Part 15: One of the more annoying situations that the foreign English teacher can find himself in is being stuck between a disorganized company and an even less organized school.

I rotate between schools, with the end effect being that I have the schedule for the next school sent to me before I’m scheduled to go there. This (for obvious reasons) is to provide me with enough time to plan my lessons before I get to the school..

Sounds great doesn’t it? Flawless in it’s simplicity…

In actuality this seldom happens.

In the past I religiously received my schedule 1 – 3 days after I had already started working at the school.

Not…useful…To my company’s credit, they resolved the issue.

However, they also specifically demand that the teacher report any changes made to his/her teaching schedule by the school without first consulting the company.

More simply put, the school is not to change the teacher’s schedule without first getting clearance from the teacher’s direct employer – the company.

As anyone who as ever set foot in a school even one time (or attended one for that matter) will attest to; school schedules change all the time.

If Mr. A is absent Ms. B teaches his class for one period, causing Mr. C to take Mr. B’s class for two periods and Mrs. D to…well you get the idea…

I have never had my school call my company to confirm one of their schedule changes. Never!

Let’s take this week for example:

The schedule for my next school arrives about 2 – 3 days prior (I’m still getting used to this sliver of company efficiency) and I select lessons and materials that I think will be pertinent from my meticulously and painstakingly organized collection (I like a light bag when I’m walking around, and the more files I can carry on my memory stick* the better). There’s a second period class, so I don’t want to be typing anything with a 40 minute deadline hanging over my head first thing on a Monday morning.

(*side note on my memory stick files: they are organized by grade, then by the date on which they were used (year-month-day) for easiest viewing. Following this is the lesson, then page where the target language occurs in the book..then an example of the target language. Yeah…I’ve got issues)

Also (just to cover my ass), I ask every teacher I work with (whose names are recorded in a memo in my ketai – arranged by school of course) if there is anything they want done for the lesson or anything I should know about prior to starting the class.

Today the answer is NO on all fronts. One of the teachers, Ms. Nantoka, is absent today and I will have to teach my second class with a different Japanese English teacher, but aside from that I’m assured that the situation is normal.

I have covered all bases. I am safe…

…to be continued!

Black Tokyo Monogatari: Teaching English in Japan
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