national

Teacher criticized for attending son’s entrance ceremony instead of her own school’s

142 Comments
By Casey Baseel

Each April, as the new academic year starts, it’s customary for schools in Japan to hold an entrance ceremony for incoming students. The new pupils assemble in the auditorium, sit quietly while the principal and teachers make speeches, and often sing the alma mater.

For the students, listening to a bunch of grown-ups drone on about the value of education isn’t exactly riveting, and it’s debatable if the words of wisdom that are imparted really make any difference at all in their academic careers. For parents, though, this is a special day. They can appreciate the ceremony as the rite of passage it is, and it gives them an excuse to snap a picture with their child wearing their brand new uniform, which will quickly become too small for them as they grow up all too soon.

It’s a sentiment any parent can feel, even – or perhaps especially – parents who are educators themselves. However, one high school teacher in Japan is being publicly criticized for skipping her school’s entrance ceremony to attend her son’s, instead.

The unnamed woman, who is in her 50s, teaches at a prefectural high school in Saitama, where this year she also serves as homeroom teacher for a batch of incoming freshman. Ordinarily, educators in this position attend the entrance ceremony and officially greet their new charges. However, the date of the entrance exam of the school where the woman teaches coincided with that of the high school where her eldest son has recently begun studying.

Teaching children may be all about preparing them for the myriad possibilities of adult life, but that doesn’t mean the teacher in question is capable of breaking the laws of reality, and the timing of the two events left her unable to attend both. Deciding to prioritize her son’s ceremony, she chose not to attend her own school’s, so took the morning off to attend.

At the ceremony, the principal explained her absence, and another teacher passed out copies of a written greeting to the absent teacher’s students, which said, “As your homeroom teacher, I am deeply sorry to be unable to greet you all in person on the important day of your entrance ceremony.”

Apparently this wasn’t enough in some people’s eyes, as at least one parent is reported to have expressed puzzlement, saying, “Do teachers these days think their son’s entrance exam is more important than their own students?”

The woman’s absence seems to have struck a particularly sensitive nerve with Koichi Gono, a Saitama prefectural assemblyman who was a guest at her school’s ceremony. “She is lacking in appreciation of her duties as a homeroom teacher, and also in ethics as an educator,” he fumed. “This also gives me doubts as to the administrative capabilities of the school’s principal.”

The woman wasn’t the only teacher to pass on her employer’s ceremony for familial reasons, as three other Saitama prefectural high school educators took time off to do likewise, attracting the attention of the prefecture’s Board of Education. Chairman Kunimitsu Sekine passed along what he called “the worry felt by students and guardians who noticed their homeroom teachers were not in attendance,” and the body itself issued a statement imploring educators to “think of themselves as teachers, first and foremost, when choosing a course of action.”

Not too long ago, this might have been a cut-and-dried case in Japanese society, which has traditionally held that the group should be given priority over the individual, especially in cases of work responsibilities versus family time. Internet comments, though, show the shift that’s occurring in Japanese culture regarding work/life balance, as many felt the teacher who chose to attend her son’s ceremony had done no wrong.

“I’m hoping to become a teacher in Saitama in the future, but this news makes me sad. Just as the new students’ parents should care for their children, so too should this teacher care for her own son.”

“Making such a big deal out of this because one prominent person [Gono], who isn’t even part of the organization, got upset is dumb. Saying she has a lack of morals is just spiteful and nasty.”

“I think [Gono] is being completely unreasonable.”

Blogger Hayato Ikeda hypothesized that the students whose teachers were absent are unlikely to think anything other than, “Oh, my teacher has a kid.” One could even make the argument that this knowledge would help both pupils and parents more empathetically communicate with their teachers, with the assumed understanding that they have a current, contemporary understanding of the difficulties and concerns of the parent/teen relationship.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Is Japan overworking its teachers? One exhausted educator says, “YES!” -- English language education in Japan: Are native speakers essential? -- What’s The Best Thing You Ever Said To Your Teacher (To Make Them Completely Lose It)?

© RocketNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

142 Comments
Login to comment

Nice to see people are staring to get their priorities straight. I cut my uni class short to attend my son's entrance ceremony and have never regretted it. That "Goro" was just angry the teacher put her family before him. When are the citizens here going to learn there are some things that are more important, like FAMILY? Again, is it any wonder families are fractured because of this kind of thinking?

31 ( +32 / -2 )

Welcome to Japan, when you become a teacher you basically give up your life for your students! They get arrested for shoplifting, who doe the police call first, the homeroom teacher. They try to find a job who does the running around and use their connections, the homeroom teacher. If the student and parents have a fight who tries to reconcile things the homeroom teacher. No wonder they are dropping like flies and claiming burnout at a record pace. And then you have this great intellect Koichi Gono telling people that this teacher has no morals?

13 ( +16 / -3 )

However, the date of the entrance exam of the school where the woman teaches

Small point, but I am pretty sure this should read 'date of the entrance ceremony'.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

So she was expected to skip her son's ceremony? What a silly school.

23 ( +24 / -1 )

“Do teachers these days think their son’s entrance exam is more important than their own students?” Hell yeah they do. That teacher will have thousands of students over the course of her career, but maybe only one son. I think she has her priorities right where they should be.

41 ( +40 / -1 )

Actually, I agree with the teacher not having her priorities straight. As a homeroom teacher, you have MASSIVE responsibilities. If she wasnt a homeroom teacher, then there would be no problem at all for her to attend her sons ceremony, but a homeroom teacher must attend her classes ceremony if she is physically able too.

I feel for her though if she didnt want to be a homeroom teacher and was ordered to. If that was the case, then she is obviously making a statement to the school saying she doesnt want to be a homeroom teacher.

People forget that this responsibility is usually a 3 year stint, 3 years with the same kids, hence the enormous responsibility.

-46 ( +4 / -47 )

Shame on anyone who would expect her to choose anything over her own son.

