Monday, June 6, 2011

AEON Application and Interview Process

I've applied for AEON (pronounced "ee-on", don't get it wrong at the seminar!) twice; the first time was just to see what would happen.  AEON is an eikaiwa as well, focusing on teaching small groups (5-10) of various ages depending on the group.  I probably know the most about this company given that I applied twice.

To apply, you must submit an essay titled "Why I Want to Live and Work in Japan."  Write it well, talk about experiencing the culture of Japan, how you might benefit AEON, and how AEON might benefit you.  Spend a lot of time on it--no errors, good flow, good organization--because this is where they cut most of the applicants!

The orientation in Chicago, IL.  Sit in the front row
if possible! This advice helped get my good friend
get an offer ;)
General Advice:  AEON's biggest thing is 'genki.'  They're not looking for intelligence, they want people who are enthusiastic and all smiles.  Preferably good looking.  Be social with the other applicants, be alert and attentive.  During the group interview, one student froze and I was the only one who helped.  This is probably one of the reasons I got to the second stage, so please don't throw your fellow applicants under the bus!  And the second most important thing:  relax. If you make friends with your group, you won't be as nervous during your group demo.  (Expect ~50 people total with ~12 people per group).

AEON provides a lot of assistance and, for this alone, they should be given consideration.  They already have apartments leased for you, so your rent is rather low (anything over 50,000¥ is paid by the company) and you don't pay key money.  Apartments are close to where you work.  You teach a wide range of ages, focusing on older students (teens and up), and work primarily in the afternoons/evenings.  They also give you a low-interest loan if you need it.

They're very much a 'business.'  Profit is their number one priority, so expect to sell materials and lessons even if students don't need them.  I hear AEON will also sometimes make instructors 'advertise' by passing out flyers in their off time (no, you won't get paid for it).  Dress must always be professional (i.e., dark colored suits, no solid black).  Prepare to do more work than you get paid for.

No timeline needed.  I have no idea how long it took from submitting to essay to getting a seminar invite.  Everything else takes place on the seminar date across TWO days.  If you pass the group interview, you must stick around till the following day.  You'll receive a letter of offer or rejection in the mail within two weeks of the interview; if they call your references, good chance you'll get an offer.
This is where you teach your lesson.  This is was
in Chicago, IL as well.  The second time I went
it was a different hotel but similar set up.

Other Tips
The grammar test involves spelling words like broccoli, liaison, millennium, tomorrow, acquaintance, and independence.  Look up "commonly misspelled English words" and study it.

The group interview should be kept simple.  The less you do, the better.  Avoid making students speak one by one--your goal is to have everyone doing something at the same time and having fun.  'Simple' is something like directions, color, adjectives, etc.  Good ideas would be roleplays (asking the group to pair up and do it all at the same time, then changing it and having them do it again) or a game where students must get up and talk to many others.   If I could do it again, I would have students pair up and play 'charades', acting out verbs like jump/drive/etc, and having their partner guess it.  You could preface this with a short story which uses all of the verbs which you act out as you speak them.  Walk around and give praise.

Keep your talking time at 50% or less.

The second interview is tougher.  In September 2010, I was first asked questions about why I wanted to work in Japan, why AEON, why should they hire me, etc.  Then I was given 5 minutes to prepare a 5 minute lesson on the difference between might and will (use gestures, facial expressions, even math--might is 50% going to do, will is 100% going to do).  This was followed by teaching animals with the recruiter acting like a five year old.  Make children participate physically by pointing or acting or repeating.

In April 2011, things were much different.  You had to retake the grammar test and teach a different concept.  Then the recruiter would 'show how its done' and ask you to reteach it.  AEON is focusing on your ability to be trained.  So listen carefully.

Also, Motoko Toki is awesome and remembered me 6+ months later :)

Seen from the front.  The second time was different in that I had a whiteboard--unlike this silly, over-sized notepad!