Around early 2017, the Special Project A-Team was formed to provide exclusive 1-on-1 English lessons to students who would want to acquire practical English skills beyond the typical school entrance exams. This was a partnership with one of Japan’s premier companies, Z-KAI, who is known to be an Innovative English language learning institution that combines the benefits of more than 85 years of experience in the field.
From its humble beginnings of providing 15 lessons a day with a group of 6 CBTs, they have now grown to 13 CBTs with an average of 70 lessons daily. The partnership and business has had a slow but successful growth and the Special Project A-Team has become like family. They have been the critical force and foundation of the business’ success. Here are some of their stories.
Q: What made you join this Special Project?
CJ: I wanted to try a different environment aside from teaching RJ classes. At first, I was really hesitant but I thought there’s no harm in trying.
Carlo: I joined to earn extra money. Being practical, I guess, is not a bad thing. Also, exploring new things in a company is a good way to gain more experiences in life.
Charity: Of course, it’s all about the INCENTIVES and PERKS. Hahaha! To be honest, when Sir Ted approached me to join, I was enticed with the money as well as the shift schedule. That’s why I allowed myself to engage in another training. I never thought it would be very fun!
Princess: I joined with some setbacks, but as I did my first lesson, I realized that my goal in joining the company was not just to earn money but to transform people’s lives. Being part of the A-Team gives me that opportunity. For that, I will always be thankful.
The bonding we have as a team […] is like being in a completely different world. – CJ
Q: What do you enjoy most about being in this Special Project?
Dee: The best part in joining are the back-up slots and rest slots. Also, the best thing is when the student is late for the 6th minute, he will be marked absent and you can have the rest of the time being productive.
CJ: The bonding we have as a team. I enjoy how creative you can be when it comes to updating your status in the GC. Being in this team is like being in a completely different world.
Carlo: I enjoy the food, the money, and the people. Food, because whenever we have vacant time, we treat ourselves with food and eat as a family. The money, because teaching these lessons gives us the chance to earn not only BR incentives but also additional incentives. And the people, because we not only share knowledge from the materials but also from our personal experiences.
Melmar: I enjoy the experience of being part of this group of people with different personalities.
Princess: The people in the team and the bond I make with my students. Seeing my students improve little by little is a fulfilling moment to me.
Q: What are the responsibilities of being a tutor in this Special Project?
Czyn: It is our responsibility to make sure that our members will not be afraid to learn the English language. Providing a fun lesson is a priority.
Carlo: For me, our main responsibility is to make our members feel the joy of learning English. I always make sure my students smile during our lessons since the English language is such an alien language to them. They’re new to this, so making them smile or laugh while learning the language may give them the ease and the courage to continue studying.
Melmar: I make sure that my students should not only learn the English language but also enjoy the process of learning. I also help build their confidence in talking to foreigners.
Maricel: First, we need to keep in mind that the members are not like our regular Rarejob students. This project is a product of Rarejob and Z-Kai’s partnership. Therefore, the members are also Z-Kai’s students. Second, most students are young learners, and not all are interested to learn, so we need to adjust accordingly. Lastly, we have to be on time, be patient, and be prepared to avoid negative reports from our students.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve encountered so far as a tutor in this Special Project?
CJ: You will be handling kids most of the time. Your patience will really be tested here. I encountered a student who really seemed uninterested in the class, was tired, and did not participate that much. But you can’t mirror that attitude.
Carlo: The biggest challenge I’ve encountered so far was when a student felt like not learning at all. I asked him how his day was and he said he was tired and just wanted to sleep. His answers were very short and he seemed exhausted due to school activities. I had to be extra energetic with my voice and gestures to catch his attention.
Princess: Non-participative members and the shy ones. Not all young members like to learn English. So as a teacher, you have find a way to get your member’s interest in the lesson.
Q: Tell us about the team of people in this Special Project.
Dee: These valiant tutors truly have unique abilities. They were screened and chosen for their dedication, company performance (e.g. attendance, booking ratio, high lesson satisfaction, etc.) and most especially their character – being jolly and upbeat. There is no way you can’t easily befriend them, since they smile naturally on and off cam. This team loves nomikai (drinking parties) too.
