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2005-12-27 9:23 p.m.


[WARNING: I suspect this entry might be boring.]

This evening Iíve been thinking about my difficulties with the head teacher, which have, for the most part, been chronicled at livejournal, albeit often in a rather cryptic fashion. (It's the old "either write a great deal or nothing at all" business.) But I thought I'd work through tonight's ruminations here.

I think there are two primary problems that underlie most of our conflicts.

The first is a difference in viewpoint as to the nature of my position. To me, I am an employee of the board of education who happens to spend a fair amount of time at the middle school. Thus I do not understand why the head teacher at the middle school feels that his authority extends to all aspects of my professional life. He seems to see me as an employee of the middle school who is occasionally loaned out to other schools, and that therefore every work-related choice I make is subject to his approval. He justifies this by saying that legally it is his responsibility if anything ever goes wrong. Iím of the opinion that as I am not actually a middle school employee, when Iím not working at the middle school where I am and what Iím doing is not his concern.

A case in point was when I informed him of my intention to use my vacation time and take two days off. I did not bother to inform him that I was taking a third day off, because the third day I was scheduled to be at the elementary school. When he found out later that I would be gone that day as well, he was horrified because, he said, he had not informed the elementary school that I would be absent. Slightly shocked, I told him that it was not necessary for him to inform the elementary school, as I had already done so. Conflicts over whether and when I am to stamp in at the middle school also exemplify this point.

The second problem is that I am frequently unaware of the proper protocols for things, and, furthermore, I often fail to see the need for them. The head teacher, on the other hand, places a great deal of importance on doing everything exactly the way it should be done and gets very annoyed very quickly when proper procedure is not followed. He expends a great deal of energy ensuring that at all times everyone is doing things the way he wishes them to be done. The guitar incident and the difficulties weíve had getting forms filled out exemplify this problem. It is tempting to explain this in terms of cultural differences, and while I do think that plays a role, I feel it is an oversimplification. I note that I never had any significant conflicts with his predecessor, and that dissatisfaction with the way the current head teacher chooses to execute his duties is widespread among the middle school teaching staff.

The question now is, what should I do about this situation? Should I talk to someone about it? The Hawk, maybe? She's actually relatively sympathetic to my point of view, and she would know much better than I what my options are. Perhaps I should try talking to him? I don't think the second problem is likely to find an easy resolution, but there may be hope for the first.* I don't think he understands quite why I've so often resisted following his instructions. Perhaps we could reach some kind of understanding. Or perhaps the best course of action, the most Japanese course of action, would be to do nothing at all, to just grin and bear it until I leave.

The sad part is that he was probably my favorite teacher before he became the boss man. We got on really well. Though after today, especially... [sigh] Things got a little nasty today. In Japan it's often expected that when your supervisor is displeased with you that you say nothing to defend yourself. Respect for authority has never been among my virtues, however, and I can't seem to keep my mouth shut.

Damn I'm glad I'm not Japanese.

I get to leave tomorrow, though, and I won't be back for nearly two weeks. That will be lovely.

you're no fun since the war was won,


* To summarize them in a somewhat less objective manner, the first problem is that he thinks he's the boss of me but he's not, and the second problem is that he's a dick.