*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

For profit schools

Are for profit, genius.

The other day's post was about the loucheness of a pair of teachers.  The plenty I've written about private 'international schools' can easily be searched in the top-left of this blog.  This post is a great deal of fun about the same imploding school, but less about people who can't keep their indiscretions discrete, and more about what happens when an 'international school' has Japanese in charge: which is to say, the norm.  If you have worked in Japan, you will get a good laugh out of direct quotations.

All of the text below are the teachers' written opinions, though I believe they were typed up by someone without native English.  I will not tell how I got them, but they are already in the public domain.  I have removed identifying features, and cut length, though anyone familiar with the school will catch all the references.  Enjoy.

I feel that the school`s development plan is not followed because the schools priorities is money. The decisions made by non-educationist are resulting in the sacrifice of children’s education and safety. Therefore, how can the development plan be followed when making and saving money is more important than educating children.

The school provides no professional development as the Japanese office staff do not value teaching as a profession.

In light of the current contract renewal debacle, I no longer believe that those people in a position to decide the future of the school wish to spend time developing the current cohort of staff, merely seeing us a transitory beings in the grand scheme of things, who can bring no long term benefits to the institution and thus do not deserve to be supported adequately enough to make steps forward above and beyond what can be achieved through self determination alone. 

Some of the office managers do not seem to be qualified to complete their missions. Those positions should require, I believe, good English capability, management experience, high-level moral, and care for children above all else. I don't understand why and how they were selected to take the responsibilities. They even sometimes do not seem to understand what conducts are prohibited in terms of sexual and power harassment. This office environment makes people feel uncomfortable
 I`m not sure that a lack of English apparent in some office members is good for an international school. I had to call the school once and the person who answered couldn't speak English. I ended up putting the phone down and calling back. What if i was a prospective parent who couldn't speak Japanese. That is 1.6 million yen down the drain.
There is too much conflict between the educators and the administrators. The ?????? is having an affair with another staff member... professionally and morally wrong!!

 Office staff apart form one or two completely useless. After 4.5 years nothing changes in the office apart from new office staff. Office staff are both rude and unhelpful to teachers and parents. Everything is a problem from the tiny things to the big things. ICT a joke, ICT people cant do anything. ???????? I dont trust. Office need to understand we are an International School because they have foreigners working for them. So they need training how to interact and deal with foreigners. As this is a problem. No teaching staff think to highly of the office staff. But please remember that their is still one or two that are helpful and try to help both teachers and parents. Their is a male in the office that is agressive, abusive over the last 5 years, has being caught watching porn on school computers, is agressive to parents and children and teachers, swears in [another language], has had a sexual case brought against him and nothing gets done about because he is Japanese. Oh sorry they changed the desks around but even then couldn't get it right and the [supervisor] had to step in and change things.??????  has lied about so many things to staff its hard to trust him.... How can the office lose million/millions of yen with the school [public activity] etc. Think all new staff still havent being told about their last months salary could be wrong here. Seems they are racist, have heard that some office have said in public they like the job but hate all foreigner that work here and have heard that both [supervisors] have said dont worry we are Japanese and we are ok in their office meetings. But hey the school will turn into a Japanese school with a Japanese [principal] or [VP] so at the the end of the day they have nothing to worry about

 I also question if we need almost as many administration staff members as the entire elementary teaching team; considering we are a school and not an office.

The staffing in the office has deteriorated to such a point were I do not feel welcome when going in. It has never been easy when going to request something from them. There has always been sense of resentment from certain male members of the office when asking for a simple request.. as I cannot speak Japanese I feel uncomfortable when the non English speakers talk around me and 'over' me. Do they see themselves as superior to the teachers or am I mistaken. Attitudes reflect as such. I thought we were the same team. Who is the grumpy old man in the back of the office and what does he do?. All I see of him is playing with his computer and sitting with Mr ??????. He never replies to my greetings. Obviously he has a superiority complex. Maybe he has changed the office dynamic for the worst. How exactly does Mr ??????? San find his people and what educational experience, other than being a schoolboy/girl themselves do they have? Its pretty obvious, as long as you are one of his friends, speaking English or being efficient or polite isn't a requirement. Resources are not monitored. Plain to see. When you have to scramble around for simple stationary, it tells me the person or people charged with monitoring it are not doing their job properly.

