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Ok to quit?

CygnusZCygnusZ Registered User regular
edited December 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm working at a middle school in Japan now.

Students freely walk in and out of the class.
They randomly yell at the top of their lungs.
They hit the teachers.
They chant "DIE DIE DIE" (and worse!) during class.
One spit on me last week.
Yesterday a student walked into class with a baseball bat.
Around 10 of the 3rd year students threaten old people shopping after school.

There is no system of punishment for the students.
No detention, no suspension, no expulsion.
Students do whatever the fuck they want, when they want and they know they can get away with it.

Honestly, I feel bad for the students who are serious, but I just don't want to be here anymore.
This is the third year in a row I've had to deal with this kind of situation, and I'm just fed up with it.

CygnusZ on

Posts

  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    Yeah it's OK to quit. I mean, it would be OK to quit even if everyone were being nice to you. Jobs are not lifelong obligations.

  • astronautcowboy3astronautcowboy3 Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Are you a JET or an ALT through a different program/company? (I'm a HS JET ALT in Hyogo Prefecture, but I might be able to give you some advice.)

    astronautcowboy3 on
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  • CygnusZCygnusZ Registered User regular
    Private.
    I was on JET for 4 years.

  • astronautcowboy3astronautcowboy3 Registered User regular
    So your contract expires in April, I assume? I'd guess quitting doesn't cost you your flight home like it does us, but if you plan on staying in Japan it might affect interviews for your next job. You might be able to collect unemployment until April (when it's easier to get a new job) if you quit some time in December. I don't know if quitting disqualifies you for unemployment though.

    You could also start hitting back.

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  • iMattiMatt Registered User regular
    Wow I'm really shocked by reading this! No one should have to work in these conditions! I guess we really are heading towards the introduction of the Battle Royale scheme!

  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Short term misery should make you think long term goals. Is the current situation leading anywhere? Are you putting yourself through pain for a reward later?

    If yes, you need to weigh up the current costs against the future benefits and see if it's worth putting up with this for now.

    If no. Strongly consider getting out. We get one life each and putting yourself in a miserable situation for no gain is no way to spend it.

    Jam Warrior on
    MhCw7nZ.gif
  • RadicalTurnipRadicalTurnip Registered User regular
    Quitting is fine, that sounds terrible. You're under no obligation to try to fix the system or anything like that.

  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    Quit, or enact a Lean on Me type situation and bring your own bat to school.

    (DAMMIT iMatt, i wanted to make a battle royale joke!)

    What would happen if you got hurt or something? Is there any sort of protection for you? This is crazy, i'd be out of there for fear some kid would take a swing at me and things would get out of hand.

  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    You know, there's a lot of joking about hitting kids in here, but in all seriousness, is corporal punishment allowed in the Japanese school system?

    I'm not actually recommending you come to school and get all Treat Williams on the kids or anything, because your first priority should be your personal safety...

    Having said that, is there no security in the school? Like a security office you can call to have the kids removed?

    are YOU on the beer list?
  • darkmayodarkmayo Registered User regular
    what is the age group we talking about here.... and where in Japan are you?

    Switch SW-6182-1526-0041
  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    He said middle school, but i don't know if that's 6-8 like it is in the US.

  • garroad_rangarroad_ran Registered User regular
    Middle school is equivalent to gr. 7-9.

  • iRevertiRevert Tactical Martha Stewart Registered User regular
    1Itd7.png

    Honestly given your situation I'd look into when your contract ends and what penalty there is for quitting. If the time till your stint is short [1-3 months] I'd tough it out but thats me, if you feel its at a point where quitting is critical then you should.

    Being in a bad work environment sucks no matter how you cut it, but you do need to look at a bit of long term on how it would look at your next interview and most importantly if you can make it back home/survive till a new job opening comes about. I've eaten shit for five months at a job that was soul crushing and just massive demoto every day because there wasn't any other option for work at that point.

    What it boils down to is what you think is best, if you feel as though your health is in danger then yeah bail, if you feel you can find another job fast and quitting having no effect on that then yeah bail. But if you only have a short time left then perhaps it might be worth toughing out for the sake of financial and future jobs.

  • CygnusZCygnusZ Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Yesterday one of the kids kicked a 60 year old science teacher in the leg so hard he had to go to the hospital.

