Enrich Your Teaching Career & Discover the Spirit of Japan

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About

Interac teachers enrich the lives of thousands of school and children in Japan every year by delivering interactive and exciting English lessons. Commonly known as ALTs, which stands for assistant language teacher, Interac’s instructors, enrich children’s lives by sharing their knowledge of English and communication skills and giving insights into other cultures.

As an ALT at Interac, you will work in nursery school, elementary, junior high, and high schools throughout Japan. These are our clients. Your job is two-fold: language instructor and cultural ambassador. These two aspects are inseparable, and you, as a successful Interac ALT, will become an expert in both.

You can expect to teach classes on your own, with a Japanese teacher present to help manage the classroom. Although there are variety of Japanese schools, you can reasonably expect to teach in at least two. The company also provides training programs to support those without experience as an English teacher.

Highlights
  • Start things off right with an intensive (paid!) initial training and orientation session.
  • Work Mondays to Fridays with scheduled teaching hours between 8 am and 5 pm.
  • Attend on-going skills development and training programs.
  • Become an important part of your school and local community.
  • Take advantage of Interac’s Staff Preparation Program (SPP) and build portable skills you can leverage in the classroom or take with you into a potential staff position like recruiter, head teacher, trainer, or even office staff.

Questions & Answers

Hi Catalina Thank you for the question. The requirements we have are: -Be a native-level speaker of English -Have received an education conducted in English for at least 12 years -Have at least a bachelor’s degree in any subject from an accredited university -Be a team-player that is professional, flexible, cheerful, and energetic -Be under 60 years of age Japanese VISA system requires an ALT to...

Hi Dan, It's very unlikely that two ALTs are in the same exact school under most cases, whether a couple or not. In most cases where couples apply, if both are successful independently in the application process, their requests are usually that they are placed in the same general area. This can mean that they are teaching in different education boards in adjoining towns, or in different schools in...

Hi Brianna, Interac welcomes applications from all qualified candidates. If applying as a couple, both individual parties of the couple must apply and pass the necessary requirements separately. The recruiting process is intended to only accommodate the applicants themselves, and Interac makes no guarantee that it can fulfill specific requests for placement, but will do its best to place couples...

Hello, Allison. I'm a current ALT in the semi-rural northern stretch of Okayama Prefecture. Tay's situation is more or less accurate:rent is deducted from the paycheck, some branches may deduct utilities as well but not all, and they tend to either come in semi-furnished and unfurnished versions. The unfurnished version will be cheaper if you stay put for a longer period of time but if you're only...

Reviews

7.82 Rating
based on 17 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 52.94%
  • 7-8 rating 35.29%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 11.76%
  • Benefits 7.6
  • Support 7.8
  • Fun 7.7
  • Facilities 7.9
  • Safety 8
Showing 1 - 8 of 17
Default avatar
Kregory
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Very generous company

What a great and generous company. Best ever. No other company like it. I give them 7/10 which is a good score but not too suspicious. Those other reviewers were a bit too 'on the nose' in my opinion.

Head office can I please get a gift card now? How about being nominated for an ALT award? This is such a glowing review - I'm helping you out. Can I choose the type of card? If so, I'd say that Amazon, i-tunes, PSN, or the Nintendo one is fine. Will be it usable only in Japan? That might be a problem since I left the country years ago.
Thanks

What was your funniest moment?
My funniest moment was when the company didn't pay for my flight to the country.

I would say a close second was when they didn't pay me a full salary in spring. Hilarious!
Default avatar
Maria
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Experience with Interac

I worked with Interac for a year and a half. I found them by doing a google search. The application process went very smoothly and from the beginning to end, the staff were very friendly, optimistic, and supportive.

After accepting the position, they were very good at keeping me up to date in a timely manner, regarding my placement and schedule before arriving in Japan. The first week of training was a bit overwhelming, but the staff and trainers worked very hard to prepare us for our schools and living in Japan. They were also very accommodating when setting us up at our new destinations. I was placed in a small city within Ibaraki.

When I arrived, they had an English speaking assistant help me move in and set up my bank account, cell phone, and everything else in between. It was incredibly helpful as non-Japanese speaking foreigner, who was moving into a new town far away from Tokyo. I really appreciated all of the help and support the company gave me.

I ended up working at an amazing Junior High School, and I helped prepare my students for the Ibaraki interactive forum competition. For me this was the most rewarding and life changing experience for me, and I have Interac to thank for that.

Interac will continue to support you through ongoing training, online resources, and with a great team of people who will answer any questions you have about living in Japan.

I am very grateful for my experience with this company, who has opened many doors for me. They showed me that I was capable of doing amazing things and enriching people's lives.

