NOVA (Japan) Reviews

Updated May 13, 2020

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2.2
27%
Recommend to a Friend
Pros
  • "Easy job if you're a friendly, outgoing person(in 9 reviews)

  • "Working with nice people, some of the students are great, and an overall easy job(in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • "The Japanese staff put on a very fake atittude when dealing with students/ potential students(in 14 reviews)

  • "Very little help from the staff in regards to paying your own tax / pension etc(in 14 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. Helpful (1)

    "Nova English teacher"

    3.0
     

    I worked at NOVA (Japan)

    Pros

    I loved working with Nova kids

    Cons

    I did not like the hours

    NOVA (Japan)2017-09-13
  2. Helpful (3)

    "Know what you're getting into and make the most of it"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Instructor in Ōsaka, Osaka

    I worked at NOVA (Japan) full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I'll just start off by saying that I personally had an overall positive experience working at Nova. There are definitely some very good things about Nova, but a lot of it depends on the region you're working in, and the specific branches as well. For me personally, I met really great people and appreciated how for instructors (non-managers), your work ends when the lessons end, as opposed to having to bring your work home. Some other pros about Nova are that it's easy to get the job and foot in the door in Japan, and you can request which region you'd like to work in. The lessons are easy to teach and easy to get the hang of. Most of the students are lovely and motivated. Also, I found the managers to be pretty approachable and flexible-- IF-- you actually care about your job and don't rock the boat. All you have to do is show up on time, follow the Nova lesson structure, take and apply feedback, and help/be kind to the staff and other instructors-- if you can do these things and have a positive mindset and set realistic expectations about working for this company, you'll do well and even enjoy it.

    Cons

    Nova has some serious flaws that need to be examined and taken considered. While some of these negatives are due to cultural differences, some are fundamental to Nova itself. -The company itself can be shady and uses legal loopholes to offer confusing, barely legal contracts. -As someone who has certified to teach ESL in my country, this one bothers me: Nova sells English as a product, convincing its customers that the more they spend on lessons the more/faster they'll learn. Therefore, the company creates side products and special courses, and asks its instructors to (aggressively) sell the courses turning you into more of a salesperson than an instructor. I found it so important to try to create a strong rapport with students so they would come back again for more lessons, and selling them useless courses wasn't something I was comfortable doing. -Perhaps this is a cultural difference, but the Japanese side of operations is very different than the instructor side. The staff are horrendously underpaid and are given useless tasks and endless useless meetings. There is zero flexibility for staff members who need to take a day off for being sick or even an important personal event. I know staff members who worked 10+ hours per day, barely were able to take a lunch break, and would cry in the building stairwells from power harassment from their supervisor. -My manager was a really nice guy who tried to help me out when possible, but he (like all the managers) are just puppets, enforcing useless and too strict policies that only agitate everyone. The managers don't even agree with these rules, but they enforce them without decent justification. -The ESL world is changing, and Nova is still very stuffy, corporate, and old fashioned. I think if instructors were able to wear business casual (black jeans, sweaters, no ties), they would be more comfortable and students would enjoy coming to lessons more, too. While I know ties are ubiquitous in Japanese culture, the company has been trying to project a "young, hip, cafe style" image and the business formal doesn't match this at all. -The hours are inconvenient for having a social life. The actual length of the day isn't bad, but it's the start and end times. During the week, you usually work from 13:00-21:30 which leaves little time for after any kind of socializing before or after work. You also are working weekends, which doesn't give you any time to meet friends- besides your weekday days off when your other friends are working. -The kids program is awful. The kids don't learn much and the teacher's don't like teaching it. Effectively teaching children is very difficult and requires a lot of specialized education to know what you're doing. Expecting an instructor to teach an advanced level adult lesson then teach 7 year olds 10 minutes after, only to go back to adult lessons after is stressful and a lot to ask. Nova is too cheap to hire qualified children instructors or train their existing instructors better. (And children's training without actual children, either hands-on or via video, is absolutely ludicrous and doesn't count as actual training!)