    To answer the questions:

    1) Outside of JET, I haven't heard of an employer paying for flights in many years.
    2) I've mainly stayed in the field as long as I have because of the recession. The benefits of not being unemployed and able to provide for myself, even if it means taking a lot of shit, is extremely attractive. I'm on track to getting teaching cert, but after this I'm pretty sure I would never want to be in a position of real responsibility with kids.
    3) Corporal punishment is out of the question. Nor do I really have any desire to hit the kids. I want a punishment that creates a burden on the parents so they pressure the kids to behave.
    4) No security officer. Elementary schools used to have them, but due to budget cuts they've been laid off.
    5) Funny you mention removing kids from the classroom. That can actually be difficult, even if the administration comes and tells them they have to go, they just say no and there's nothing anyone can do about it.
    6) The age of middle school students is 12-15.
    7) The school is located in Osaka. I'm not going to get any more specific.

    CygnusZ on
  • astronautcowboy3astronautcowboy3 Registered User regular
    I'm pretty sure removing students from class is illegal. Basically, there is nothing that an ALT can realistically do about bad kids. In fact, the teachers barely have anything they can do either. Students are either motivated or they are not in Japan, and since, as you said, there's no detention or anything, there is literally nothing keeping bad kids from being bad. It's a societal problem that you won't be able to solve on your own. In high school, kids can get kicked out, but I think that is also illegal in Japan in JHS.

    The only way for an ALT to really fight it is to make lessons that are so awesome they want to participate. That might not be in the realm of possibility though, if your insane students are too far gone.

    People watch things like GTO and think any bad behaving students can be turned around, but they forget those kids were also all really smart. It's a lot harder to work with lower level students with bad behavior that aren't punished for bad grades or actions.

    Honestly, I'd look for a new job if I were you, but if your contract is only until April I'd say stick it out. Everyone knows that being an ALT is a tit job no matter what the situation. Hell, if the students get violent with you, you could probably refuse to teach (and still get payed).

    The JRPG Club: Video game reviews, vocabulary lists and other resources for Japanese learners.
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  • Spectral SwallowSpectral Swallow Registered User regular
    Have you tried overloading them work? I know it kinda sucks for the students that do want to learn, but maybe if they have 10 sheets a day to do (with worksheets increasing for poor behavior) they'll straighten up. If they don't do it, fail their butts.
    Or make 50% of their grade a 'attitude grade' so that even if their acing their papers, if they keep screwing around they'll still fail the class. Go no tolerance. These kids probably have free reign at home so they think they have it at school too.

    *Note: I'm a teacher in America and when I did the above practices behavior improved 100%. Just remember, don't just threaten, follow through.*

  • AlthusserAlthusser Registered User regular
    If you've been there for so long and you were making JET money for a while, you've got some savings, right? The recession exists but it's no reason to avoid getting on with your life. Heck, I got a temp-to-hire job when I came back from Japan in September, and it's not particularly inspiring, and it's probably a lateral move career-wise, but it's a step up in sanity from Lord of the Flies over there, right? Even in the best of times, dealing with kids that age would drive most people batty. I did eikaiwa, but my ALT friends said there were JTEs crying at their junior high schools at least once a week because of the students.

    I don't find your situation particularly shocking or unusual, but it affects different people in different ways. The way you describe it tells me that it's doing a number on you mentally. Some exceptionally unusual person might be comfortable commanding a room of thirty unruly 13-year-olds. Another person might be fine disconnecting from all the surrounding chaos and sitting through each workday until the contract ends. Many people would be really stressed out, at their wit's end, and ready to go home or off to another country. There are a wide range of acceptable responses to this situation. Don't worry so much about the recession if you have some money saved and/or can crash with a friend or family member for a few months.

    It was hard to leave Japan but it was the right decision for me. Are you leaning in any particular direction? [cue soft focus camera, dramatic music]what does your heart say?[/drama]

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Quit telling him to hit kids. :P

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • astronautcowboy3astronautcowboy3 Registered User regular
    ceres wrote:
    Quit telling him to hit kids. :P

    I work with someone who hits girls.
    Have you tried overloading them work? I know it kinda sucks for the students that do want to learn, but maybe if they have 10 sheets a day to do (with worksheets increasing for poor behavior) they'll straighten up. If they don't do it, fail their butts.
    Or make 50% of their grade a 'attitude grade' so that even if their acing their papers, if they keep screwing around they'll still fail the class. Go no tolerance. These kids probably have free reign at home so they think they have it at school too.