Situations like this are why every class/grade has assistant homeroom teachers. If a fellow teacher was in a situation like this, I would gladly step in to help them. And as the article says, the kids would surely understand her dilemma. Idiot politicians/old men trying to score points. Let's be honest, the only reason Gono was there was to try and get some extra votes.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Family FIRST! Is that such a hard concept? Oh, right, that anathema for communists, for whom it's STATE first.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I'm a strong promoter of a healthy work/life balance. But in this case, I feel the teacher was in the wrong. Her job is a teacher, and attending entrance ceremonies is a major part of the job, not the same as doing unpaid overtime, or other work that can be put off until another day. While it's unfortunate that in some circumstances this will mean missing their own children's entrance ceremonies, it's the nature of the job. She chose the wrong priority this time.

-28 ( +4 / -31 )

Bored parents causing waves and trouble for others to get some excitement in their lives. I feel bad for the teacher and I'm glad they're not releasing her name, that would just cause more issues for her and her family.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Everyone chill out, have a cup of coffee and relax. Is it really that big of a deal, let alone news-worthy, for an individual to attend her own son's entrance ceremony instead of her new students'? She'll be with them for the rest of the school year. And I highly doubt anyone will be permanently scared for the rest of their lives over this.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

But in this case, I feel the teacher was in the wrong. Her job is a teacher, and attending entrance ceremonies is a major part of the job

From what I remember of my graduation, it is more of a family event. Maybe some teachers were there, but their job was done, gettting the students to the point where they could graduate.

These ceremonies are for the students, and their parents/familes. Those are the ones who suffered through the countless extra study hours to get into the school, and not the homeroom teacher. Yes it is her job, but her job is to be that of a teacher and supposedly educate and supervise during the school hours. You can have a seperate ceremony for students/teachers at any date.

So what happens if the teacher was sick during the ceremony? Would she be expected to come anyway even though she may have been ill?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The woman’s absence seems to have struck a particularly sensitive nerve with Koichi Gono, a Saitama prefectural assemblyman who was a guest at her school’s ceremony. “She is lacking in appreciation of her duties as a homeroom teacher, and also in ethics as an educator,” he fumed. “This also gives me doubts as to the administrative capabilities of the school’s principal.”

This sort of anti-family attitude is a major reason I quit my teaching position years ago. The breaking point for me was when senior faculty told me I should limit my family visits to my home country to once every two years, so that instead I could be available to them over the entire summer for camps, clubs and other duties.

I know of male Japanese teachers who have even missed births of their children because senior faculty required them to take part in school trips or camps. There are lots of latch-key children in Japan whose parents are teacher and often stuck in unproductive meetings until late at night.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Bitter, twisted and miserable is no way to go through life!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Good on her for attending her son's entrance ceremony. And good on the principal for approving her leave. IMO, a parent missing the ceremony is much worse than a teacher missing a ceremony. Yes, her job is a teacher but before that, her job is a mother. I don't see anything wrong with her attending her son's school, especially since she had approval to go.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

I don't know why would anyone criticize this teacher. You might as well say, "I'm a slave to my work". Which I guess isn't all that unusual in Japan.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

My kids would come first. End of debate.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

From what I remember of my graduation, it is more of a family event. Maybe some teachers were there, but their job was done, gettting the students to the point where they could graduate.

It was an entrance ceremony, not a graduation ceremony.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Not too long ago, this might have been a cut-and-dried case in Japanese society, which has traditionally held that the group should be given priority over the individual, especially in cases of work responsibilities versus family time.

Silly. The opposite is true. Japan used to have very strong labor unions from 1950s to 1970s, but their power peeked and declined since 1980s. "Life time employment" or "Shunto" was possible only with strong labor unions. Now, with a lot of Haken workers who do not belong to labor unions, the power of labor unions have gone to minimal. Have you heard of strikes lately? If it were 1960s or 1970s, the Saitama Assemblyman would be crying and kowtowing in front of labor union chairmen by now.

There is a well established court case in 1973 that a worker has the right to take paid leave when he wants, except in exceptional cases where the company proves that the particular worker is indispensible on the particular day, other workers cannot replace him and the company offers him paid leave on another day. http://www.jil.go.jp/hanrei/conts/029.htm#qa01-q11

I do not think the teacher is not indispensible on that day. Classes are more important than a ceremony.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Silly. The opposite is true. Japan used to have very strong labor unions from 1950s to 1970s, but their power peeked and declined since 1980s. "Life time employment" or "Shunto" was possible only with strong labor unions.

Too funny. The "Life time employment" was just something forced upon by the Ministry of Finance, which ironically or purposefully restricted individuals to dedicate to a single corporation, and made changing jobs next to impossible. And besides, only around 30% were "life time employed". Again, this just proves his point that work is given more priority than the individual. If individuals had more rights over the corporations, then they could easily change jobs, which is obviously not commonplace in Japan.

And labor unions may have been doing a lot of protests, but they were not very effectual, since again, they tend to have been suppressed by the Ministry of Finance and other bureaucrats. Of course, many Japanese and even foreigners take a "culturist" approach to this, and take "offense" when somebody suggests that the labor unions in Japan are weak to nonexistent, when the real problem lies within the System.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

As the saying goes, "Who, on their deathbed, has ever wished they'd have spent more time at work rather than more time with family?" Good for this woman for knowing what's important before it's too late. One would think that being a good parent who values time with her child would make her a better teacher, more sympathetic to both her students and her parents. Shame on her critics who clearly don't have their priorities straight.

13 ( +15 / -3 )

as at least one parent is reported to have expressed puzzlement, saying, “Do teachers these days think their son’s entrance exam is more important than their own students?

Instead of criticizing the teacher, how about the fathers of the students who instead choose to go to their daily 9-6 job, doing the same thing for the past 20 plus years, than take 2-3 hours to watch their child succeed in life.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

The primary error was made by whoever let the students and parents know why the teacher was absent. It's not information they needed and, clearly, giving it to them has led to a mini-scandal. The message should have been that your home room teacher is most unfortunately unable to be present but she will greet you on the first day of classes. XXXX-sensei will attend to you today in her absence. End of story, no scandal.

