This was the big day! 🙂
The Assistant Vice Principal, Curriculum Coordinator and the Business Manager were in attendance.
The Business Manager testified first and honestly, that he had very little to do with this case, knew of little, could only assume that certain things happened and was not sure about things. It was curious indeed why the school put this man on the witness stand. Why would he stick his neck out for these administrators? Guess it’s his job…he did not look terribly excited about the whole process. As for the other two, they seemed to wear the grimace of consternation. Or swallowed poison? Or just general gene pool issues from way back?
Yuks aside, it is strange to see an administration made up of a bunch of men, who are depending on, basically, the one testimony of the Curriculum Coordinator. Although she was somewhat involved, she wasn’t as much involved as the Assistant Vice Principal, who isn’t even testifying! What about the Brothers? Is the CC some kind of workhorse for these men? Do they make her constantly go into the trenches for them? Why does she do it? (Well, the answer at the school quite likely is: the salary).
The school’s lawyer asked the teacher nothing about her classroom. Shock? After all these months of going on and on about how kids twirled pencils and put their heads on their desks and dared clap and cheer noisily during a math game etc. Not a question about her classroom. Smart? Well, the school had never documented a single objective complaint about or wrongdoing by the teacher. Their past strategy was to barrage the court with a million tiny points (mentioned above) hoping one of them would stick. Or, ask some teachers in the elementary school 3 years after the fact, to trash talk the teacher. (Too bad they got dates wrong; had never actually witnessed the teacher teach and boasted about going through the teacher’s garbage). Too Salem, Massachusetts 1692. They got 2 moms to write mean things about the teacher (too bad the moms had previously written really nice things about the teacher on exactly the same points; too bad their sons’ futures hang in the balance at the school). Too Maoist-denunciation. They got the Elementary Guidance Counselor to express shock at the teacher’s nuts students (too bad she happened to say that they were nuts when she–not the teacher–was teaching them–doesn’t that reflect on her? Or perhaps this is her willingness to go up to bat for the administration? Life and work in Japan for someone with her qualifications is a luck-out job indeed. Hang on to it honey!! Also, she had written something sweet and contradictory 3 years ago). The strategy here was: if several people tell similar stories, it must be true. And this could have possibly worked in court if the teacher did not have proof that these same people wrote different things way back. Lessons learned?
1. Back up your computer!
2. Be nice to people!
3. Actually do a good job at something!
4. Court is like the book Rashomon, until someone actually has evidence.
ANYWAY, the school has one peg leg left to stand on, we guessed, and they had to whittle it down to a fine pointy point! The lawyer focused on a point that he hoped would surely qualify the teacher to the dust bin:
On the one-year contract that the teacher (and every teacher) signed, there are 4 criteria for renewal:
４ renewal criteria (契約更新の基準):
1. Teacher’s work records and attitude（教師の仕事を記録し、態度）
2. Teacher’s aptitude (教師の適性)
3. School’s operational standing (学校の財政的実行可能)
4. School’s curriculum (学校のカリキュラム)
They tried really hard to get her on the “attitude”. Since:
1. Work records were not recorded as being bad by the school
2. The teacher is licensed and was qualified enough to hire and even renew after her first year
3. The school is not broke (?)
4. The school did not eliminate the 3rd grade or other things which she is qualified to teach.
They grilled her on an email she had written to the Curriculum Coordinator in March (?) April (?) 2007. The teacher had called in a government mediator to find a solution to what she felt was Power Harassment. The mediator told both sides to stop all contact until after the mediation period. But the Curriculum Coordinator would say an “unnatural” Hello to the teacher in front of others as if nothing was amiss at the school. (Imagine Kim Jung Il saying “What’s up?” to you at 7-11). The teacher wrote that during a staff meeting, the CC greeted her this way and would not give the teacher a paper handout until the teacher responded. She emailed the CC and asked her to stop these weird Hellos and allow for the mediation to finish.
If Hellos could be nuclear missiles….
Anyway, the lawyer tried to get the teacher to say that she did not want to greet Her Majesty CC. If the teacher said “no”, this might construe her as “rude” and possibly give grounds for #1: bad attitude, which = FIRED! The teacher testified that she acknowledged the CC in other ways, like giving a slight bow. How Japanese.
Believe it or not, that was kind of it. The teacher was often just “yes” or “no”ing things..maybe she’ll complain and then I’ll write more…
The school’s lawyer asked her a bunch of questions about her apartment and why she is continuing to pay the owner and not the school. Many court documents indicate that she should be paying the school. She said that since the apartment and the employment case were closely linked, she didn’t act on these documents on her own and instead deferred to her lawyer who would surely know what to do. Her lawyer pointed out that her apartment contract was never with the school. And the school, although they claimed to contract the apartment exclusively with the owner, were not the ones who paid the first 2 years of rent or 1,000,000 yen of key money and thank you money. The teacher paid it. So, the school needed to explain that.
PS: I hope to obtain a copy of the statement that the teacher wrote against the school. It is 17 pages, detailing all kinds of garbage. I will erase all the names, but you’ll have good imaginations, I’m sure.
PPS: If you are a student reading this: Awesome! This would have been a proper field trip. Notice how the CC and the Assistant Vice-Principal were absent on Wednesday??
Hopefully, this opens up the possibility that there are some people who look, talk, act and have jobs like adults, but they are nothing more than the yard apes you remember from recesses gone wrong. But, no matter who it is, address them. Make sure they know through and through who you are. You may win or you may lose, but they will remember they have been in a fight with you.