    *Note: I'm a teacher in America and when I did the above practices behavior improved 100%. Just remember, don't just threaten, follow through.*

    It won't work, because in Japan you can graduate junior high school with a ZERO average from pure stupidity, lack of effort or chronic absence. They have compulsory education but the language of the law has been twisted into a system that allows for some pretty ridiculous loopholes.

    Also, ALTs don't see students as often as normal teachers, so their assignments more often than not get ignored (by the Japanese teachers as well!).

    The JRPG Club: Video game reviews, vocabulary lists and other resources for Japanese learners.
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  • Stravinsky0Stravinsky0 Registered User regular
    Man, and I thought my students (undergrads) were frustrating to deal with. No one should have to work in a situation like yours.

    fc1dd9174a9dd419.png
  • Indica1Indica1 Registered User regular
    Wow, I thought the Japanese kept kids in line. This is a real eye-opener to me.


    If the president had any real power, he'd be able to live wherever the fuck he wanted.
  • TheKoolEagleTheKoolEagle Registered User regular
    most stories I've heard from people in JET and ALT is similar to this but it sounds like your group is a bit more violent then others. I remember reading a blog about all the shit they had to put up with, which while hilarious also made you think what the hell are these kids doing

    If I were in your shoes, I would get out. short and simple, but I am someone who doesn't deal with stress very well. If you aren't happy with what you are doing, you should move on.

    uNMAGLm.png Mon-Fri 8:30 PM CST - 11:30 PM CST
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Possibly stop teaching? Show up every day, put an assignment on the board, and read a book. Alternatively, gather the kids who want to learn into one side of the room and teach them. Ignore the other side. Let people self-organize to start, then auto-fail everyone on the "don't care" side. Fail all the joiners who act disruptive.

    Feasible? I dunno... I'd say don't stay there another year regardless of what you do beforehand.

  • MrFishMrFish Registered User regular
    Honestly its kind of amazing to me you lasted 3 years.. I had a somewhat similar situation teaching in Thailand, although without the violence directed towards me (they did beat the living shit out of each other, however). I only lasted one term, and got the hell out. We actually were not allowed to fail students. Couldn't be done. Grade inflation there was ridiculous... We would turn in grades, which would then be taken and "weighted" by the administration so pretty much every student got an A, except those with grades of around 30% or lower would get a B.

    Definitely ok to quit in my view. Is there any kind of penalty for leaving the contract early?

  • CygnusZCygnusZ Registered User regular
    The main things I have to lose are the rest of my yearly salary and professional pride.

    I feel that going back to the US I'm simply not going to have any way to make a living and I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with the humiliation of being 30 and having to live in parents house after over 10 years of being independent. I'm also not looking forward to lowering my head and going back to school to get some sort of specialization so I can earn a living. My grades were pretty shit, so I have no confidence in being accepted anywhere. So yeah, while the situation here sucks, and I'm beginning to accept the right thing to do is head back, there's all sorts of anxiety provoking issues waiting for me when I go back.

  • lonelyahavalonelyahava Call me Ahava ~~She/Her~~ Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    CygnusZ wrote:
    The main things I have to lose are the rest of my yearly salary and professional pride.

    I feel that going back to the US I'm simply not going to have any way to make a living and I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with the humiliation of being 30 and having to live in parents house after over 10 years of being independent. I'm also not looking forward to lowering my head and going back to school to get some sort of specialization so I can earn a living. My grades were pretty shit, so I have no confidence in being accepted anywhere. So yeah, while the situation here sucks, and I'm beginning to accept the right thing to do is head back, there's all sorts of anxiety provoking issues waiting for me when I go back.


    As somebody that went through this myself about 2 years ago: Swallow your damned pride and do it. Living with your parents at any point along these lines is huge. I moved back home after being on my own for 9 years (including life at university), and I was panicked about the humiliation. But there was none. It was able to get my head back on my shoulders, I was able to straighten my finances out, I was able to actually finish my degree (i left school one class short of my bachelors), and I am so much more grateful to have had that chance to try and start over.