14 ( +13 / -2 )

Family comes first. Period.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Why do they even bother with school entrance and leaving ceremonies? We never had either.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

" While it's unfortunate that in some circumstances this will mean missing their own children's entrance ceremonies, it's the nature of the job. She chose the wrong priority this time."

Bassackwards on this as well. The teacher set her priorities correctly; Work to live, not Live to work.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Extremes are never good. Working to live is no better than living to work. People who exclusively work to live make bad employees, and will never progress very far. And people who live to work will have bland, boring and unmemorable lives, likely missing out on many important things.

It's important to find the balance between the two, so that you can get as far ahead in your work life, while still enjoying a healthy home life.

Part of having a commitment to your work is to do the things that are integral to that job, and as a teacher, an entrance ceremony is integral.

It seems that the problem most people have here is that it's not fair that she should have to go to work on the same day that her son has his entrance ceremony.

Well, whoever told you life is fair lied to you.

-9 ( +3 / -11 )

It was an entrance ceremony, not a graduation ceremony.

Regardless of the ceremony, if the teacher needed to be with her family, then she should have gone. After all, some of the people who complained are parents of students at the ceremony. So they have the right to be at their child's event, and yet this teacher doesn't have that same right?

The primary error was made by whoever let the students and parents know why the teacher was absent.

I agree completely. If the parents need to meet the teacher, than a teacher/parent conference should be set up at some other time. It would be unfair to the parents and teacher to try to set up parent/teacher conference on that same day. The teacher would be swampped meeting 30 plus sets of parents, and the parents would not get anything useful out of it meeting with a teacher for only a few minutes, when a private setting with dedicated time for each would probably be better. Also, it's none of their business. I as a parent assume that if a teacher can't be someplace that there is a process that makes sure that if needed someone who is qualified will be able to supervise and teach on a substitute basis. Just for a ceremony for the parents/child why does a teacher need to be there.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

MoondogApr. 16, 2014 - 11:17AM JST

The primary error was made by whoever let the students and parents know why the teacher was absent.

I think it is a good opportunity to teach the students that their home room teacher has the right to be absent from school just as their parents have their right to be absent from the workplace to attend their ceremony.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Fortunately I work in an environment where both mother's and father's are free to attend their children's ceremonies without any fear of retribution or negative comments from the parents.

THe folks who are complaining about this mother and other mothers who attended their children's ceremonies hopefully will never have children of their own.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

So they have the right to be at their child's event, and yet this teacher doesn't have that same right?

Exactly. When you choose to be a teacher, then you have an obligation to perform your job. I'm sorry to be the one to break this to you, but life's not fair.

It would be unfair to the parents and teacher to try to set up parent/teacher conference on that same day.

See above.

-11 ( +3 / -13 )

This teacher is a true 'role model' and example to her students for their futures. Family first. My kids have all attended public schools here in Japan for the last 10 years, and darn the school system here for how often it does not get 'family first' in many areas. This goes for school clubs, sports teams, etc. Yes, we understand commitment, and teamwork, but come on, we are not owned by any of those!! Glad she decided rightly.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Exactly. When you choose to be a teacher, then you have an obligation to perform your job. I'm sorry to be the one to break this to you, but life's not fair.

I'm not sure why you're saying "exactly", but you also have the right to take a leave. People are not tied to their jobs.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

"She is lacking in appreciation of her duties as a homeroom teacher, and also in ethics as an educator," he fumed. "This also gives me doubts as to the administrative capabilities of the school’s principal."

No. No! NO! NO!! Family comes first, each and every time. Koichi Gono can fume away, for all I care. He's a mouthpiece at best whose vested interests lay no further than the next election, prompting him to say or do whatever creates the greatest dramatic splash among his constituents.

While many reasonable parents see the entrance ceremony as a symblic marker for the next stage of their child's life in formal education, other parents see it as a hand-off, taking the job of raising their child from the junior high school homeroom teacher and passing it along to the new high school homeroom teacher. Just as they did when they expected elementary school homeroom teachers to be the educational, ethical, and moral force in their child's development while the parents did heaven knows what. during "family" time.

If Japan truly wants to address its shrinking population, shrinking tax base, shrinking workforce, then it absolutely must do a 180-degree about-face and reject wholesale this "Greed is Good" self-imposed workplace slavery of the 80's and place family front and center once again. This means coming home at a reasonable time. It means placing family time at home ahead of 4~five days of cram school per week lumped on top of club activities that force the students to create stronger bonds of trust and affection with teammates than with their own brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers.

Family matters for all members of society, regardless of occupation.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

So they have the right to be at their child's event, and yet this teacher doesn't have that same right?

Exactly.

I'm not sure why you're saying "exactly"

Because the original poster was exactly right that the other parents who are not teachers have the right to be at the ceremony, while this teacher does not have the right to be at her child's entrance ceremony, when her own school's ceremony is the same day.

People are not tied to their jobs.

No, but as long as you choose to work at a place, then you need to perform the primary duties of that job. If you are not willing to, then your employer doesn't need to be willing to keep you employed. If you are not willing to, you also have the choice to leave that job, and try to find another one.

-11 ( +3 / -15 )

Some students of her may not have mother, or may not have a good relation with mother, or may be desperately lonely . She should have stayed with students or quit the job. There're many people who want to be teachers but couldn't.

-17 ( +1 / -18 )

Actually, I agree with the teacher not having her priorities straight. As a homeroom teacher, you have MASSIVE responsibilities.

She's got the whole school year to take care of her "MASSIVE" responsibilities as homeroom teacher and she'll be with them every day. A few hours at an entrance ceremony will make no difference at all.

Good on her, I say.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

No, but as long as you choose to work at a place, then you need to perform the primary duties of that job. If you are not willing to, then your employer doesn't need to be willing to keep you employed. If you are not willing to, you also have the choice to leave that job, and try to find another one.

