A New Chapter: Life of a Teacher

Life changes quickly, especially when external forces are the ones that make it so. However, I am looking forward to this chapter of my life- a more financially secure chapter, and in a position that I can excel in.

So, many of you may recall from my last entry that I was going in for an interview... and then I proceeded to not update at all until tonight. You’ll have to forgive me for not going back to backdate everything; I’ve worked myself to the point of catching a bit of a chest cold, so I really only have enough energy for writing... In any case, I got the job I interviewed for. Actually, I got a full-time position instead of the part-time one I applied for. My interview lasted all of three minutes, before my now-boss told me I was hired and he would like me to sit in on the next two lessons.

Since then, I have been promoted to Head Teacher of the school, in charge of the Preschool, Elementary and Adult curriculums, as well as all staff communication and administrative organization for the school. It was a rather swift change, from struggling student to Head Teacher of an English language school, and at times I feel a bit overwhelmed, but at the same time, I know I need a job I can thrive in, and the only way for me to have that sort of job for an extended amount of time is to be doing a job that constantly is changing, and is constantly challenging me. I think this position is a perfect post for me for the time being. I am very satisfied with my work, and my boss, and in general, everything that comes along with the job.

One of the nicest things about my job is that after two days of working there, Okazaki-san (my boss) asked me if I knew any other teachers who might like to work at Kyoto Kids Academy, and so I suggested Nicky to him. Well, he hired her without even interviewing her, and so now, we work together. Technically, I’m Nicky’s boss right now, but it’s worked out really nicely because I can trust a lot of things to her that I need to delegate.

Another nice thing about my work is Okazaki-san, who is one of the nicest people I’ve met in Japan (this seems to be a running phrase on this blog, but truly, I just keep meeting the most amazing people here). He is very generous, and understanding, and is willing to help Nicky and I in our visa dilemmas until all of the paperwork goes through.

I also love my commute. I can bike all the way to work and back in under thirty five minutes, which means that I’m getting at least an hour of exercise every day I work (six days a week), and the scenery of it is just awesome. First I ride down the old machiya house district, then along the Kamo River, where I can see the Kansai mountains to the north and east, and as I travel up along Shimogamo shrine (one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan), I can play a game of “Tanuki wa doko?” or “Where’s the Tanuki?” in one of the public parks. A tanuki is a luck-endowed, Japanese raccoon that has become an emblem of sorts in Japan (like the white cat with the gold coin in China). Every day in this park, someone moves the tanuki statue, so every day I look to see where it was moved to. (In case you’re wondering, yes, the statue is in possession of oversized genitalia- it’s where he keeps his money).

Finally, the work itself is pretty nice, if hectic. On Thursdays, my longest days, I begin work at 9:30am and end at 8pm. It’s a very busy schedule, but Okazaki recognizes this, so he schedules my other days pretty lightly. Though I work six days a week right now, that should change after Golden Week, when one of the teachers who fled the country will return (or so she said).

Overall, I’m very, very happy, and now that I have handled the hardest part (getting a job), the next few things on my list have become a priority: getting my visa changed, moving into a real house with a small yard for Vaaska, and getting my hair cut (not such a lofty goal, but it takes so much courage for me to get my hair cut!). I’m going to keep doing my best!