Well not really…
I am an English ALT, which is an Assistant Language Teacher. I’m not an actual teacher according to Japan. I’m hired by a company that “rents” me out to the Board of Education (BOE) in my city. That means that I’m not an employee of the BOE or of the school that I go to each day. I guess I’m like a traveling salesman of English lessons. 😐
It turns out that if I work for more than a set number of days (I think 8 months or so) , my city’s BOE HAS to hire me as a full time teacher. From what I understand, years ago some brave people raised a stink and fought for this stipulation in the law. Also, I think this law only applies to certain cities around Japan because other ALTs that I know are still working as usual.
The thought of having a foreigner teach English in a public school must be terrifying to Japan, so the way around this law is to take me out of the schools until October. I do still work for my company, I just don’t go to the school where I regularly teach. 😦 I told my company that I’m willing to do any assignments that they need because at the end of the day, I came to Japan to teach, and teaching is what I love to do.
So today was my last day for a while. It has been pretty hard explaining this situation to the Japanese teachers, so imagine how confused the kids would be if I tried explaining it to them! I simply told them that I was leaving the school for a while, but that I’d be back in October. It was actually really surprising to see some of the kids get sad, because I never thought they cared for me in the first place. It must be the whole “keep your emotions on the inside” thing that Japanese adults are so well-known for. It’s a shame because it shouldn’t take a “good-bye” for someone to know how you feel about them, right?
At any rate, I’m looking forward to the different assignments that may or may not come my way during this 3-month window. It should be an interesting experience. I hope to really improve my Japanese and reflect on the crazy past 6+ months here in the Land of the Rising Sun 🙂