That's not how things work. Workers have their rights too, the employers can't just throw away the employees just because they felt like it. Unfortunately, this concept is still foreign to Japan, where the workers have little to no rights.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Ummmm....where is the Dad in this story? Maybe he could have attended the son's entrance ceremony allowing his wife to focus on her important responsibilities as homeroom teacher.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Any society that consistently asks people to choose work over family is going to be in for an even rougher ride in the near future. Many people are starting to get tired of being pushed around.

where is the Dad in this story?

I do not think it makes any difference. She had permission to attend her son's ceremony and that should have been the end of it. If it were seen as so vital for her to be there, I don't think she would not have been given permission and I don't think it would not have been explained in the way it was during her class' entrance ceremony.

I think there should be enough flexibility in society to allow people to do this sometimes.

Yes, her job is important and being there for her students is important. But, it should not be necessary to be there all the time for everything to the exclusion of her own family's needs.

Balance. That should be the new word for society before more and more people have breakdowns.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

If she used a paid holiday then its nobodys business.

@Kamezawa

I suppose if men weren`t considered money machines and company slaves they would have been.

@tinawatanabe,

It`s not her responsibility to be a mother to the students.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Ummmm....where is the Dad in this story? Maybe he could have attended the son's entrance ceremony allowing his wife to focus on her important responsibilities as homeroom teacher.

I read a book that discussed this side of the story. It seems that when a man tries to attend some of these events instead of the wife, he gets shunned by the other parents (i.e. women0 and often time the schools request that the mother come instead of the father. I guess some people are just stuck in their ways and if they see someone doing something different, they feel upset.

Some students of her may not have mother, or may not have a good relation with mother, or may be desperately lonely . She should have stayed with students or quit the job. There're many people who want to be teachers but couldn't.

She is being paid to be a teacher and not a mother. I feel sorry for kids who may have a bad situation at home, so does that mean she must sacrifice her own home life in order to make someone else's better? Along with those who say it is her job to be there, I tend to disagree. Me personally, if I have the time to take off for important family matters, I will let my supervisor know and I will take off. What exactly does the Homeroom teacher do at these ceremonies? Just stand on the stage to be introduced? If she is not there to do that, and some parents/students fell that they are going to fail from the fact that she was not there, they have a lot more to be worried about than if a teacher was present at a ceremony. I bet if you ask any of the students that were there, they couldn't tell you what happened there an hour after the event.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

As an ex-educator at a Tokyo uni / private girls high school --which I decied to leave-- I always ALWAYS put my children first and used to delight in telling management, 'No, I'll be at my child’s entrance ceremony' the hoops and jumps they introduced to try and get me to break, pathetic in their obviousness and deliberate attempts to try and control, if not illegal. I actually relished the next hurdle they'd think up! My children first and every single time, no doubt about it. Viva these teachers who decided to... wait for it... LIVE!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Her homeroom students will live the rest of their lives just fine without her being there for that one day.

Or

Her son will live the rest of his life with his mom's absence for that one day.

Hmmmm........... who do ya think will be affected more?

People gotta get their priorities straight:

1 - God (if ya believe in one)

2 - Family

3 - Work

Ya work for your family, not the other way around.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Lostrune, exactly. Work to live not live to work. One time as who are and you dedicate to an office / job? Naaaa.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Strangerland - Firstly, you write "extremes are never good". Then, disregarding what you just wrote you say "If you are not willing to (perform your primary duties), you also have the choice to leave that job, and try to find another one".

You seem to suggest that a teacher who wants to attend her own son's entrance ceremony over that of her students would do better to leave the profession altogether. Isn't that a little, er, extreme?

Would you include good, high-quality teachers in your assessment? Should an excellent educator step away from a teaching career because she believe that her son's entrance ceremony, which as a mother she can only attend once in his whole life, is more important that the first one of another 300 days she is going to spend with her homeroom class in any case?

Additionally, in none of your posts have you clarified how the kids are harmed by the absence of their teacher. If you have entrance ceremonies in your country, do you remember if you homeroom teacher was at your own ceremony? I am sure you would remember whether or not your parents were there.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

So long as she got permission to do so it is no one's business but hers.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@ the_odeman

And now lets get a answer from some1 who isnt a complete ret@@d 'o)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How silly of this Mother to put her child first, what was she thinking?

Yes im being sarcastic!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

When are the citizens here going to learn there are some things that are more important, like FAMILY?

Sorry to say this, but you don't understand Japan at all! My advice: accept Japanese ways for what they are or leave, because it will drive you mad otherwise, like many other posters on here who moan and groan about the country they have chosen to live in.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Sorry to say this, but you don't understand Japan at all!

Does this mean you think this teacher and the principal that gave her permission to attend her own son's entrance ceremony do not understand Japan at all?

What if they do not accept the situation for what it is? Should they leave? It's their country after all.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

That's not how things work. Workers have their rights too, the employers can't just throw away the employees just because they felt like it.

Workers don't have the right to pick and choose which parts of a job they want to do. A job is a job - if you don't like the job, then you can find another job. Workers rights are things like not having to work unpaid overtime, getting paid days off for the year, minimum wage etc. They aren't the right to say 'well I don't like this part of the job, so I'm just not going to do it'.

You're right that employers can't just throw away employees when they feel like it, just like employees cannot throw away parts of their job when they feel like it. But an employer can definitely fire someone who skips work, and/or chooses not to do parts of their job at will.

@Strangerland - Firstly, you write "extremes are never good". Then, disregarding what you just wrote you say "If you are not willing to (perform your primary duties), you also have the choice to leave that job, and try to find another one".

That's not an extreme, that's just doing your job. It's called a proper work ethic.

You seem to suggest that a teacher who wants to attend her own son's entrance ceremony over that of her students would do better to leave the profession altogether. Isn't that a little, er, extreme?

No, not when she is a teacher. As a teacher, there are a few days of the year that are more important than others, days that require attendance. One of these is the entrance ceremony.

Would you include good, high-quality teachers in your assessment? Should an excellent educator step away from a teaching career because she believe that her son's entrance ceremony, which as a mother she can only attend once in his whole life, is more important that the first one of another 300 days she is going to spend with her homeroom class in any case?