The office had 9 members of staff who are all vague about their job description. I have worked in larger schools then this and they have had a maximum of 2 members of staff in the office. 
There often seems friction in the office. With the man at the back of the office watching everything-, it seems worse
Teaching staff no longer trust the Administration at this school. There is a clear feeling of racist bias amongst some Japanese Management Administrative staff and lack of respect for foreign staff. I have heard ?????? -san saying that office staff should not trust foreigners! There have been some improvements but still it seems staff in the office are hired without proper due diligence and procedures. Some Office Staff are great. But they all seem scared of ??????? -san who just shouts at them.

I feel very dissapointed that a so called not for profit school is so reluctant to spend money on its students. especially considering the enormous fees parents pay. That we as a staff made a presentation for [student welfare] and only got a useless slice of cheese is extremely dissapointing and to be honest quite embarrassing, and difficult to defend when asked by parents.
Air conditioner in G1-G3 a joke in both summer and winter, but you have ??????? controlling the temperature just to save money. He has to remember that these parents pay our wages and they deceive in Summer a cool class to learn and in winter a warm class to learn and not to get sick. No physical outdoor equipment for children must be so boring during their breaks that they can only play with a couple used rubber balls. Nothing has changed for the enhancement of the outdoor appearance and the benefit for children's development. Inside the classrooms excellent, find it funny that we have run out of white art paper and nothing was done about it or the excuse was that the wrong colour got ordered. But we can get a huge projector screen in the hall just with a snap of a finger because their some big meeting with Teachers are coming to look at the school so very important and even then they screw it up. But peoples opinion is more important then the parents/children that pay our wages
 All the computers in the school are ludicrously outdated and cheap. Anyone with even a basic understanding of IT can see how our network speeds and computers would have been embarrassing 5 years ago. No real attempt is made to remedy the problem. My SMART board has been broken for months. There was an attempt to repair it for November 30th, but when that failed all efforts have simply halted.  While the [school public activity] is a fun day for children and their families, I would heavily suggest against using it as a fund raising opportunity, unless for a specific cause that is acted upon. As a fee paying school, there is no reason for non-specific fund raising, as we did this year. I cannot help but feel that this is simply additional revenue for the school, disguised as benefiting the children. While that is an extremely harsh and condemning statement to make about an educational institution, I am saddened to find very few other explanations.

I strongly hope members who like children and support to children and staff and appropriate experience and knowledge re education.e.l. When members is talking at office They use discriminatory word "Gaijin". It makes me sick when I heard... distrustfulness of [the school].... Their judgement for personnel manegment .

 If part of the vision was to `improve the living environment for foreigners residing in [prefecture name]` then why do I feel so marginalized? Why do i spend every day wondering if I will have a job next year? Why is the school doing everything they can to not help the foreign teachers? Some of the teachers at school have Japanese wives, Japanese children, houses in Japan, permanent residency, pay Japanese taxes, pay Japanese pensions etc. but still its apparent from conversations and meetings that the staff have that these people they are slowly being forced out of the school.  Incompetent office staff however can rest easy, as despite the constant complaints from co-workers and parents, nothing ever changes and they can carry on under performing until the retire. Its a joke!!  There is a huge sense of mistrust and deceit emanating from the administration building and it is making the school rotten... lining your own pockets with profits. 
 Removing the????????, who is extremely lazy, but good at talking about how much work he does and how much he will do when he is the [principal], while not being able to do his own job properly would be beneficial to the school. To remove office management from educational decisions and daily running of the school decisions. To have office staff who do not make blatantly racist or discriminating remarks regarding non Japanese parents!!!

