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Japan enacts law to introduce flexible working hours for teachers

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Another toothless law. What is the point of wasting time on enacting laws with no penalties? More form over substance.

21 ( +21 / -0 )

This really is nothing new. In the past when kids went to school for half days on Saturdays, the teachers shifted the "off" day to summer time, and they pretty much all took off the same amount of time as the kids.

But since teachers are komuin, the other "komuin" got ticked off that teachers were taking off all that time, even after the Saturday classes stopped, and summer vacations for the teachers became a thing of the past.

Since teachers were coming to school, BOE's increased their work, teachers started pushing kids to come to school and the system got further screwed up.

Teachers SHOULD get the time off, and recognizing this here legally is, in my opinion, the way to go!

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Under the education ministry's scenario, municipalities introducing the flexible system will increase their teachers' work hours by three hours a week in April

This is Orwellian. They passed a law to deal with the problem of overwork by teachers which.....makes them overwork even more.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

JHS teachers working 56 hours a week?

I smell a big, steaming pile of something with that, because it's a total lie. Every JHS teacher I've ever met in Japan got to school around 7AM or so, and would leave no earlier than 7PM at least 5 days a week, nevermind weekend activities. I knew some who were there from 7 AM to 10-11PM.

So 56 hours a week?

Total lie.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Schools should be shut at weekends and school holidays.

Easy - that's sorted out the overtime issue at least on average.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

You know this is bogus and won't work.I have a student that deals with the broadcasting club,basketball club and is an I.T. class teacher,currently in Guam on her first year students school excursion.Where's the flexibility there? It's a joke,and no wonder teachers taking time off work due to mental stress is increasing as it is.Japan just wants to make you a slave to the rhythm.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

An overtime cap of 45 hours per month is still too much. And, the really crazy thing is, teachers will be expected to do 45 hours of overtime every month. They then need to consider putting an overtime cap on the students as well. I worked in quite a few public high schools many years ago and a large percentage of the teachers are broken vessels. They are overworked, underpaid, little time off and under constant pressure from monster parents. I decade or two under these extreme conditions causes a lot of them to crack. I guess the same could be said for the students. The whole concept of schooling in Japan needs to be dumped and restructured.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

...add five more days off to August.

Unless they plan to lock the schools during the holidays, adding overtime in April in order to gain 5 days in August is ridiculous as people don't take the overtime they're allowed because of peer/cultural pressure.

How about these measures?

Make it illegal for principals to require teachers to stay until they are dismissed each day instead of allowing them to go home when their tasks are done. Often they sit there "looking busy" because they must wait to be officially dismissed.

Make it illegal for teachers not to take the allotted time--all the allotted time to which they entitled.
12 ( +12 / -0 )

JHS teachers working 56 hours a week?

> I smell a big, steaming pile of something with that, because it's a total lie. Every JHS teacher I've ever met in Japan got to school around 7AM or so, and would leave no earlier than 7PM at least 5 days a week, nevermind weekend activities. I knew some who were there from 7 AM to 10-11PM.

> So 56 hours a week?

> Total lie.

Hi David! Good to see you after a while! Bro, I think the 56 hours a week refers to overtime only, so 40 hours of normal work + 56 hours of overtime...96 hours of work a week. Sounds about right...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

They don't need penalties or anything. Just make it illegal to operate the schools on weekends, and have the koban cops patrolling the schools within their vicinity to make sure violations are nipped in the bud. In the event that the school has to operate on the weekend such as a sports meet or culture festival, the school must designate another weekday the following week as a day off for that weekend working day. Done.

They called for hiring more teachers instead, claiming school staff often cannot take a long summer break as they need to participate in training or oversee students in extracurricular activities.

