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Things that are nerve-wracking.

Things that are nerve-wracking. published on

The suspicion that I’m going to get an offer for a job I only sort of want on Friday, when it’ll be next week before I hear anything from the people with the job I really want. (I’m 90% sure the guys I talked to today want to hire me, but the interviewers aren’t the ones who make the final decision – there’s a shadowy, mysterious Board out there somewhere, possibly they’re the Shin-Ra, and thus on the Plate, I don’t know.) Even were I unethically-inclined that way, it would get my visa in trouble if I said “yes” to Company A and then went with Company B if I get an offer.

It’s obviously not the worst problem to have, but still. (And now watch as they both reject me with extreme prejudice and anime smilies.)

On the plus side, the guy who conducted most of the interview gave me an explanation as to why, when I’ve been interviewed by native Japanese people, they’ve always gotten kind of stiff and weird when I’ve asked if they have any specific procedures for dealing with kids with discipline problems. His reasoning was that Japanese people don’t like to think that “good kids”* ever act up in class, and therefore dislike the idea of outright disciplinary action – or at least dislike discussing it with someone they feel to be an outsider, even one they’re considering, you know, hiring as a teacher.

The default tactic for kids who act up is assuming that social pressure from the other kids will calm them down eventually. When that fails, there’s no backup system in place. And by this guy’s estimation, it’s failing now more than it did a decade ago, and was failing a decade ago more than it did in the 80’s.

This actually syncs pretty well with my observations – now that I think about it, even Doom-sensei and Sensu-sensei, who generally will talk about anything and have spent a lot of time abroad, have issues discussing anything approaching “kids behaving badly.” Doom-sensei once got really uncomfortable when I asked how the Japanese school system deals with disabled kids. And I’m pretty sure the Master’s she’s working on’s in Sociology.

So maybe it’s not the way I ask that’s rude, but the question itself that’s off-limits.

* And obviously there are only good kids in Japanese schools. The bad kids go to other schools. Schools in other dimensions, like in After School Nightmare and Drifting Classroom. (And now I totally bet that the relative prevalence of “weird school” stories in manga relative to in Western YA fiction is a reaction against social uniformity in Japanese school culture. And maybe the stigma against scolding kids is why manga loves angry, over-the-top abusive teachers so much, and why you so rarely see the “good” teachers get angry at anyone for anything. (Mayu from Fruits Basket seems intended to be read as being unusually harsh on her students, and seriously? She’s a creampuff. She’s got Kyo freaking out and climbing out windows and stuff, and does she ever do anything about it beyond making fun of his hair? (Though maybe this is partly gender-based – there’s a good-guy male teacher in early volumes of Yu Yu Hakusho who gets to yell at Yusuke…)))

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