Yes. Either be the teacher, or don't. I'm not in the education business, but if I had an equivalently important date on our calendar, and one of our employees refused to come to work that day, I would let them go even if they were the best employee. And my employees are a lot harder to replace than teachers, of whom there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in this country. And I'm not a slave driver of an employer either, we try to make our working environment as comfortable as possible for our staff. But sometimes work has to take the priority, and anyone who isn't willing to do that on those times isn't a valued member of the staff.

Additionally, in none of your posts have you clarified how the kids are harmed by the absence of their teacher. If you have entrance ceremonies in your country, do you remember if you homeroom teacher was at your own ceremony? I am sure you would remember whether or not your parents were there.

No entrance ceremonies when I was in school. And it's not like the children were physically harmed. But the entrance ceremony is that - a ceremony, a formal day of the year, when the parents are going to the school expecting to meet the teachers who will be a significant part of their children's lives for at least a year, if not longer. Parents don't get a lot of chance to meet the teachers, and they have the rightful expectation that the teachers will be there to meet them on that day, as that is the day the teachers are supposed to be there to meet them.

-9 ( +2 / -12 )

Workers don't have the right to pick and choose which parts of a job they want to do. A job is a job - if you don't like the job, then you can find another job.

This woman took a leave with permission, she didn't just decide to not do something. Two completely different things.

So I guess you're on the side with the monster parents?

3 ( +9 / -6 )

This woman took a leave with permission, she didn't just decide to not do something.

Yeah, the principal was in the wrong for allowing her to take the time off this time.

But she shouldn't have asked in the first place.

So I guess you're on the side with the monster parents?

Says the guy who thinks it's corporal punishment to have kids cleaning up after themselves.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

@strangerland "just like employees cannot throw away parts of their job when they feel like it".

From your comments, it seems you are a company boss. I am sure others will also comment on this, but if you give your employee permission to do something, what would you think if someone completely unrelated to your company accused your employee of "throwing away parts of her job"?

"Parents don't get a lot of chance to meet the teachers, and they have the rightful expectation that the teachers will be there to meet them on that day".

Maybe this varies school by school, but in my children's case there was no such expectation (and there is not a lot you can talk about before the teaching has even begun).

Rather than rushing round on the first day before there is anything substantive to discuss, a separate evening was set aside for consultations once the term was underway and meaningful feedback could be provided (and the poor teachers had to literally go round the houses instead of the more efficient method of having the parents take themselves to the school).

If you have need for special dispensation (for an allergy or something) that absolutely needs to be communicated on or before the first day of school, that would normally be done in writing.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Teachers should teach students to respect their jobs and fulfill their responsibilities, which is the most important as a member of society. She showed her students and her son a bad example. What kind of man she want her son to be? Skipping his responsibility?

-12 ( +1 / -12 )

From your comments, it seems you are a company boss. I am sure others will also comment on this, but if you give your employee permission to do something, what would you think if someone completely unrelated to your company accused your employee of "throwing away parts of her job"?

I was just about to post the same thing. It was within the rights of the principal to grant permission to the teacher and it certainly was within the rights of the teacher to ask for permission.

What kind of man she want her son to be?

I don't know. Perhaps she is thinking that she wants him to be a good parent?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

From your comments, it seems you are a company boss. I am sure others will also comment on this, but if you give your employee permission to do something, what would you think if someone completely unrelated to your company accused your employee of "throwing away parts of her job"?

I think you'd be better off asking my employees that.

"Parents don't get a lot of chance to meet the teachers, and they have the rightful expectation that the teachers will be there to meet them on that day".

Maybe this varies school by school, but in my children's case there was no such expectation (and there is not a lot you can talk about before the teaching has even begun).

You don't need to talk to meet someone. Finding out who they are, and a simple greeting is enough for the first day.

Teachers should teach students to respect their jobs and fulfill their responsibilities, which is the most important as a member of society. She showed her students and her son a bad example.

For once I agree with you.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

He can never be a good parent if you don't teach responsiblity. Any jobs are hard and need concentration. I'm sure she is a bad teacher and bad mother.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

Glad to see that she got to us a paid leave on something important to her. Most teachers are there for the kids when they most need it. I think think the assistant class teacher'S (副担任) role should be expanded more so that days like this will not be a big deal.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Strangerland, you're missing the point. Workers have the right to ask for a day off, and the employer have the right to grant said permission. And they did just exactly that. You can't just say that they "should" fulfill so and so, because you personally believe it so. It's not like as if the ceremony was an emergency situation, and the woman was absolutely necessary to be present.

Says the guy who thinks it's corporal punishment to have kids cleaning up after themselves.

Yes, in case you didn't notice, I was being sarcastic, since you brought it up before.

Fukuppy

My advice: accept Japanese ways for what they are or leave, because it will drive you mad otherwise, like many other posters on here who moan and groan about the country they have chosen to live in.

I am confused. Does Japan not have labor laws? Apparently, not... Most Japanese aren't even aware of their rights, because they don't exist.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

He can never be a good parent if you don't teach responsiblity. Any jobs are hard and need concentration. I'm sure she is a bad teacher and bad mother.

The fact that she made the effort to go to her child's ceremony indicates that she probably isn't a bad mother.

Workers have the right to ask for a day off, and the employer have the right to grant said permission.

And people have the right to criticize them for asking and granting said days off. She definitely had the right to ask, but she shouldn't have, and the principle (if indeed he is the one who granted the day off) shouldn't have granted it.

You can't just say that they "should" fulfill so and so, because you personally believe it so.

And yet, here I am saying it.

It's not like as if the ceremony was an emergency situation, and the woman was absolutely necessary to be present.

It's an integral part of the job. There were more people expecting her to be there (the parents of all her students), than expecting her to be at her child's ceremony.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Well too bad, Strangerland, that you don't make the laws, and you don't have the right to infringe said laws. People have their rights Strangerland, and you can't just trample on their rights just because you feel like it.

It's an integral part of the job. There were more people expecting her to be there (the parents of all her students), than expecting her to be at her child's ceremony.