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    NOVA (Japan)2020-04-03
  3. Helpful (2)

    "Alright Work, Terrible Company"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at NOVA (Japan) full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Easy work - Alright students - Visa Sponsorship

    Cons

    - Management doesn't care about its staff or teachers. I'm writing this during COVID-19, when there's a national declaration of emergency. Yet, Nova still chose to operate despite its competitors shutting its doors for the time being. They refuse to pay their staff a 60% wage even though they get a government stimulus to help with that. They use useless eucalyptus and "virus blockers" that do nothing but lull the students and staff into a false sense of safety. Teachers that asked to stay home due to health conditions such as asthma were FINED for staying home. Outside of the pandemic, the managers don't have any sense of leniency or compassion. I've had a coworker who had a mental breakdown from work stress. They had been denied unpaid leave to manage it, and were threatened to be fired if they don't "fix it." Another coworker had their home flood due to a typhoon and was unable to complete paperwork for travel reimbursement until the day after it was needed due to the incident. The paperwork was declined and they were not reimbursed for something that was explicitly written on their contract. Japanese staff aren't treated that much better either. Most don't have real breaks and have to hide somewhere to eat lunch. Japanese staff managers can get abusive to both the Japanese staff and teachers. - Lack of transparency. They don't tell you a lot of stuff, or if they do, they backpedal on it or even straight up lie. Biggest issue to date is that they said they would suspend face-to-face lessons until the emergency declaration was lifted. This was not done at all. In regular conditions, they still aren't organized enough to be clear on things. They don't tell you that even though you are on the "employee" contract, you are technically not an employee even if you work full-time. You are not given pension or health insurance, which are both legally required in Japan. - Kids training is pointless. Why do you have these training videos? They feature adults as students, meaning they act and answer with maturity. Real kids aren't so well behaved. The videos show steps for the lessons, not management or even teaching techniques.

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    NOVA (Japan)2020-05-14
  4. Helpful (1)

    "Some truth"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Ōsaka, Osaka
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at NOVA (Japan) full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Nova will get you spending money to travel Japan and help you see the image they want you to see only.

    Cons

    #My comment on #NovaEnglish #Japan, after perfunctory incomplete research. The founder of Nova, connected to at least one cofounder of #Aeon English, was convicted of fraud and embezzlement, consequently serving 3 years in prison. He was also kidnapped in Nihonbashi, Japan, for not paying his Yakuza fees. Nova closed temporarily in 2007, failing to pay its teachers. It reopened due to a loan. Last week, it made the news again for forcing teachers to risk #coronavirus #covid19 infections by working in unsanitary conditions and also penalizing teachers by deducting from salaries, for students who canceled classes. Nova English is a company for the inexperienced, unqualified, a rogue rag tag of misfits desperately seeking some modicum of respectability under the false title of English teacher😂😂 Its staff are those possessing sufficent integrity to persist in accumulating a monthly adolescent's allowance from Nova, while simultaneously sacrificing their own integrity in oiling a machinery, which benefits criminals in suits who devalue education and human rights 👍

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    NOVA (Japan)2020-04-30
  5. Helpful (2)

    ""Black Company""

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - English Teacher in Hakodate
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at NOVA (Japan) full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The students are great, and I enjoy teaching.

    Cons

    The company is extremely shady, and will do anything it can to avoid providing legally required benefits to teachers. They add (in reality, non-existant) 6 minute 'breaks' between classes, to keep (official) work hours under 30 hours a week. While it's required for all companies to contribute to health insurance and pension, the Labor Standards Office won't prosecute unless the staff work over 30 hours. They provide company health checks, travel allowances and half of the rent to Japanese staff, but not to foreign staff. They offer performance bonuses based on monthly student reviews, but withhold the money until you finish your current contract, so that you can't quit. There are few opportunites for advancement, and those that are offered are low paid with few benefits.

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    NOVA (Japan)2020-04-26
  6. Helpful (2)

    "Terrible managment and students playing favorites"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Instructor 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at NOVA (Japan) full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    There are none. The only reason I am still with the company is because the economy in my home country is terrible.

