Transitions at work

Japanese carnival food-rolled okonomiyaki
Japanese carnival food-rolled okonomiyaki

The most surprising thing at work has been all the transfers. I had heard that teachers are usually transferred after 3 or 4 years, but the administrators at the Board of Education also are reappointed to  new positions. They usually don’t know if they will be transferred until a week or so before the new positions are announced and they may end up in a job that they really don’t want to do. All public employees are regularly transferred and often they are appointed to a job that is unrelated to their previous position.

Woman dressed as Kikuhime
Woman dressed as Kikuhime

Our former office chief is now a principal of one of the junior high schools and the new office chief was most recently a vice-principal at an elementary school.  Another person that had worked in our office for 3  years is now working in a prefectural office an hour away. It is hard for everyone, but they all accept it as part of the system.

Teachers are also moved to new schools and though elementary teachers will only move to another elementary school, they could be asked to teach 6th grade after three years of teaching 1st grade. In our district they could be moved from a school of 28 children to a school of 720. The transfers are involuntary and they find out after the school years ends (March 26th) and will start at their new schools this week.

I don’t think I could survive long working in an environment that has that much uncertainty and upheaval. My position here is in a special category, so I won’t be asked to move to another district– I will still be covering all 32 elementary schools with the other ALT in our office.

Parade performance- dancing and 4 hours of parading-long day
Parade performance- dancing and 4 hours of parading-long day

So the kids around here will be heading back to start the school year this week and school visits should start in a couple of weeks. The days in the office are long, but I continue to work on kanji and have made some new teaching materials for the next few months.

Last weekend was Saiki’s Spring Festival. Lots of food, booths, parades, cherry blossoms, people, music. I’ll post a couple of photos now and write more about it later.

Yes we caramels
Yes we caramels

2 thoughts on “Transitions at work

  1. Christine April 9, 2009 / 7:17 pm

    The Principals and Asst Principals also get transfered around at LAUSD. I came in to the school when I was still new and there was a letter from the Principal that he was being transferred the next week. It is rather unnerving for the entire personnel at the school. I was speaking with someone who was having lunch with some Asst Prin’s when one of their cell phones rang. I am told that when she got off the phone she immediately started swearing. It was her notification that she was being transferred from San Pedro, to the San Fernando Valley! A rather bizarre practice.
    The parade looks so joyful. The food rather fatty. Let us know about the dancing you mentioned you would be doing in an earlier post. I don’t think that caramel would be politically correct around here. Yes, we cam!

  2. dianne vapnek April 15, 2009 / 6:38 pm

    Hi Kate, I greedily read all your blog entries. I guess I’ve always fantasized about what it would be like to live in Japan. Your blog answers it pretty well: complex! You are such a fine observer , as you noted. I have always been fascinated by the contrasts in the culture, at least as observed from the outside. It seems like you are on a great journey, from which there will be much learning, but necessarily of the professional kind for which you hunger! Such frustration, but such beauty. thanks for sharing your life with us!

    I did a small blog of my recent travels which I’d like to share with you. It’s :

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