    If you need a place to start over, then going back to your parents is the best way to do it. Seriously, if that option is open to you, take it. You won't regret it.

  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    Well, make sure your parents are cool with it first. Is there a reason you're teaching there, and can't teach here?

  • LucidLucid Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    CygnusZ wrote:
    The main things I have to lose are the rest of my yearly salary and professional pride.

    I feel that going back to the US I'm simply not going to have any way to make a living and I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with the humiliation of being 30 and having to live in parents house after over 10 years of being independent. I'm also not looking forward to lowering my head and going back to school to get some sort of specialization so I can earn a living. My grades were pretty shit, so I have no confidence in being accepted anywhere. So yeah, while the situation here sucks, and I'm beginning to accept the right thing to do is head back, there's all sorts of anxiety provoking issues waiting for me when I go back.


    As somebody that went through this myself about 2 years ago: Swallow your damned pride and do it. Living with your parents at any point along these lines is huge. I moved back home after being on my own for 9 years (including life at university), and I was panicked about the humiliation. But there was none. It was able to get my head back on my shoulders, I was able to straighten my finances out, I was able to actually finish my degree (i left school one class short of my bachelors), and I am so much more grateful to have had that chance to try and start over.

    If you need a place to start over, then going back to your parents is the best way to do it. Seriously, if that option is open to you, take it. You won't regret it.
    Right, there's no shame in living your life in a way that's conducive to you being happier. Forget all the stuff like shame and nebulous expectations of society, do what works best for you. If that entails what you've described CygnusZ, then don't feel bad about it, you wouldn't be doing anything wrong at all.

    Working in a highly stressful environment would likely cause way more long term harm psychologically than moving in with your parents and seeking a new or different path on life. It's not a personal fault within you for finding out that this certain path or career may have not been for you. It's healthy insight gained from experience.

    Lucid on
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    Well, make sure your parents are cool with it first. Is there a reason you're teaching there, and can't teach here?

    This seems like a major point. If you could handle what you are currently in for three years, working with our kids will be a breeze and nearly any middle school with a position available will take you because you have a higher protection against burnout (because, comparably, American kids are angels).

  • Aurora BorealisAurora Borealis runs and runs and runs away BrooklynRegistered User regular
    *Everybody* these days is living with the folks. Or unemployed. Or holding down two-four jobs and barely paying the bills. It's the goddamn story of our generation.
    If it takes six months to a year to get back on your feet, swallow your pride and do it. It's a temporary situation. Sock away your money, go back to school, be celibate for a year, see a therapist, do whatever you need to do to get some light at the end of the tunnel.
    It's easier to deal with being unemployed/have multiple roommates/live with the parents once you realize YOU ARE NOT ALONE. And it is easier to swallow a rough situation when you know it's not gonna last forever.
    If you hate your current life that much, get out and find a new one. Stagnation is the enemy.

  • lonelyahavalonelyahava Call me Ahava ~~She/Her~~ Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    *Everybody* these days is living with the folks. Or unemployed. Or holding down two-four jobs and barely paying the bills. It's the goddamn story of our generation.
    If it takes six months to a year to get back on your feet, swallow your pride and do it. It's a temporary situation. Sock away your money, go back to school, be celibate for a year, see a therapist, do whatever you need to do to get some light at the end of the tunnel.
    It's easier to deal with being unemployed/have multiple roommates/live with the parents once you realize YOU ARE NOT ALONE. And it is easier to swallow a rough situation when you know it's not gonna last forever.
    If you hate your current life that much, get out and find a new one. Stagnation is the enemy.

    I was the first one in my neighborhood to move back home with my parents. But shortly after, another 3 kids from my age group all ended up moving back in with our parents to basically 'start over'. Now, i think 3 of the 4 of us are now back out on our own, better off than when we came back.

    I get the embarrassment and the humiliation, but sometimes, you just gotta do it. Things can get better if you have solid ground under your feet.

  • CygnusZCygnusZ Registered User regular
    My parents are more than fine with it, though I think it'd take longer than just a year if I'm going back to college. There's no way I'm continuing in teaching.

    Thank you all for your kind thoughts and advice.