So I guess you're on side with the monster parents?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@ strangerland "I think you'd be better off asking my employees that". I think you are sidestepping the question. Is it, in general, a good-idea for disinterested third-parties to criticize mutual agreements between management and employee? How would you, as a manager, feel if I started putting my oar into such agreements you had reached with staff? (I am beginning to wonder if, in your haste to criticize the teacher, you missed the bit where the teacher had permission not to attend).

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Well too bad, Strangerland, that you don't make the laws, and you don't have the right to infringe said laws. People have their rights Strangerland, and you can't just trample on their rights just because you feel like it.

Good thing I haven't advocated trampling on anyone's rights then.

So I guess you're on side with the monster parents?

Monster parents are defined by their unreasonable expectations of treatment by the school to their children. Expecting teachers to be at the school for the entrance ceremonies is not expecting any special treatment for their children, nor is it unreasonable.

Is it, in general, a good-idea for disinterested third-parties to criticize mutual agreements between management and employee?

In a private company, I don't see how anyone other than the clients of the company would be in place to have a say on the matter. But a school is not a private company. On top of this, this is a story on a news article that is being discussed. I'm just joining in the discussion.

How would you, as a manager, feel if I started putting my oar into such agreements you had reached with staff?

I'd tell you to mind your own business, same as that teacher and principal are welcome to come here and say the same.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Good thing I haven't advocated trampling on anyone's rights then.

No, you're not respecting their rights by saying that they SHOULD fulfill so and so, no matter what. Geeze. Do you not understand the concept of rights?

Monster parents are defined by their unreasonable expectations of treatment by the school to their children.

Your demands on the teacher is unreasonable.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

If I knew where that school was, I wouldn't dare send my kids there. Teachers are there to educate, even good values and morals. Apparently at this school, there is little taught about family values and the importance of family. Great for that teacher! I want that teacher teaching my kids!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

When my son was born it was the day of the graduation ceremony, I got the phone call at about 8 o'clock in the morning. I went to the vice principal and the principal and told them about my son being born. They asked me to stay for the graduation I told them " no. I left the school went to my son's birth and I've never felt guilty about it my family is always first!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

No, you're not respecting their rights by saying that they SHOULD fulfill so and so, no matter what. Geeze. Do you not understand the concept of rights?

You are the one who doesn't seem to understand them. Everyone has the right to be an a$$, that doesn't mean I'm not going to tell them they shouldn't be an ass. Everyone has the right to not go to work if they don't feel like it. That doesn't mean I'm not going to tell them they should go to work. Everyone has the right to not vaccinate their children. That doesn't mean I'm not going to ridicule them for being stupid enough to not do it.

Just because someone has the right to do something doesn't mean they should. M

Your demands on the teacher is unreasonable.

No.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Only in Japan would people give a fig about some silly ceremony.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Just because someone has the right to do something doesn't mean they should.

She not only had the right to do it, she was right to do it. She went through the proper channels. She should not be blamed after the fact for doing exactly what she had permission to do.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

This teacher was well within her rights to go and attend her son's ceremony!

Nothing is more important than family! NOTHING!!

I quit a teaching job many moons ago when the boss of the school said the school was more important than my family! Well, just as the people complaining about this teacher's actions are now, my boss was dead wrong too!

Kudos to her for doing what she felt was right and sod the complainers!! This is the 21st century - not the 18th!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

So some people are brainwashed, like many Japanese. I decide what is best for my life, that is what thanks to my French ancestors I was able to understand. I respect the Japanese concept in Japan. But see and open your eyes, people are not happy on average and population is decreasing like a falling stone. I know well because I live and work in Japan. I have been studying Japanese culture and people for long time. Have any idea how bad but good too it may be elsewhere ?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Also, my position allows me to state wisely. The majority here know well that family will be the ones to take care of you later, not your headteacher. How narrow-minded... I am saying , or dare say it , because this is liberty , of speech, but also of work through agreement between two adults within a legal system. Try indeed to change it if you think you sre right, i will let you try.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It's a tough position to be in, but as a homeroom teacher she should have gone to her school's ceremony. A couple of reasons...

As others have said, homeroom teachers have a lot of responsibility for their students. It starts the year off on a bad note if the teacher skips the ceremony and accompaning events/orientation.

Assuming she is married, her husband could have taken the time to attend the ceremony for their son. Failing that, her parents could have gone as well. However, no-one can substitute for a homeroom teacher.

Her son was entering high school, not kindergarden. He would have understood if his mother had explained the situation to him. I've been to a lot of ceremonies (both as a parent and a teacher). There really isnt much role for the parents. They take a few photos and go home. Teachers OTOH are much more important.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Only in Japan where the thought is, your job comes before your family! This teacher got it right!!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

If she got permission and took nenkyuu, it was well within her right not to be at the ceremony. End of story.

Fukuppy: Sorry to say this, but you don't understand Japan at all!

And you do?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Since America doesn't have a relatable school entrance event, I wanted to share this simple story from my high school graduation.

My homeroom teacher was absent to my high school graduation ceremony, and I don't remember why, but I don't really care.

In her place stood some other teacher I had never met, who misread my very phonetically easy-to-read name when I received my diploma, and I don't really care about that either.

It hasn't even been 10 years, and I don't remember either of their names, nor do I care, because after the ceremony I spent the rest of the day with my friends, and I still remember the silly games we played at the graduation party.

Japan's education system needs to take a step back and chill out... once kids graduate, they rarely look back at these ceremonies other than to see the pictures of their friends and families.

If it was me, I would skip the entrance ceremony (or graduation) for just about any family occasion.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Raising a child properly is also a personal and social responsibility for a parent teacher.

Ya don't want a child to grow up a head case, then next thing ya know something bad happens and people ask why he/she was a head case in the first place.