Now that's a good idea. No more useless training and summers should be off with regards to these extracurricular activities. Let kids be kids and let the teachers get some time off.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

While it is enacting a new law that is positive. In essence it won't change anything except the appearance that something is being done by those outside of Japan. The same way many media outlets, for generations, have said that Japanese people don't work as much overtime as other people, or that parents can both take up to a year off to take care of their chileren; however. None of these things bear fruit. The reason is that there is a severe lack of enforcement and a severe lack of penalties.

Also, the culture is set from the top down.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

> JHS teachers working 56 hours a week?

I smell a big, steaming pile of something with that, because it's a total lie. Every JHS teacher I've ever met in Japan got to school around 7AM or so, and would leave no earlier than 7PM at least 5 days a week, nevermind weekend activities. I knew some who were there from 7 AM to 10-11PM. 

So 56 hours a week?

Total lie.

uh,,, 7:00 am to 7:00 pm is 12 hours. Minus lunch is 11. Times five days is 55 hours.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Why not just give schools the autonomy to decide on their own working conditions instead?

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Having more days off in summer is nice, but it doesn't help the tiredness that builds up week after week if there isn't ample time to rest during the day or on the weekends. Extracurricular activities should be only two hours long from 4-6. Japan still doesn't seem to understand quality over quantity. They need a crash course in time efficiency.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

How about getting rid of those club activities?

If students want to be in a soccer, baseball, volleyball or whatever club, make it private!

This is done in many countries.

In addition get rid of all the paperwork teachers have to do. Hire some secretaries for this.

There are so many ways to reduce the work load of those teachers.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I'm a public high school teacher.

This is absurd.

The main point is that they have to reduce teachers' work such as tedious meetings, meaningless paperwork and dealing with "monster" parents.

BOE does nothing to achieve this, but suggests this stopgap solution.

They're as useless as doctors who give Band-aids to patients with cancer.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

limit their monthly overtime to 45 hours

FORTYFIVE hours of overtime? What the.... if you have 45 hours of overtime there is something seriously wrong with the management.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@Kazumichi

You are missing the big picture. You're working that hard and going through all of that so you can work your way up to the BOE where you get to relax and do nothing but listen to the complaints.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

claiming school staff often cannot take a long summer break as they need to participate in training or oversee students in extracurricular activities.

And that, is the big elephant in the room. Well at least some people noticed but most decided to ignore it. Instead of having the math teacher who doesn't know anything about volleyball take care of the volleyball bukatsu, have a proper volleyball coach. And a basketball coach, baseball, soccer, etc. Have the teachers focus on what their jobs really are, teaching.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Teachers need to simply go home at quitting time. It's rather simple.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@Ah-so

Good for teachers, good for students. Great solution.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Teachers shouldn't have to supervise the clubs, or they should have their working hours cut elsewhere. That's what's stopping them going home on time

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Lots of fancy rewording which will amount to nothing. re: Japan is notorious for its long working hours and teachers are no exception. The average working hours of junior high school teachers in the country stood at 56 hours per week in 2018

This only means that instead of 56 that is being reported the actual reality number is much higher like 63 or 65 hrs per week and unpaid at that because it is one's duty.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This will change nothing; the number of students becoming public school teachers has fallen dramatically over the past 20 years, and quality along with it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Amir Marzouk

There's 2 things:

I don't wanna do nothing but feel that I'm contributingto society.

Most bureaucrats including BOE don't get people who say NO like me promoted.

My point is, teachers have to speak up amd change this nonsense but they don't.

SILENT MAJORITY is a big enemy here.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Not really required. Teachers in Japan don't work that hard anyway.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

uh,,, 7:00 am to 7:00 pm is 12 hours. Minus lunch is 11. Times five days is 55 hours.

Why minus lunch ?

The teachers are expected to stay in the school ground at the disposal of anybody which need they. If a student doesn't understand how you can move a heavy rock by just saying so, Abe-sensei will have to cut short his break to explain again the marvelous power of wishful thinking in achieving result without any force applied.

The main point is that they have to reduce teachers' work such as tedious meetings, meaningless paperwork and dealing with "monster" parents.