  • DynagripDynagrip Break me a million hearts HoustonRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    Get some plywood or plexiglass and build a saferoom in the classroom so the little shits can't get at you with their bats, knives, shurikens, nunchuks, and whatnot

  • CygnusZCygnusZ Registered User regular
    Sorry, but I need an outlet to vent without upsetting people who are actually close to me.

    While teaching a class today about 15 students from the neighboring class walked into the classroom, lined up in the back and threw balls at me. After that, one of them threw a mop at me (like a javelin) from the hallway. Just so we're clear here, it wasn't the students I was teaching, but the students from the class NEXT DOOR, during regular class hours were ABLE to both leave their classroom, enter the neighboring one and throw shit at me with no consequences.

  • ToxTox I kill threads he/himRegistered User regular
    edited March 2012
    edit: Well, having read the thread...man, gtfo. Just, seriously. You can crash at my place for a few nights, if it helps.

    Tox on
    Twitter! | Dilige, et quod vis fac
  • TayaTaya Registered User regular
    You should leave. When I taught middle school in Korea, I left my contract four months early and my conditions were far better than yours. The worst thing that I had to put up with was kids being disrespectful and not listening. You shouldn't put up with it. It's impossible to change their behaviour, and it's incredibly stressful to just suck it up and wait out the year. I felt better as soon as I put in my notice.

    Is it possible to find another school? I'm not sure how the system works in Japan. In Korea, it's fairly easy to cancel a contract and get a new job fairly quickly. Not every school will have students like that. Earlier you said you were thinking about going home.

    I was 27 when I returned home and I started a two-year program at a college. The money I made in Korea is enough to pay for the program and then hopefully I'll be able to get a job that can support me. I'm no worse off than anybody else my age.

  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against Russian warships) Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Indica1 wrote: »
    Wow, I thought the Japanese kept kids in line. This is a real eye-opener to me.
    The thing about discipline in Japanese schools is that it pretty much only exists so long as the students respect the teachers and their authority, because the teacher only has control as long as their kids are listening to them. Once that respect is gone, so is control because you have no no other tools to make them listen and comply. I've seen a school pretty much get dragged down by one bad class that essentially poisoned the entire atmosphere, with things picking up almost immediately after they graduated. If it's a school where a large part of the student body comes from disadvantaged or otherwise troubled backgrounds that make them particularly disinclined to 'fall in line' in the first place, things can degenerate rapidly, especially if you have weak teachers, and Boards of Education seem perfectly happy to concentrate bad teachers in one place, so that the good ones can be used to keep the good schools good.

    You sound almost exactly like my clone. I thought they weren't letting you out of the test tubes until 2015?
    You know, there's a lot of joking about hitting kids in here, but in all seriousness, is corporal punishment allowed in the Japanese school system?
    It happens, but it's just as illegal as in the US, and I imagine the furor over a foreigner smacking a kid would be tremendous.

    @CygnusZ
    I taught in Japan for five years, until I found myself the financial crunch hit and cuts to the district budget meant that English teachers for elementary students were at the top of the list of luxuries to be trimmed. I tried to find another teaching job in Japan, because the thought of going back to the states and having to live in my parents basement until I got back on my feet after having been on my own and independent for more than ten years was horrifying. Until my dad told me to pull my head out my ass. Living in their basement four years from then, playing video games all day would be horrifying. Living there because I'd lost my job in another country due to no fault of my own with short notice and needed a place to help me get back on my feet was _sensible_ and only a dumbass would say otherwise.

    Now while it would've been pretty embarrassing if I'd picked up a hot date and tried to bring her home over the subsequent months, living at home gave me a solid start for reestablishing myself in the states. I didn't have to scramble to find living space or worry about running out of money for rent and living expenses, and that let me focus on getting my act together. I thought about continuing education, but didn't have any goals worth the time or money, so while looking for jobs, I focused on what I could apply my time in Japan to. It took me six months to get a job, but first I had a brief stint working as an office assistant in a Japanese government office in the DC Metro area, and then got a job at a Japanese engineering company's US HQ because even with mediocre Japanese ability, I was able to fill a valuable role as a liaison between Japanese engineers and US customers (being the only American in the office, that was one of their weak points before I got there).

    Gabriel_Pitt on
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