Reminds us of this controversy on MLB Opening week, play ball for which you're paid a lot or go to your child's birth:

http://www.chatsports.com/cleveland-indians/a/New-York-Mets-Dan-Murphy-criticized-for-missing-games-for-childs-birth-team-backs-decision-poll-video-0-9609298

http://www.wjla.com/articles/2014/04/mets-player-daniel-murphy-s-paternity-leave-causes-controversy-101816.html

http://hollywoodlife.com/2014/04/04/daniel-murphy-paternity-leave-birth-controversy-mets-second-baseman/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd go with being a mom first on this one. Don't people have anything better to complain about?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@slumdog

Sorry to say this, but you don't understand Japan at all! Does this mean you think this teacher and the principal that gave her permission to attend her own son's entrance ceremony do not understand Japan at all? What if they do not accept the situation for what it is? Should they leave? It's their country after all.

I refer you to Strangerland's posts on this thread. There is no point in my reiterating what he is putting forward so eloquently. I note he is also getting thumbed down merely for having a different point of view.

Why do foreigners live in a place they continually complain about? Japan is what it is, and it isn't our place to try and change it. Or do you think it is? If so, you'll be in for a shock!

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

There is no point in my reiterating what he is putting forward so eloquently.

I think there is a point. Both the homeroom teacher and principal are Japanese. They clearly did not accept that it was impossible for her to go to her son's entrance ceremony. This is not a matter of foreigners wanting to change anything. It is a matter of Japanese people at a school doing something a little different and some people berating them for it.

Why do foreigners live in a place they continually complain about?

Again, neither the homeroom teacher, nor the principal are 'foreign'. This has nothing to do with what non-Japanese think. It clearly has to do with what Japanese people think. This Japanese teacher asked for time off. Her Japanese prinicipal gave it to her. End of story.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

No where in this article does it state she received permission from the vice principal to take paid leave. It is very unlikely that the Vice Principal would have have granted it. I believe that she rang on the morning of the ceremony and took a sickie prompting Mr Gono to comment. I agree with Strangeland completely. This teacher has signed a contract with her Board of education which implicitly states her job description . It is not her right to cherry pick which aspects of employment she wishes to follow. I wonder what repercussions followed for the vice principal . Also my sympathies for the teacher who took her place. The home room teacher is required to prepare the students that morning And to lead them into the ceremony. I am a directly hired teacher for one of the BOE's in Saitama and I know , 3 days in the year, I must attend. Entrance ceremony, sports day and Graduation ceremony. Don't even bother asking for time off! That is the job. If I don't like it, find new employment. On a final note, same situation in three years time , when her child graduates high school, the two ceremonies will be on the same day. To me , that is far more important.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Well said, urquinchina!

Fukuppy: Sorry to say this, but you don't understand Japan at all! And you do?

Evidently, for I see nothing wrong in the teacher being required to attend the ceremony at her place of work.

Why do they even bother with school entrance and leaving ceremonies? We never had either.

Beacuse they do in Japan. Japan is different from you home country, yet some people refuse to see or accept that.

My advice: accept Japanese ways for what they are or leave, because it will drive you mad otherwise, like many other posters on here who moan and groan about the country they have chosen to live in.

I am confused. Does Japan not have labor laws? Apparently, not... Most Japanese aren't even aware of their rights, because they don't exist.

Yet more pointless belly-aching about 'rights'. Rights are different in Japan. Or haven't you noticed this yet? The woman took a job in the knowledge (I assume) that part of that job is to attend school ceremonies. To fail to do that, for whatever reason, is dereliction of duty. And please show me where, in the labour laws, it says that this woman has the right to avoid her responsabilites. How is this an infringement of rights? You are making it sound like sexual harassment or something, when it just a reasonable requirement that she attend the ceremony like everyone else has to.

This is not a matter of foreigners wanting to change anything. It is a matter of Japanese people at a school doing something a little different and some people berating them for it.

Yet another example of people not 'getting' Japan. People in Japan do the same thing as everyone else. It's the way the society works, whether you like it or not. As an ALT I sometimes had to work on Christmas Day. It soon became clear that my attempts to get get out of it and work another day in lieu were going to get me nowhere, so I just learned to work on that day and suck it up.

Again, neither the homeroom teacher, nor the principal are 'foreign'. This has nothing to do with what non-Japanese think. It clearly has to do with what Japanese people think. This Japanese teacher asked for time off. Her Japanese prinicipal gave it to her. End of story.

Really? Then why all the ranting from non-Japanese on here? If the Japanese want to change something in their own country then so be it, but it seems that foreigners want to interfere and get everyone to do it their way. Japan isn't northern Europe, you know. It doesn't bend to the whims of all and sundry who arrive on its shores and shart making demands, and Japan is better for it. If the principal gave her the time off, then that's fine, but I don't see where you are getting this information from, and I agree with Strangerland that she shouldn't have asked for the time off anyway. She knows what her job is and what is expected of her and she didn't do it. That is the end of the story.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

It`s not her responsibility to be a mother to the students.

I'm saying teachers need to pay more attention to students who don't have mothers. Those students would have disadvantages compared to other kids. Some attention would make a big difference on those kids' futures.

I had teachers who always demanding their rights when I was a kid, boy they were lousy teachers.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Japan's education system needs to take a step back and chill out... once kids graduate, they rarely look back at these ceremonies other than to see the pictures of their friends and families.

So true. I did have favorite teacahers in high school, and often saw them when I went back home to visit. But the most important people that I made sure to visit when I went back home after high school was my family. Teachers did have a positive impact, but they had their lives and families and I had mine.

I doubt that any children will be scarred at not having their homeroom teacher present. If they think that because she was not there, and that means that the rest of their life will be a failure, then those kids and parents have much bigger issues to tackle.

What would happen if this teacher left for a better job or won the lottery and said "I quit!" Does that mean that the kids in her homeroom are "doomed" since she will no longer be there? It is up to the individual and their parents to make their way in this world. Some have said that the homeroom teacher is responsible for assisting in setting up stuff for the students post high school and making connections for them, that is what parents and students themselves are for.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Of course it was ok for her to go to her son`s ceremony. These hardnose comments we are reading from opthers here ring similar tones in other articles.