What would you improve about this program?
I think having more staff in each branch may help, as they can reach out to more people, and therefore have more chances to talk and communicate with each ALT. I also feel that they should really communicate with the ALT's in terms of finding the right type of school assignment that best fits their profile. I was transferred to an elementary school position, but I felt junior high school was a better fit for me. I think more thought needs to go into the process of assigning ALT's to their schools, so that they are satisfied with their assignments and therefore stay with the company longer.
Response from Interac Japan

Maria,
Thank you for you review of your time at Interac and we are really glad you had a good time with us. The photos of your town, school lunch, and school look very much like the kinds of photos we see from many teachers across Japan. As for your feedback, we will take these points and review them, especially with an eye to further improving our method of placing teachers. Thank you again for your review and your kind words.

Regards,

Interac Head Office
Tokyo

Default avatar
Jon
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Professional and reliable employer

I worked for Interac for 2 years. The salary and benefits are more than adequate because the cost of living is very low. The managers and staff at the Interac head office are extremely professional and helpful. My concerns were always addressed promptly. Working in the public schools in Japan was amazing. The kids are extremely polite and courteous and respectful, far more than kids in America (at least from what I recall from my days as a student).

The best part is making the kids laugh and being able to play sports or play on the playground with them. It's also rewarding being able to help tweak their pronunciation mistakes.

If you're looking for adventure before you start 4 decades in a corporate office, this is a good place to go. Interac is a huge company which is almost doubling it's teaching staff because of the upcoming Olympics. Very stable company, honest bosses. No surprises.

What would you improve about this program?
Create an Interac employee social media website so everyone can get to know eachother and organize events.
Default avatar
Misael
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Stable company with many location opportunities

This is one of the biggest ALT dispatch companies in all of Japan. They have many contracts all over the countries and are likely to accommodate a specific location.

I've worked for this company for a few years now and have never had any major issues. They help their teachers settle in and provide a great deal of support after the initial training (car, housing, local area information, etc.)

Employees always have access to English speaking emergency contacts in case the need should arise and are never left alone without anyone to call.

Default avatar
Graham
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Job I Ever Had

I worked with Interac for 1 and a half years and I can honestly say that it was the best job that I ever had. The staff and managers are friendly and exceptionally helpful, always willing to go the extra mile to help you with any concerns that you have.
Living and working in another country is a challenging experience but Interac endeavors to make the transition easy and comfortable. Interac helped me find an apartment and rent a car. When I first arrived in Japan I did not know much Japanese but I was placed in a school where I could speak English with the staff.
Every day was an exciting adventure and working with the kids was fun in itself. They always added to my day and made me laugh.
In my travels during my time off I was able to explore the culture of Japan. I participated in festivals and visited big cities and ancient shrines. I made many friends who I am still in contact with today. It was the adventure of a lifetime!
I thoroughly enjoyed my work and highly recommend Interac to anyone interested in teaching as an ALT.

What would you improve about this program?
My experience with Interac was nothing but positive. I can't think of any faults to point out.
Default avatar
William
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

There When You Need Them

The interview and pre-departure process is probably a little nerve wracking for first-time expats since most communication will happen when there are developments on the Japanese side. They do, however, give fairly good information if one reads the materials provided. The hard part is managing expectations. Interac was pretty straight with me on the timeline they were working from once they decided when I should arrive. I still knew several months in advance when I would need to go and could make plans regarding my apartment and then-current employer.

As an Alternate Placement without an assigned placement on arrival in Japan, I went through the same training as the rest of my cohort and was kept in reserve. During that time, the staff of the branch I was temporarily assigned to helped me get settled as far as bank accounts, moving in papers, apartment setup, and the like went. (No one went with me to get a mobile phone but some of the other staff did give me some advice on contracts and a key vocabulary words so I could ask the carrier staff.)

My assignment came in mid-to-late December with a ticket on the Shinkansen to meet my MC and get a ride up into the mountains with one of our Japanese staff members. We only had enough daylight to go to a few of my schools for introductions and to get the keys for my apartment and car. Mr. H. made sure we had enough furnishings in my partial furnished flat to make sure I'd be fine until the weekend. Few things feel quite so lonely as looking outside your window at a town where you don't really know anyone and can only see about 50 feet out due to the snow (disclaimer: the San Francisco area doesn't get snow). If you can make it past that first night, it gets much better and quickly. Ms. I and some of the local ALTs met up with me over that weekend, helped me get my bearings, and how to contact folk in the area.

I'm in my early thirties and most of my ALT colleagues are in their twenties, so that does occasionally keep us separated. We do, however, tend to pass the word for an informal rendezvous or two each month. Due to the scheduling, our book club usually also has a chance to meet before the ongoing training sessions for our region. That being said, if you have a hobby or (school-appropriate) interest, you can find it helps as an ice breaker with some of the Japanese teachers, students and parents. (I was particularly flattered when the parents marked me as an honorary part of the baseball team after the end of the season.)

I'm currently living and working in a town that's very different (half the population, eight times the space) from my home town. There are some things where it's still largely the same, however, like transit time to major cities (trains are slower than highway buses or driving only due to the routes to my semi-rural town). There's not much for nightlife venues here but the town associations are good about having events every few weeks and most people are reasonably friendly.