CJ: I love my team. They are really responsible and very understanding. We help each other in times of need. They are easy to get along with and they are very fun to be with. No barriers.
Mau: The A-Team is family. I know it sounds cliché, but they really do believe in one another. When a team feels like a family, they will go all out to love and serve one another.
Melmar: Amazing and fun to be with. Though we have different personalities, we respect our differences and we support each other’s weaknesses.
Charity: Loving bullies! We make fun of each other, but we look after one another. We eat our meals together (if our meal breaks permit), sometimes we have ice cream and pizza day, and we even drink together.
Princess: The whole team is composed of people who are witty, never run out of things to talk about, and are always there to give you advices in life.
Q: How is it different from being a regular tutor?
Maricel: Most of our students are young learners and every day it’s like doing school lessons. A regular tutor conducts GE and business lessons most of the time, and almost all students of these lessons are serious learners. But in this Special Project, not all students are interested to learn. Most of them are just being forced by their parents. So, we really have to adjust accordingly.
Czyn: When it comes to breaks, we need to be very flexible.
Dee: The A-Team is dynamic. Our rest slots, meal breaks, and free slots are eternally moving with the Dao. We can’t predict it. On the other hand, the team also enjoys monthly incentives on top of the pay, too.
Princess: It’s different because you get to deal more with teenagers and children.
Someday, these kids will become the future ambassadors of their country/respective companies, and taking online English lessons is a good way for them to build their confidence. – Melmar
Q: What do you try to take care of during your lessons?
Dee: I try to keep working under minimum supervision with almost zero lesson trouble report. This is a herculean task so my best style is edutainment, i.e, education and entertainment combined.
Carlo: First, level adjustment. It is very important because it backbones the transfer of knowledge. I always try to adjust to the member’s level and knowledge about English. Second, being considerate. Learn to put yourself in the member’s shoes. They’re not as good as you when it comes to English that’s why they’re having lessons with you so it’s you who should adjust. Last, I’m always careful with the words I use during lessons. Some members have their parents sit beside them while learning. Prevention is better than LTR (Lesson Trouble Report).
Maricel: Aside from finishing the material and achieving the lesson goal, I also make sure that my students are active in the lesson. If they are uninterested to learn or are passive, I make some efforts to encourage them to talk more and ask questions.
Princess: My focus is to keep my students’ interest and to develop their confidence to speak the English language. They should never be shy in asking and making mistakes in our lessons.
Charlene: During the lesson, I always see to it that the student is concentrating and that he/she would be able to answer the activities well.
Melmar: There are 3 things that I focus on during my lessons. First, it is level adjustment. I make sure that the words, phrases, and sentences that I use are in line with the student’s level of understanding. Second, I try to make my lesson interesting and fun. Students become motivated and encouraged to learn more if they enjoy what they are doing. Lastly, I help build their confidence in talking to foreigners. Someday, these kids will become the future ambassadors of their country/respective companies, and taking online English lessons is a good way for them to build their confidence.
Q: Why should other CBTs join this Special Project?
Melmar: It’s a fun and learning experience to be part of this team. Sometimes it is good for us to get out of our comfort zones and try to venture into new experiences in life.
You should never limit an opportunity to transform a student’s life and you can do this by maximizing his/her potential to learn the English language. – Princess
Mau: CBTs should join if they like to see and be seen. We place heavy value on trust and transparency. Members of the A-Team will invite you to lunch, or you can invite them. They will be upfront with you and they genuinely want to hear what you have to say.
Czyn: To experience the Envizion Way the A-Team Way.
Maricel: Joining this team and conducting lessons are great ways to improve your skills. You’ll learn to be more flexible and patient. Also, you’ll get to teach kids and teens who are just starting to learn English. Lastly, you’ll be introduced to a different side of teaching English.
Charlene: You should join because you will enjoy teaching kids and you will also be challenged!
Princess: It’s a different environment that focuses on young Japanese people and helps them absorb another language so they will be confident to speak it. As a regular tutor, you should never limit an opportunity to transform a student’s life and you can do this by maximizing his/her potential to learn the English language.