Frustration and anger don’t begin to describe the strong animosity I feel for my soon-to-be-ex employer Nova. But let’s start from the beginning.
For several months, around 15, I’ve been making it clear to my superiors that I work hard because I enjoy the work, but that I felt due compensation was not forthcoming. I asked for one weekend day off each week, and to have it consecutive with my second day off per week.
If you’re joining us mid-game, folks, the largest private English schools always give their teachers two days off a week, but rarely are those days Saturday and Sunday.
So, I asked for a Friday/Saturday combo or a Sunday/Monday combo, and was ignored and eventually passed over because I’m horrendous at brown-nosing my bosses. Shocking, I know. As I signed my third contract with Nova, I made it very clear that if Nova wanted to keep hard-working teachers such as myself, they should, y’know, perhaps show that they appreciate the work.
At a major kids’ school like mine, that’s a tricky balance of teaching, keeping the materials organized, balancing teacher needs with the needs of the Japanese sales staff, and dealing with angry parents when we tell them that their three-year-old Kentaro can not run with the scissors.
My raise for the new contract was half of the one I got last year – 5000 yen.
Furious, I wrote a letter very politely demanding a higher raise or I’d quit. To my surprise, The Powers That Be agreed with my self-assessment and bumped my raise up to 10,000 yen. I swear I saw Chicken Little dart in front of me walking home that day.
So, having been awarded a semi-reasonable raise, but still being denied the weekend day I so desperately desired, I kept looking for a new job. And I found one.
I submitted my resignation to Nova gleefully, and I hoped my co-workers were jealous. I’d miss my students, and my contract is only until mid-March, but I felt those were acceptable losses I needed to take in order to get out from Nova.
Within an hour of turning that 8.5″ by 11″ “fuck you” to Nova’s management, the poop started to fly. My Japanese manager, who never spoke English, summoned the courage to use her more-than-adequate English skills and asked me why.
Very politely, and without laughing, I told her I wanted a weekend day. I figured all the other problems, the bullshit textbooks, the bullshit paperwork, the social-skill challenged people I was forced to associate with for eight hours a day, all the other crapola would get lost in the translation.
“Weekend days,” I said.
Hours later, I got a call from a middle-management type. He was very polite, so I responded in kind. I explained more thoroughly why I wanted to quit. He asked me if I would change my mind if he could arrange for a weekend day off for January. To humor him, I told him I would consider it.
Before the end of the night, he called me back and said that starting January 1, I would have Sunday and Monday off, if I wanted them. To be honest, I was rather surprised. In all my other dealing with people in his position, I was told either they “needed more time to study the schedule situation” or flatly “no.”
And now, all of a sudden, because I’m leaving, they decide to acknowledge my efforts by deigning me worthy of my request? To be polite, I told him I needed to think overnight about it, but by the time I hung up my phone the decision was made: The mutant pink bunny with the duck’s beak and the freaky midget outfits was toast.
That was yesterday.
Something bothered me the whole night and this morning, and it wasn’t the decision to quit. When I finally hung up the phone after declining middle management’s “generous offer,” I realized what it was. When working for Nova, they are real, real big on ensuring teacher responsibility and respecting your commitments.
If you’re late even one minute, you get docked an exorbitant amount of pay – even if you’re late because the company has been moving you from school to school, sometimes letting you know where you’re teaching with less than an hour’s notice.
So, they wanted me to violate this new contract I’ve signed to honor my old one with them? Am I the only one who sees how bass ackwards this logic is? If the company gave two wipes of one-ply toilet paper’s damn about it’s employees, they might keep some around for longer than a year. Because, in general, a teacher with experience is a good teacher. But then, we’re not really teaching at Nova, are we?