Communication has always been sort of an issue at work. Usually I end up finding out about the things I need to to know because I ASK someone about it. "Hey! Where's Billy? He's been absent my last two classes."
Then I find out he and his family packed up and moved to China.
I tend to find out I have a new student in class (whose family probably just moved here from China) when I walk in and see a face I don't recognize. Then I get to scramble to rearrange plans a bit, or make a couple more of the handouts I've prepared.
But it's not just student issues.
All the students now know when our luxurious three-day-long summer vacation is. They know, because notices were handed out yesterday. I now know, on the other hand, because I asked one of the kids what it said on the paper. So, I've been given about eleven days advance notice to make plans. (Or not.) But, none of the other staff have bothered to fill me in, still!
And today a man showed up.
I've seen him a couple times before. He stopped in last week and went to talk with the boss in a closed classroom, and he popped in again this past Monday. I assumed he was one of the kid's fathers. However, he showed up again today and didn't leave! And then, there he was suddenly teaching! HUH?
So. From what I could make out from Sunny, the boss doesn't want to come in anymore at all. (She's only in two days a week now as it is.) And the manager doesn't want to teach. So maybe this guy is going to be our new teacher. I'm not sure if they hired him. I spoke to him very briefly today (He asked me the standard, "Where are you from, how old are you, are you married, do you live alone?" questions.) I replied too quickly, and he interrupted, "Slow. I only leetle Englishee." Awesome!
He's a big tall guy with some gold teeth and heavy framed glasses. He doesn't smile when I look at him, but stares at me when I'm not looking at him. We had the first of what will surely be many more awkward moments when we both tried going through the Teacher's Room door at the same time, and I accidentally smushed my head into his chest. And I smelled, for the first time in over three years, a very strange scent in the Staffroom. Man-scent. Man-breath.
The students yanked on my sleeves all day and cornered me. "Who's he?" they asked with big curious eyes. "I'm not sure." I answered honestly.
To add to what had already been a trying day, just before my last class, I had the 675th meeting in our ongoing series of meetings trying to resolve tax and pension. I truly thought we had settled it a month ago, until the figure my boss showed me last week, which she was about to start paying out in installments, didn't come close to matching what we had agreed upon.
So we finally got the chance to sit down and argue about it, and now I'm going to say it flat out, but she's a liar. She's twisted everything we had negotiated and is once again doing "but the tax and pension offices told me this!" And I got angrier and angrier. "No. No. No. NO!"
We're back to square one. She told me to make calls to confirm (AGAIN!) my information. I told her I'd make the calls, and I was going to go after EVERYTHING. I turned all Tyra Banks, "Understand. Me. I mean. Ev. Ree. Thing." And then I told her I had to go to class. (So kiss my ass!)
My sole middle school student asked me if I was alright when I came into the classroom. I wasn't, so much. I looked at myself in my little hand mirror and I was absolutely scarlet! The most crimson part of my face was the left side of my forehead that had smashed into the windshield over a month ago. It seems like I may have developed a Telletubbie-style mood window in my noggin. Fantastic! Now if only I could hone my laser-eye skills. Maybe my cat can give me some lessons.
Circling Back to Yokohama Yakitori Koubou
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