to the Bone
to update the worst of the worst!
Like I said, I love my job, but I just thought you guys might
like a few pieces of gossip that were tossed around the old
the past year, my schools have gotten a bit better, a little
easier to work at. Two of my schools have almost no problems
and happenings at the other two are fairly easily handled.
The other schools in the city, have not. Every school changes,
year to year. Some go up in the "rankings" (the
ranking system every teacher has in her mind of where his/her
school fits in the best to worst scale of the city's schools),
some go down. Some faster than others. And while some may
disagree on which is the worst school, they all agree that
things are getting noticeably worse. In the
city and probably all over Japan.
biggest problem I had this past year was when a student decided
to throw my shoe out of the second story window and the lecture
I had to give afterwards. I've been poked and groped on the
butt, called a few names, and at one of my schools two of
the teachers were attacked by a student and injured. I've
had it pretty easy and I try not to complain about it. G,
my neighbor and friend, has two of the worst and largest schools
in the city. One has gotten quite a bit better, the other
has gotten far worse.
supervisor is shuffling the schools between the ALTs because
he needs a male ALT at certain ones, preferably large and
intimidating. A female ALT friend of mine has been told a
number of times to "Go to hell!!" by her 12 year
old students, another is cursed at regularly with "Fuck
off!!". Being groped by students is an occasional story
told by ALTs at get-togethers. At the schools where defiance,
cursing, spitting and fear is something the teachers have
become accustomed to, learning is nearly impossible for the
hokai" is what the Japanese call it. "Classroom
breakdown". There are kids who have what in most western
countries would be serious psychological problems. They need
help, but don't get it. Stories that the Japanese like to
bury and don't get much coverage in foreign countries. Like
the student who was cutting heads off of his classmates two
years past. Or last year's headliner student who stabbed his
English teacher to death when she asked him why he didn't
have his assignment.
students don't deserve to be put under the blanket term of
gakkyu hokai, they are a symptom of the larger problem
of the Japanese ignorance of the need of proper mental health.
But I digress
The teasing that goes on in Japanese classes is merciless
and entirely unchecked. The class dynamic here is sick and
there is little or nothing done about it. The system is suffering
and there is nothing I can do about it. I change a teachers'
ideas here or there about what can be done, but the massive
resistance to change is suffocating.
problems will not be solved. Some problems the teachers haven't
the foggiest idea how to solve because they are afraid. If
they confront them, stories get out, reputations are soiled,
or students' futures are ruined. Some of the problems are
so outrageous they would have a serious affect on the community
if they were widely known.
is an ALT in Osaka whose junior high school has the unusual
problem of trying to get the students to stop having sex in
the restrooms during classtime. These kids are 12 to 15 years
old. I wouldn't even know where to start to solve this kind
of problem, and I'm damn thankful that I don't have to.