(1) Get rid of the ????????. Board of Trustees need to be give ALL information not just spoon feeding them the information he want to give them. He has lied about contracts give people new contracts on the first day of their new contracts and told them too sign which is against the law. Staff member signed new contract then he changed it and gave him a new one again against the law. Has no real understanding of education and is destroying the school with his decision. Has said all foreigner teaching staff will be out by 2018. He got rid of the [principal] who is doing a good job for reason that’s we all assume are unfair and not correct. Still he is not telling the truth regarding Japanese teacher license for foreigners teachers. (2) Both [Japanese supervisors] are people who teachers don’t trust and seems that they and the Chairman are making all the decisions which seem unfair fair.  (4) Rules need to apply to all staff not just one set of rules for foreigners and another set for Japanese.  (7) A ????? that supports the ???? which is clearly not happening. And a ????  that is honest and fair not someone that will lie to save his on job and say things to teachers about other teachers in a negative manner. 
 I must question if any value is being put on the efforts of staff at all. Because this is not how you treat something you value. Staff will leave. They will find jobs where they are valued. They will tell others about how [the school] treats staff. The quality of teachers willing to work here will decline. 
 Contracts in the past have been altered and changed without the consent of both parties, even after being signed. 
 There seems at [the school] a feeling of distrust from Japanese Administration towards others - I do not know why this is. And too many secret meetings? I do not understand the paranoia that this school is becoming too International. This is not the case. We need a translator who is not afraid to translate - rather than only translate what she thinks the Japanese Administration want to hear. 
Why would a good teacher move to [the school] knowing that staff at the school are getting fired for no reason? This school will become a school for Nova teachers only and will have less than 100 children in 5 years time. I want to leave, it has become a joke and is rapidly becoming a very low grade school. ?????, ?????, ????, ????... who is next? Interesting that they are all foreign and yet the only incompetent workers in this school are ???????-san, ????????-san, ????-san & ???????-san! Stop giving contracts to former [business name] employees - they don't know what they are doing!!!!!!
The man in the office, xxxxx-san is a very negative influence for staff. He sits behind a computer all day looking at paperwork and never visits the school. 
 a lesson in how to say `good morning` that the office staff could attend, wouldn't be a bad thing.
The school needs to be more open and honest in its general treatment of its foreign staff. How they have treated several members of staff has been disgraceful. Office staff, in particular the three head males, need to fulfil their duties and be more capable of doing their said duties. if they are not then they should get additional training. Japanese and foreign staff should be treated as equals. When Japanese staff are not reprimanded for using bad language in public towards staff or parents, have been caught looking at pornographic materials on school computers, sexually harassing female staff or making hugely inappropriate remarks to other staff members it is a real shame.
However, having been told that all teachers employed at the school in 2013 will not have a job here after 2018, to the contrary it feels like many members of staff are unsettled and unhappy
The school is sliding into mediocrity despite the efforts of certain staff. Professionalism. From the top, the [principal] is dressed smart with a room I feel comfortable in compared with a scruffy ??????? working in a man cave. The unwelcoming feeling coming from the office. With the exception of Mrs XXXX, XXXXX and Mr XXXXX, who are helpful and friendly, I don't enjoy going in to ask for help with eg. my terrible computer smart board or an order. Why did they push all the helpful people closer to the door!? My students sometimes complain about how Mr ???? talks to them. They say he is rude and aggressive' I have seen this and his tone seems rather short. Not recently, but as having a basic knowledge of [that language], I was horrified by things he would call out in the office, I don't have much to do with him now because of this. Disgusting. I hope he doesn't practice his [that language] with the bus kids. Hey! Maybe there is the fear that permanently contracted teachers will slack off just like half of the office staff do
There are rumours about Mr. ????? contract. I do NOT agree he is not renewed. He has been a good [principal] for me. I do also not agree that Mr. ????is going to take over which is obvious to everyone. He has been a bad ???? ??? for me. If Mr. ???? becomes the new [principal] I will leave [the school]. He is the wrong choice. Someone who is openly having an affair should not be the new [principal]. And management should not condone this affair. It is wrong. It sets a very bad moral tone for the school and parents are very upset about this as well. It was interesting how Mr. ????? was ignored at our last Staff Social event. I think this is sad but I understand.
I feel that the Japanese office staff are racist, they treat foreigners worse than dogs. They shouldn't be allowed near children with this attitude! I've heard that ???????-san told the office staff not to trust us because we were foreign... why would any parent want to send their children to a school with these sort of people in it? There is a lot of corruption at [the school]. Every contract awarded to an outside company has some sort of link to [business name]. The school pays huge amounts for money to people for stupid things like... How many people does it take just to organise the buses? This job is just done by the school receptionist in England, can't believe how inefficient the office staff are!
I wasn't going to mention this but I am a little disappointed that ????? and Mrs ???? are having an affair openly. I wouldn't mind normally but he does have two children in the school so it makes it awkward teaching them from a moral viewpoint.
I do not understand why the ???????? is still being employed at [the school] when everyone knows he has been and still is having an affair with another teacher. A parent saw them as recently as mid December kissing in public near the schoolThe school (since ???????-san came) seems to be looking for reasons to get rid of foreign staff and make the school completely Japanese in culture and organisation.  There is an ethos of distrust from Japanese Management to foreign staff including the ???? who seems to be ignored most of the time and not included in meetings. Clearly they have decided ???? is the next [principal] and all know it but are not open about telling everyone. A MAD decision. He can't do his job as??????? ! He prefers to do the easy things that he can (like drive the car, visit trips, substitute teach) rather than his job description.  Most staff do not understand (including Japanese Staff) why Mr. ???? is 'allowed' to continue his affair by Japanese Management and why Mr. ????? has apparently been told to leave - I heard this from Mr.????? ! It makes no sense at all. One of them arrives late to school and meetings most days, whilst the other has done nothing wrong.


