“Hello Goodbye”

The office has been busy but not how a person would expect it to be. School is still on spring break. Meaning there are no lessons for teachers. Though many are preparing lesson plans for the coming school year or creating post spring break tests, most are like me. Sitting at their desks trying to appear “busy.” The last few days the real hustle and bustle has been for teachers that are packing up their desks.

Unlike schools in America teachers are hired by each prefectures government, Kencho. The rules are a little different for the teachers hired for Elementary and Jr. High schools, but I digress. I work within the High School system and have been learning a lot about it, but my understanding of how it truly works is limited. I can only attest to things I have seen or been told by my JTE (Japanese Teacher of English).

In recent months I have learned that in Japan teachers are transferred to new schools each year. These transfers happen within the month of March. Depending on how long you have been teaching can effect how long you will or can stay at one school. Younger teachers are transferred often. This is to allow them ample opportunities to gain experience. While those who have been teaching longer can stay at a school for many consecutive years. In the end though it is Kencho that decides who stays and who goes.

This year many teachers have been transferred from Yanai High School, my base school. This means there are open spaces that need to be filled by other teachers. Like musical chairs, one teacher leaves another will fill its spot. The last day for teachers who are getting transferred is March 31st. The first day for new incoming teachers is April 1st. While this can be exciting, it is saddening at the same time.

Yesterday I said goodbye. Today I find myself saying hello. Though I knew this day was coming it still isn’t easy. I have become so thankful to the family that I had created over the seven months I had been working in Yanai. The teachers had all been kind to me and willing to work alongside me. I will miss many of them dearly. Our time together was too short, for I already have to say “so long, fair well, thank you.”

全てが始まるHello Goodbye
Everything is starting, Hello Goodbye
-Arashi, “Hello Goodbye”

Unfortunately, the past few weeks have been filled with worries instead of sadness. Normally I wouldn’t be so effected by changes like this. I have heard whispers about a few of our new additions. Nothing that will effect my decision regarding staying here, but will keep me on my toes.

This new crop of teachers are all male and all of an older generation. Secretly I has hopping for at least one younger teacher. The majority of staff at school is over the age of 37, only five staff members are younger; myself included. Thankfully none of the current younger bloods are leaving. We can’t win them all, so I will take this point as a win.

There is nothing that can be done for these new changes.Until school officially starts again no one can fully assess any of the current situations. One can only put on a brave face and stay strong. So, here is to a new school year full of new adventures, new students, and new teachers. Good luck to my fellow ALTs! I feel your pain.

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