    Cons

    Management and favoritism. They treat their instructors horribly. Students place favorites and will give horrible evaluations to teachers they don't like (no matter how the lesson went) and will spread lies about them to get them in trouble over literally nothing. The managers know all of this and don't care. Instructor are treated worse than trash. Myself and others are always nervous to do OT at an unfamiliar branches to students like this.

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    NOVA (Japan)2020-03-27
  7. Helpful (1)

    "Terrible pay, and only getting worse."

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - English Teacher in Funabashi, Chiba

    I worked at NOVA (Japan) full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Staff and instructors work well

    Cons

    Awful pay and awful hours

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    NOVA (Japan)2020-03-26
  8. Helpful (3)

    "Hell in Japan"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
     
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at NOVA (Japan)

    Pros

    Easy job for an okay pay check. Not overly long hours and more than enough time to explore Japan (On a budget) Most students are amazing and are one of the only saving graces for the job. Easy access to a VISA and a good stepping stone.

    Cons

    Where to even start. The company has a terrible rep, and for good reasons. The job is boring and completely unfulfilling. As a teacher, you’re literally just a number and completely expendable. Management doesn’t care. To get a day off for sickness or health, you literally have to jump through hoops. On the independent contract, if you’re sick you’ll have to go to a great length to get your lessons covered otherwise you’ll have to pay 500 yen (Around $5 USD) for each lesson you don’t do. If you’re sick for two days, that’s around 16 lessons. So, not only are you not getting paid for the days off, you’re also paying them to have a few days off to recover. Seems illegal, right? Well, it is. But, who’s going to stop them? You...? On the employee contract you have to get a doctor certificate if you’re sick. Which in itself is difficult and costs around 3500 yen to get just the note. If you don’t get a note, they take away 30,000 yen from your next pay. Once again, sounds illegal, right? That’s because it is. The NOVA staff workers can be petty and down right horrible to the teachers. You get into trouble for everything, literally everything. The tiniest things are blown hugely out of proportion and made to seem like a huge deal. My advice if you’re working here or thinking of working here. Keep your head down, try and follow the many ridiculous “rules” and keep your mouth shut. Don’t say anything around the NOVA staff members. The language barrier can allow for many mishaps, and management will always take the side of the NOVA staff members, even if you did nothing wrong. The job in itself is depressing and tedious. Yes, it’s easy, but it’s not fulfilling and is quite humiliating at times. The students are the only saving grace. Some are so lovely and make the job somewhat enjoyable. The initial training is also extremely inadequate. You’re given three days of training, but in reality, it’s only one day. The second and third days, you’re in there teaching with supervision from another teacher. It’s intimidating and quite scary, especially if you’ve never taught before. Keep that in mind, because that’s exactly what the process is if you get the job. They hire literally anyone. As I said early, you’re not a human and just a number to fill the roster. I know of teachers that are not very good, yet they still have their jobs after many years. They don’t care. Someone could be a potential pedophile, yet you’ll never know as they don’t do background checks, and frankly don’t care. One more thing: DO NOT agree to the NOVA apartment, it’s a complete rip off. Please, if you listen to anything, do not get the NOVA apartment. Oh, and do not for the life of you, choose the independent contract, it’s a complete scam. I could go on and on, and I may seem jaded and that’s probably because I am. I came to Japan hopeful and wanting to live here and teach. I am now regretting my decision and pray I get through this next year without losing what’s left of my mind.

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    NOVA (Japan)2020-02-11
  9. Helpful (2)

    "It was okay back when it was a franchise."

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at NOVA (Japan) part-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Get to go to Japan. Help with Visa. Help with apartment.

    Cons

    The managers have been here for a year and three years. They micro manage and act like they know more than the teachers that have been here for 10 years.

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    NOVA (Japan)2020-02-25
  10. "Not too difficult when you get used to it, good opportunity to travel"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - English Instructor in Tokyo
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at NOVA (Japan) full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Good coworkers Salary isn't so bad for an entry level position Management is attentive Great students

    Cons

    Hefty fee for leaving company housing mid tenancy No paid holidays Having to pay to get time off Lessons can get repetitive Some courses seem designed to make money rather than benefit students Sometimes feels like more of a customer service role than a teaching role

    NOVA (Japan)2020-01-20
Found 88 reviews