William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

90. Resolutions

Wow! What a day! Everyone has been so cheerful and pleasant! Today is one of the days that I’m really happy to be here. Ironically, it’s coming just as I’m writing a report in which I do not recommend the job! It’s really hard to be honest and nice at the same time. I feel a little bit two-faced for having written what I have when some of the people I’ve written about are beaming at me the friendliest smiles you could imagine. I think I now know why most people don’t write about work at all, much less publicly.

But anyway. =) The day duty dilemma came to a satisfactory ending – while I got another day of day duty, it was assigned to a previously unallocated weekday during Summer Study. At first I had assumed the worst, thinking I’d gotten a(nother) weekend day.

One of the teachers was a bit disgruntled about his schedule, as he’d been booked for day care on one of his vacation days. I had had the same problem, but I was able to get it politely and satisfactorily resolved in thirty seconds. He said, and I think he had a point, that “They don’t [fiddling] understand vacation here.” I hope the kids didn’t hear him…

I agree with him, though – they don’t understand vacation here. It’s reflected in the language – “yasumimasu” refers to short lunch breaks as well as long vacations. If you were literally translating Japanese to English, you could end up with something like, “Enjoy your lunch holiday!”

But in our context, they do sort of understand vacations. They understand that they’re important to us, and by Japanese standards they are bending over backwards to accommodate. By Western standards (specifically Western teaching standards) it would be a joke, but as far as things go in this county, I guess we’re not faring too badly.

Coming in on the weekends to water plants is still kind of lame, though, even if the responsibility is shared. I wonder if the school should consider hiring custodians. The teachers and kids working together do an okay job most of the time, and there is an important cultural ritual happening there, but a few custodians could make the place the sparkly and verdant. (And wouldn’t that be a great way to… I don’t know, improve the school’s image and increase enrolment?)

As far as slightly shorter days go, lunch doesn’t start until the usual time of 12, but I learned today that we don’t have to report to work until 8:30. That’s nice.

The children would have gone to camp today. If they’re disappointed now, though, they don’t show it – they all seem pretty happy! This morning a bunch of them were playing Chess and Othello and other games in their air-conditioned room.

I don’t have air conditioning in my room, but I can open all of the windows and doors and enjoy a nice breeze. It’s almost as good as A/C (though less steady), and probably healthier. Conditioned air is nice, but it feels kind of artificial.

I have the room mostly to myself, though M-sensei pops in sometimes. It’s sweet because I can listen to music while I put stuff away and correct old assignments. Once in a while I get up and dance around. It’s very relaxing and reinvigorating.

Well, it’s time to go back to living my ad-libbed adulthood!
Tags: career, holidays, jobs, school, teaching, vacation, work, writing

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