It seems they thought requesting teacher to do the same amount of work but faster is better. So once your are in front of monster parent explain to them that, as government request, they have to speak faster and that you will start apologizing right now and agreeing to everything they say to save time but as you are busy with the apologies and so on you can not be expected to listen to their rant.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I bet anyone one million dollars that nothing will change when it comes to the working hours of Japanese teachers,

8 ( +8 / -0 )

limit their monthly overtime to 45 hours

or

eliminate unpaid overtime completely?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

This is Orwellian. They passed a law to deal with the problem of overwork by teachers which.....makes them overwork even more.

I believe it is Kafkaesque, not Orwellian. But absurd in any sense.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

clearly they dont work enough, with japanese education stats slipping well below average , teachers need to work more and better, I would make it a point system based on how many children in teachers class pass exams with high grades, low graded teacher would have their days transfered to good teachers , it will provide incentive and improve life of teachers that actually deserve it.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

and eliminate any overtime payment, teaching is super simple today with premade manuals, no reason to pay overtime if one cant complete it during the alotted time.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

teaching is super simple today with premade manuals

As talk someone which most likely not even have tried to teach anything to anybody and most likely never opened a school manual.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It seems as though the old guys in charge of Japan are intent on destroying the country's future. First by bankrupting it, and worse, by destroying the talent and potential of its youth.

They couldn't do more harm if they were paid North Korean agents.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

If you are unable to follow a school manual, shouldnt be teachin at all

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

eikaiwa is not real education... just a type of entertainment.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

if your students cant pass simple exams it fully teachers fault.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

eikaiwa is not real education... just a type of entertainment.

Yes, because the students don't want to do any real studying. That's why they don't exist in other countries...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Alex Einz

Shouldn't it be fully the manual fault ?

I do not see were in the article they were talking about eikawa.

Why are you using "you"/"your" ? When talking in general one should use impersonal form. Missed that page in the manual ?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Flute. Nice come back. Funny actually

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

uh,,, 7:00 am to 7:00 pm is 12 hours. Minus lunch is 11. Times five days is 55 hours.

Except that lunches aren't free time. So it's actually 60 hours a week Mon-Fri, and then there's weekend activities such as clubs, which will take up more hours.

Then there's the class trips, which are a legitimate 24 hours a day on duty for as long as the trip is.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

American teachers work off the clock and at home all the time. They are expected to by leadership. If you don't do that and insist on working during business hours only, they find some reason to terminate your employment.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Alex Einz:

You can lead a horse to water but you cant make him drink. You can try to teach a student, but you cant make him learn.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yeah Japanese Laws are turning out to be rubbish. As a contractor, in my latest role, I have been told that I am only allowed to record the hours of work defined by my contract, so although overtime is allowed if agreed with the employer - that agreement never happens - it's deemed your fault if you can't complete the work within the allotted working day - regardless the Complexity or changing demands during the day. End result - high contractor turnover. The same situation is I suspect happening with Teachers - as workloads increase they have to work longer hours, but flexible hours cant ever be taken as by doing so, they will end up being accused of not being able to handle the workloads and again,... high turnover or a lousy job being done.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

english teachers come back lol....too sad

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@Alex Einz

Are you trying to flatter me ? Too bad, I am mostly immune to it (I am more open to these after a few drink as long as you do not make me pay the bill). Try someone else. You understand that I do not speak English and the chance that I work in an eikawa are as low as you not making inference on your fellow commentator ?

@Tom Thank you. For once that one of my joke succeed. I am happy that I managed to make someone smile even a tiny bit (the world situation just make you want to lighter the mood sometimes).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

i must have missed the joke...

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

My wife is a elementary school teacher for Nishi Tokyo and she worked crazy hours, when she was working in Saitama (Niiza) principal and other senior staff would encourage everyone to go back early.

Also overtime in Nishi Tokyo is not paid...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Taken students spouses for compensation

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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