that your employees can improve at YARUKI Switch Group? It depends on the employee, but there are many different skills which they can improve here. If you are a new teacher, you can build teamwork skill, presenting skill and basically you can get some of the work experiences that is important, especially here in Japan.

― Can you tell us if there is any in-house training system? There is initial training which has a focus on practically getting into the classrooms and working with kids, not just learning about methodology. Of course, that side is very important as well but we want our teachers to get into the classroom as soon as possible so that they can experience the reality of it. Some of the things, such as classroom management, can be a little bit challenging but you get to experience the challenge very early on, during your training when there is that safety net around you. We deal with classroom management in a very positive way, making it really fun.

― What made you change from the position of a teacher to a recruiter? I do miss the kids and I miss teaching, of course, but I felt like it was a natural progression for me. I had learned enough within the schools and I wanted to take that to recruiting. I felt that I could use my knowledge in a different way, outside of the classroom and use it to find the teachers that we need for our schools.

When I was a teacher, I loved talking to kids and seeing their progress. As a recruiter, I love speaking to people from all around the world, hearing their stories and meeting new people all the time. Every day is very exciting. I have many goals in my current work, but one of them is for every teacher to be 100% happy with their work.

Hiring:Passion over experience

― What is an important deciding factor when you are hiring teachers? We don’t necessarily require experience from our teachers. Of course, it’s fantastic if candidates do have teaching experience but we are looking for somebody who is passionate, who wants to improve and who wants to stay with us for a long time as well. You need to be able to be as they say in Japanese: GENKI(cheerful), you need to be very energetic when standing in front of the class and sometimes be a little bit silly or goofy. Most of all, you have to really care about the kids and have the passion to want to learn, take feedback and develop as a teacher.

― What kind of person is highly appreciated at your company? We aren’t looking for the perfect employee or the perfect teacher. We have teachers from all over the world, from different backgrounds and with different skillsets.
We are looking for somebody who takes their work seriously, who is passionate about what they do and just gives 110% effort.

― Is there something that you would like the candidates to know before they join YARUKI Switch Group? I want them to know that it is an environment of support. For those who don’t have teaching experience and might be concerned about it being their first time standing in front of the kids, we do have a lot of support. We work on the training and give you the foundations to be able to go into your school and develop as a teacher. We love seeing passionate individuals blossom into great teachers with us.

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