エイプリルフール, 友達や家族間でジョークを言いあう4月の第一日 which loosely translates as "April Fool, the First of April can be a day when you pull a joke on your family and friends." Others have called it 四月バカの日 (Shigatsu Baka no hi) and I've been waiting for that phone call from my former school telling me that the last 5 weeks have all been a joke and why aren't you in school today? I think I'll have a pretty long wait. (Here's April's Pikachu picture for you.)
When I was first given the notice that my contract would not be renewed, it came one week before the obligatory one month's notice, and was told that it was due to financial hardships that the school has been suffering (even though enrollment has been up for the last 2 years, this year by 150 kids!) Furthermore, I was not being replaced and the regular teachers would have to buckle down and try harder. Last week on desk-moving day, I noticed a spot for the ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) and I blew my top at the head of the English department stating, "wrongful dismissal, the school had lied to me, you'll hear from my lawyer, blahblahblah..." Now granted it turns out that they have turned the position into a part-time one and have recently been searching for my replacement. It's too bad that they hadn't offered the position to me and 90% of my headaches this month would have been avoided, but our principal lacks principle.
What does all this have to do with April Fool's? Well, since I am officially no longer an employee there, I thought I'd offer some advice to my successor and write it off as satire so as not to get in trouble.
My Top Ten Points of Advice for the New Guy:
10. Learn some Japanese so you can communicate better with the regular teaching staff and half of the English department. But don't learn too much, so you can avoid the monthly meetings.
9. When eating lunch in the cafeteria and someone says, "おはしはじょず、ですね"？, don't retort with, "You're quite adept at using a spoon." (o-hashi wa jozu, desu ne? means "You're really good at using chopsticks."
8. When you work 24 lessons a week, that is not part-time! That is about 6 more lessons than those taught by regular ALTs.
7. If you're good at a sport (even Badminton-it's not just for picnics anymore), join the appropriate club. This school doesn't give a rat's ass about academics, only sports.
6. Keep your resume up to date, it's only a matter of time until the axe will fall upon you.
5. When a student says, "大好き" (dai suki) or "I love you", it's not an excuse for you to break out your collection of French ticklers.
4. You can trust a few of the teachers, but there are also a few that you shouldn't turn your back on. I'll leave it up to you to discoverer which is which.
3. Even though you have to teach twice as many lessons as you did the year before and have been told to use only the incredibly dull, illegally photocopied workbook and not your own original material, don't be surprised when the Department head shows up as a substitute teacher for one lesson and brings a booklet of 12 pages of material for each student that he yanked off the net and then it goes in the trash because you don't have time to use it.
2. Don't hit on that cute p/t science teacher, that's my territory.
and the #1 Piece of Advice for the New Guy is: Don't blog about the school, it might get you in trouble.
I really did enjoy my time at the school (though for some of the reasons above this past year was not so great) and I will truly miss all of the students and most of the teachers. I only wish my departure from the place was not so sleazily handled.
To get this back on track as an April Fool's Day post, here are the Top 100 Hoaxes and some guy has taken the trouble to translate them. This is the necktie I plan to wear today, appropriate ain't it?