Well well…it seems I jinxed myself with the title of the post before the previous one. Let’s see if giving this post a pun on the title of the second episode of Fuurin Kazan works out better for me.
Back in April, the principal of my school told my co-ALT and I that the school, along with other schools with 2 ALTs, would no longer employ 2 permanent ALTs. Instead, one would stay, and there would be one ALT who worked at 2 schools, visiting the base school 3 days a week, and our school 2 days a week. He wasn’t explicitly clear about the cause for this, but when I asked if it was due to money issues, he merely said “probably.” He said that he didn’t have a say in who stayed or anything.
So, we chewed on that for a while. It couldn’t be helped that they were downsizing, the economy’s not in great shape. Okay. So I figured I would be moved because I speak Japanese and therefore am better prepared to go to a new school. My co-ALT figured he would be moved because I had seniority. It could have gone either way. But then, the teacher of an ALT who’s returning to her country told said ALT that their school was “getting an ALT” from my school to replace her. So, I figured, if I get moved, it’ll be to her school, which is still in bikable distance, and I’ll still get to visit the school I’ve spent so much creative energy on. I was ready for this.
My co-ALT was ready for being moved also. The ALT supervisor at the school we thought one of us would move to invited me and my co-ALT to his house for a BBQ. I was too busy with stuff at home and didn’t go, but my co-ALT went. Met the guy’s family and everything.
So imagine our surprise when we get called down to the principal’s office and learn that my co-ALT would be staying, and I would be going to a completely different high school!
I was blown away. I wasn’t ready for that at all. Visiting two days a week, I could still see the things I implemented in motion. I could see if my kaizen panned out for the whole year. I could see how the new English Club would go. I could see the first batch of kids I had when I came to Fukuoka graduate.
I really wanted to see them graduate.
I was furious over the decision, as it seemed to make no sense. After all, the school still needed a visiting ALT, and that other one school still needed one too. I happened to get the low-down from another ALT, and later, got the cleaned-up, “diplomatic” version from the ALT in the Prefectural Office.
I’m slowly calming down from the rage that kept me from sleeping for a week. It doesn’t matter if I come to love the school I’ll be starting at this August, the simple fact is I’m leaving something unfinished, and I’ll be leaving behind my kids. Sometimes they do things that make me wanna bang my head against the wall, but that’s only because I care about them and want them to do better.
The teachers have been telling me that the kids at the school I’m going to are very smart, so I’ll like working there. But the fact that that school is such a high-level academic school means I might not have the freedom to run the classes how I want to (e.g., becoming the dreaded human tape player). There’s also the matter that sometimes such schools do grammar classes in the time slot of the OC classes, which is one of the reasons you hear of high school ALTs not doing anything for days on end, or not having fixed schedules.
And there’s another potential casualty: my relationship with the School for the Blind. Said school has always had one of my school’s ALTs go do teaching visits periodically, so I have to wonder if they’ll be able to request me from the school I’ll be going to, or if they’ll want to maintain the tradition. While I really like visiting that school in general, my main concern about this is the student who barely goes to classes, but shows up for English classes when he knows that Final Fantasy is going to be worked into the lesson. I don’t think the person replacing me knows FF and will be able to do the same. I’m scheduled to go to that school the Monday after the next, and it’s going to be tough giving them the news after they asked me several times if I would be staying in Japan and staying at my school. *Sigh*
When I hear the English teachers planning my farewell party, because I’m not leaving Japan, it feels so strange. Knowing that they want me to write an essay for the yearbook, which will be published long after I’m gone, is also painful. I don’t know how many teachers know I’m leaving yet; it won’t be officially announced until after finals are over next week. But I’m sure many do know. It was a bit hard to miss the uncharacteristically flustered Eli that fateful day.
I know that it’s not the fault of the school I’m going to that this is happening, so I’ll do my best to work as hard for them as I did for my current school. But it’s gonna be a tough year.