Universal Campus is an English language school which started in 1998 in the historic city of Kyoto. Universal Campus is a part of the Kyoshin group – a large company which provides services such as nursery schooling, extra-curricular education and health care services. Currently, Universal Campus has over 20 schools located in the Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Shiga and Kanto areas of Japan. Students are mostly aged between 2 and 12 years old but classes are available for students from 6 months up. The core concept of Universal Campus is “We all love English” and, following this concept, aims to help students grow into people who can play an active role in our global society.
Universal Campus – known by the teachers as UC – has a wide range of benefits for teachers.
■ The working hours and work schedule are set meaning that, outside of seasonal events, you will know your working schedule for the year.
UC schools are open Tuesday to Saturday. Tuesday to Friday the school is open 11:15 to 21:00 and Saturdays are 9:45 to 18:00. Generally, younger kids’ classes – BB Course (Busy Body Course) – for children from 6 months to 6 years will be taught up to around 14:00. From 15:00, classes are mostly Kids Course, with differing types and levels of classes, for 6 to 12 year olds. From 19:00 to closing time, lessons will mostly be for 13 to 17 year old kids, Teen course, or Adult classes, for people aged 18 and older. Teachers will teach a mixture of these classes up to a maximum of 8 classes a day and class size is capped at 8 students. About 30% of a teacher’s classes will be BB Course and 50% Kids Course. UC provides teachers with ready-made lesson plans, all lesson materials (CDs, flashcards etc.) and teacher manuals for regular lessons. When not teaching, teachers will prepare for their lessons, prepare materials for crafts or prepare materials for events.
■ Every school aims to create a friendly working atmosphere where all teachers can work together, talk, and play with the students ensuring everyone enjoys their time at UC.
There is an almost even split between the numbers of Japanese full time teachers and native English teachers as well as a group of part time teachers making a total of around 150 people who work at UC. With so many colleagues from around the world, it is easy to find yourself a global group of work friends.
■ There are a variety of locations throughout Japan with both larger and smaller schools.
Larger schools with 200-300 students will have 2~3 Japanese and native English teachers. At these schools, there are lots of chances for student interaction as well as a larger, in-school workforce. These locations are great for people who like to talk and be part of something big. Smaller schools, with up to 150 students, will normally have 1 Japanese and native English teacher. These schools are still growing, and, while they grow, allow the teachers the chance to really get to know their students and colleagues; perfect for people who like being part of a small, close knit group. At every school, however, the teachers are friendly, everyone will greet and talk with students and teachers are encouraged to come up with ways to inspire students as well as attract new ones.
■ There are seasonal events and parties throughout the year.
UC runs seasonal events such as picnics, a summer camp and parties for Christmas and Halloween. Past picnics have seen teachers taking students to aquariums, Legoland and a Ninja village. Summer camp has taken place at beaches – such as on Awajishima – and mountains – such as Daisan in Tottori. Full time teachers will be working to provide the event for the children, but they also allow our teachers the chance to see and experience many different places and activities and guide the students’ enjoyment of them in English.
■ Training is provided twice a year with support from external professionals.
On top of all this, UC provides two training days throughout the year. These training days feature sessions run by the provider of our textbooks – Oxford Press. These Oxford Press run training sessions allow teachers – both new and experienced – to hear from the creators how they envision the materials being presented as well as answering questions on how best to use materials or run the lessons. There are also chances for peer reviewing and idea sharing which allows our teachers to work together to raise their own abilities.
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