  1. So, what are you showing us here? The story of an international school that has decided it would rather be international in name only, and therefore is seeking to make the non-Japanese teachers feel unwelcome, so that they will take off, and the management can then turn around to the parents with a shrug and say 'unreliable gaijin', whilst at the same time doing the envelope under the table routine with an outside contractor that they also receive golden parachuted retirees from? Have I got that about right?
    Name and shame, if you have a web-link for the quotes.

  2. Yes, it is about how its dysfunctions are symptomatic of schools run by Japanese owners or interests, as I said. I won't 'name and shame' for good reason: I won't compromise staff at the school who do not deserve it, and I won't compromise the source, and I do not have the time to find out what trouble I would be in with Japanese libel laws. Do your own sleuthing.

  3. The "hard to understand" things going on in Japan's companies are in my opinion all explained by the "elephant" that most foreigners seem to still not able to allow themselves to see: The "yakuza" is involved in everything that's going on in Japan. Not the lower ranks with tattoos and missing limbs which are easily identified, of course. The Yakuza has all kinds of employees.
    That "grumpy old man sitting in the back" is a Yakuza. He's making sure the business is paying its "taxes" and therefore no Japanese questions his role. They all know better.
    The "guy who has been caught watching porn" and is swearing, but somehow never gets fired? He, or his parents, are Yakuza too and has good connections that landed him a job in this school. The Japanese understand he's not supposed to work or behave - he's above the other staff and can't get fired anyway, so he'll do whatever he pleases.

    I don't feel especially clever for understanding that most of the unexplainable things in Japan are easily explained once you allow yourself to see that there's a "caste" (organised crime) in Japanese society which runs things in the background. It's always been like this, and it's the exact thing that the Japanese mean when they say "you don't understand Japanese culture".
    That's why the average Japanese seems so inhibited, subservient, and non-confrontational - because you can never know if you're talking to a member of the "Yakuza" and your life might be on the line.

    1. Or if they're in Soka-Gakkai, eh?

      You're describing the malice but neglecting the stupidity; what you say accounts for a quarter to a third, stupidity for the balance. You well know stupidity and sloth, and the inability or unwillingness to address it, are rampant in the Japanese workplace.

    2. Yes, you are right. Fear of getting into trouble with the wrong people can't account for all of the work-avoidance. Yet it could be that the lack of motivation to do a good job is due to a feeling of "let's not stick out either way, be it good or bad. Let's not get on the radar of the 'organization'".