What would you improve about this program?
While definitely better than what my upperclassman remarked about on the JET program, initial training doesn't feel adequate for initially going into the classroom as far as facing real kids (not adults pretending to be kids) is concerned. It does get easier very quickly in the field but a little more demo practice as time allows probably would have been helpful. That, or an early observation to see how we're settling in and to correct early bad habits, could probably provide early reassurance we're on the right track.

Since I work at the Kindergarten, Elementary, and Junior High School levels, a list of suggested titles from the current year's curriculum (as far as it can be standardized) would have helped in knowing what to pack before coming to Japan for those assigned to those levels. ("The Very Hungry Caterpillar" or "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" for Kindergarten examples.)
Default avatar
Stephanie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experiences dependent on branch, school and BOE

I have an interesting perspective on this company. Overall my experience has been highly positive. The professionalism and support of the company staff is better than many other companies offering the same thing in Japan. I have no negatives in my situation but many of my friends do. If you have a regular 9-5 contract you're golden. But many BOEs(boards of education) want ALTs to work extra hours for different reasons. The BOE believes interac will compensate you and interac often skirts responsibility for extra hours. That is where many of the complaints I hear about stem from. I myself have a pretty standard contract and only worked a few weeks extra hours for a local speech contest. My school is lovely and the interac company even comes to drive me to places if I need to commute far for a meeting since I don't have a bike. I would highly recommend although I do also realize that my circumstances are quite lucky and standard. Deviation from the norm causes issues.

What would you improve about this program?
I suppose the initial training and ongoing training could be improved upon. Also a larger ALT network for the sharing of ideas would be useful. Other than that everything has gone smoothly and most of any day to day problems you encounter are likely from your schools not from the company itself who, once you get settled, you may deal with seldom.
Mike
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I would do it again

I would definitely recommend working for Interac. I worked for the Tokyo Kito Kanto branch, based in Ibaraki prefecture. I found the branch staff could not do enough to help me whenever I had a problem. Since I didn't speak Japanese before going, I needed lots of support upon arrival to organise bank accounts and so forth. A gentleman from the office was appointed to me for two days to help me to organise all this. I could never have done this without that support. Throughout my year and a half there, I felt supported to the point of "looked after" by the branch staff. The assistance I required from them varied from having random mail translated for me, to the best place to buy a suit, to having medical notes translated into Japanese.

The age of the ALTs with whom I worked were considerably younger than I was (I was 34 when I arrived, most were early 20s). I did find the younger employees to be quite cliquey, but this was insignificant to me as I preferred to make friends locally to appreciate the culture better and learn the language. Nevertheless, had I been more of an early 20s "goer outer", I would not have been stuck for people to play with.

In terms of the work, I worked in a small town's junior high school (ages 12-15). I worked with all classes, including those with additional support needs. I was given the opportunity to coach the running team as well as the responsibility for preparing select students for the EIKEN tests and the English Interactive Forum (like a slightly diluted debating competition.) The day to day work was a lot of fun, most of the time. This is very much the kind of work where you have to be seen to be keen and willing if you want the job to be more than reading from a book (no one will ask you to do more, but the job becomes much more fun when you do.)

With regards living in Japan (despite the linguistic challenges it presented in the beginning) it is a fantastic place to live. Eating out is cheap (compared to the UK), the skiing is fantastic, the people are considerate and respectful, everywhere in the country is easily accessible (if you avoid the Shinkansen, buses are fantastically comfy and cheap cheap.)

I miss Japan terribly: it really gets under your skin. Before I moved to Japan I was working back home as a pharmacist. I planned to go back to pharmacy after a year or two out there. The experience in Japan, owing in no small part to Interac, whetted my apetite for teaching and as such I am back home doing a postgraduate course to become a primary school teacher. When I made the decision, I was completely supported by my branch manager, who (once again) couldn't do enough to help.

What would you improve about this program?
If I had any criticisms of the company it would be to have a system of bonus in place. I worked very hard and took my job pretty seriously and as such I was rated highly in the company's assessment of me. As good as these ratings make one feel and as great as they look on the CV, being an ALT is a career for some, and I think that those who perform should be rewarded financially. That said, what I earned was plenty to live on, and save enough for ski trips, a trip to India during the summer holidays and my fare home.
Response from Interac Japan

Thanks for your comment and review, we are glad that you had a great experience with Interac. You touch on a lot of the points that help make an ALT's time in schools and in Japan worthwhile, and we are glad that you've taken up teaching as a profession. Teachers who have experiences like yours help the company live up to its Corporate Philosophy, particularly our fifth point, which reads: "We work as an educational organization, to realize the growth of our employee’s whole personality, so they are able to make great contributions to the world far and wide."
Regarding your suggestion for improvement, we are very aware of this point, and while we may not be able to financially reward teachers proportionally to their performance, we are introducing at the present a company-wide recognition program for teachers who do go the extra mile in their schools and communities. I spoke to your MC, and he would have loved to have recommended you for an award under the system we are rolling out starting in early 2016. Thanks again for your comment and for your work with Interac!