Like I said before, I’ve got a job starting on Monday, teaching at elementary school. However, the differing and often conflicting expectations of the four different parties involved (the agency, the board of education, the schools and me) are really making me nervous.

The agency said when they offered me the job that it would be at a single school. Well, they lied: it’s at three different ones. Still, that’s not nearly as bad as the 14 in two months that I had before, but it still means that I can’t just leave all my stuff in one place.

According to the board of education, I’m not allowed to speak Japanese in front of the pupils. Maybe they subscribe to the osmotic theory of learning: if I stand in front of the kids jabbering in an incomprehensible language all the time, they’ll somehow learn. Yeah, that does work up to a point, but it needs a whole lot more immersion than one class a week.

Worse, though: that means that I’m not really the teacher. What I have to do is plan the lesson, tell the teacher what to do, and stand there like a parrot in the classroom, saying whatever three word vocabulary is indicated for that day. Fun! I don’t think.

So I get all the work of planning the class, but then I have to explain it to the teacher. Each class has a different teacher, so I’m going to have to do a whole lot of explaining. That’s not a fun job. It’s easy to teach children, but teachers are a different matter.

On the subject of plans, the agency has given me six plans for each year group. In conjunction with another guy who’s doing the same job as me (at different schools) we have to make another six. That’s not too bad, really.

But—and there’s always a but—I have been specifically instructed to lie and tell them that I already have a full twelve lessons planned. All I can say is, I’m a very bad liar. It’s also my experience that lies have a habit of rebounding on the perpetrator, so I’m not going to do it. I need to discuss the lessons with the teachers, because they are going to be the ones doing the teaching if I’m forbidden from using Japanese.

The other thing that’s bothering me is that the board of education keep saying that I have to be treated exactly the same as the other (salaried, Japanese) teachers. Really?

  • Lower pay
  • Only a temporary contract
  • No benefits or pension
  • No paid holidays
  • I’m working at three different locations

Still reckon that’s equal? I know what they mean, of course: all the disadvantages with none of the benefits. Bastards!

Still, it helps to remind me why I’m getting out of this line of work.