      But as you say, of course the stupidity and sloth aren't all pretense.
      The rigid structures of Japanese society, including schools and companies, are there for a reason: Because - and this is my personal opinion - on average the Japanese are bad at focusing and naturally chaotic, i.e. the opposite of hard working and goal-oriented.
      Japan Inc. was only able to thrive with severe rigidity in place to counter-balance the nature of people.
      The proof? I have none. But to get an idea what the Japanese actually do is to look at their lives outside of work (or school): The hoarding and cluttering up of their apartments. The inability for most to do anything else but shop for leisure. And the brain-dead entertainment most engage in, turning on the TV at every chance they get. Sitting on the floor in their cluttered apartments, sleeping under the Kotatsu with Sanma and his brethren braying repetitive bullshit. That's the real, modern-age Japan.
      When these people put on their suits, and go to work in their downtown offices, they might look like business, but they don't have it in them.

  4. Like a soap opera. Seems like an interesting place to work in some ways...

    1. In fairness, I know what the younger woman looks like, and I would too*: lithe Asian woman from abroad not over thirty, with a RACK.

      NB: I have not said it is MY workplace.

      *Except I have a Japanese wife, and they all have a bit of Sadako/Yamazaki Asami in them.


  5. ' they might look like business, but they don't have it in them.'

    Awesome quote! The Japanese have never 'had it in them'. The whole post war 'economic miracle' of Japan was due to the US propping up Japan Inc. with technology transfer, and the military shopping for the Korean and Vietnam wars. It's no coincidence that Japan Inc. stalled when the cold war ended.
    And now? 20 years on Japan's tried nothing, and they're all out of ideas.

    1. 'Stephane' and 'Anonymous' (who I think has been the same 'Anonymous' on multiple comments), you're even more cynical of the place than I am. I have to say you've put your finger on something with this: " It's no coincidence that Japan Inc. stalled when the cold war ended."

    2. Yep, that's me. And I think it's better if I stay anon so my bad reputation doesn't reflect on you.
      Audition! Love it! 切り、切り、切り!

    3. Cynicism feels like proper antidote to the power of (Western-made, Japan-perpetuated) positive myths that are so widespread and manifested in all the world except those Asian countries who know the depths of the pit of darkness that is Japanese culture (...because their societies share much of it).
      Japan is a manufacturing economy who has delusions about being an innovation economy. As Anon said, they were propped up after the war and also stole a good deal not unlike what they accuse China of doing now. Because there's no shortage of manpower on this island, they were able to counter-balance Western work ethics with sheer headcount.
      All this doesn't work anymore since there are new manufacturing economies (China mainly) who do exactly what Japan did. Japan only hates China and Korea so much because it sees its own shortcomings in those countries. It's mostly self-hate.
      The day Japan realises that its best days are irrevocably behind it, will be the day Japan becomes dangerous again. The aggressive nationalism has never gone away. I predict another Pearl Harbour in our lifetime.

    4. They don't have 'the bomb'. Four countries around them do, if you include the US with China, NK and Russia. The right wing will get stronger, but there'll be no Pearl Harbour.

    5. Officially they don't have nukes nor a military. Another myth, in my opinion. There are rumours that they have a secret nuke program since decades.
      My point is that they aren't deterred by their own destruction. So they might just decide to go out with a bang.
      Kamikaze and Pearl Harbour, and all the crazy stuff that ultra-nationalism paired with a delusion of racial purity / superiority enables in people.
      I bet there are people in Japan hard at work at acquiring nukes, be it constitutional or not. After all, those people never accepted the constitution and will never accept being defeated by the West.
      It's all a matter of how well Japanese society can keep their demons under wraps. But they are there.
      Sorry for ranting. I guess my point is that Japan isn't just a pathologically xenophobic and backwards society, but also potentially more dangerous than North Korea.

  6. What a clusterfuck. I don't envy your workplace. Even if it is a for profit international school, it appears the HR department, if one exists, screwed up bad hiring non bilingual staff. Damn.

    1. I have not said it is my workplace. I teach in AN 'international school', and know staff foreign and Japanese from a number of others, who in turn know others...

  7. Sorry, my mistake. I should've taken better care to read more carefully. Sorry.

    I don't envy anyone that works there. Sounds like a very unwelcoming office.

    I'm relived my Japanese place of work is without all that unnecessary drama although it does have its own share of people that were given positions not well suited to them.

  8. Yeah I got off a bit lucky with my current place of employment. It also helps I'm too busy for office chitchat so maybe I'm missing out on a lot of juicy details. Anyhow I prefer it this way. I do a good job keeping work at work. :)