The go home or go somewhere else comments are for the weak and "Love to be babysat" type. In a free world complaining or expressing your opinion is completely fine. If you say it isnt then why dont "YOU" go live in Russia or China.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

No where in this article does it state she received permission from the vice principal to take paid leave. It is very unlikely that the Vice Principal would have have granted it.

This story has been in the vernacular news, so many of us already know she did ask for and receive permission to take the day off. She put in for the leave beforehand, it was accepted, she even prepared an apology letter which she arranged for another teacher to pass out to the parents and students. The principal also clearly explained the reason to everyone present when he introduced the homeroom teachers.

事前に休暇を願い出ていたうえ、あらかじめ欠席をわびる文書を作り、式当日、別の教諭が保護者や生徒らに配ったという。校長も入学式の担任紹介で理由を説明した。

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/life/news/140415/edc14041507540001-n1.htm

In addition, perhaps many are not familiar with the system and so do not realize that their is also an assistant homeroom teacher that can take over the duties of the homeroom teacher if necessary.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The twisted logic, if it can even be called that, in deriding the teacher's decision to prioritize her child above an event at her workplace is ludicrous. Only a cold, heartless person would attack her. And we wonder what's gone wrong with society ...

8 ( +9 / -1 )

And we wonder what's gone wrong with society ...

I myself wonder this when I see the lack of a proper work ethic that would see someone skip one of the three most important days of the year for their job.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

someone skip one of the three most important days of the year for their job.

This incorrectly implies that this teacher just skipped out on the day suddenly without letting anyone know. This is plainly not the case. She asked for a day off in the appropriate manner and with forethought. Her request was properly accepted.

Looking at some of the problems with teachers beating students and other crimes against students leads me to the opinion that we need more teachers with human feelings than we need automatons that only react to rules without any consideration for exceptions.

As someone pointed out above, it is no wonder that so many teachers either quit or take leave because of the stress of the job with many of the attitudes displayed against this teacher wanting to be with her own child on his special day.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Fukuppy

Yet more pointless belly-aching about 'rights'. Rights are different in Japan. Or haven't you noticed this yet? The woman took a job in the knowledge (I assume) that part of that job is to attend school ceremonies. To fail to do that, for whatever reason, is dereliction of duty. And please show me where, in the labour laws, it says that this woman has the right to avoid her responsabilites. How is this an infringement of rights? You are making it sound like sexual harassment or something, when it just a reasonable requirement that she attend the ceremony like everyone else has to. I keep on saying this, but Japan is different, and if people can't accept that they should decamp. Period.

Then what the hell is this?

Article 39. An employer shall grant annual leave with pay of ten working days, either consecutive or divided into portions, to workers who have been employed continuously for six months calculated from the day of their being hired and who have reported for work on at least 80 percent of the total working days.

For workers who have been employed continuously for at least one year and a half, an employer shall grant one day of annual leave with pay in addition to the number of days stipulated in the preceding paragraph for each additional year of continuous service from the day of their serving continuously for six months (only those years in which the worker has reported for work on at least 80 percent of the total working days). However, that if the total number of days of annual leave with pay would exceed 20 days, the employer is not required to grant annual leave with pay for such excess days.

http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/27776/64846/E95JPN01.htm#a032

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2011/12/13/how-tos/all-employees-in-japan-are-entitled-to-paid-leave-period/#.U09LWKI0-kw

But it's good to know that Japanese still tend to be brainwashed into thinking that they have NO rights, and must sacrifice themselves for the work. The bosses and the authorities must be proud.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Not sure about her school in particular, but the ''first homeroom'' the teacher and students have (attended by parents watching in the back) where I work seems to be a much more formative event that shows the parents what the teacher will be like with their new students because of the more intimate setting. The article mentioned her missing the ceremony, but not other events after the ceremony, so its possible she headed over to her school as soon as her son's ceremony wrapped up?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Thomas - employees still have to request days off, and employers have the right to refuse. The number of days must be granted in the year, but they do not have to be granted for whatever days the employees request.

-4 ( +3 / -8 )

Strangerland

Thomas - employees still have to request days off, and employers have the right to refuse. The number of days must be granted in the year, but they do not have to be granted for whatever days the employees request.

So in other words, you were 100% wrong. Are you going to apologize and admit that you were wrong?

employers have the right to refuse.

WHICH SHE REQUESTED, AND HE DIDN'T REFUSE!! GOOD GRIEF!!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Strangerland and Thomas Anderson, please do not address each other any further on this thread.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Urqinchina,

No where in this article does it state she received permission from the vice principal to take paid leave. It is very unlikely that the Vice Principal would have have granted it. I believe that she rang on the morning of the ceremony and took a sickie prompting Mr Gono to comment.

The following sentiment has been tossed around rather loosely here, but I suspect you possess but a cursory familiarity with the Japanese public school system.

First off -- and this applies to more than a few posters on this thread -- Could we please put a lid on the incessant romanticizing about the Japanese public school entrance ceremony? There are no blood rituals or animal sacrifices involved to justify the, "Ah, those proudly noble and inscrutable Japanese" pap that's being passed around this thread as thoughtful insight. It's just a ceremony. Yes, it's important, but it’s not the end of the world if the homeroom teacher fails to attend for what apparently a significant number of fellow Japanese believe to be a quite legitimate reason.

Second, the teacher in question most certainly asked for and received permission from the administration. This goes without question. Had she not, and simply, as you suggest, "took a sickie," this article wouldn't exist. In its place would have been a completely unheralded disciplinary process against the teacher in question.

This preparation that you seem to think the teacher somehow foisted upon some poor unfortunate takes place over a couple of days -- not the morning of -- with, yes, the homeroom teacher leading, but also facilitated by other instructors. It bears mentioning that when the ceremony is ended, the students are taken back to their respective classrooms to listen to a brief explanation about school rules and regulations before they are released to their parents, who it also bears mentioning, just finished sitting through a brief lecture on school administrative policies in the now-vacant gymnasium. It bears even further mentioning that the parents and their children then head home. Not exactly the stuff of deep, enriching bonding experiences to cement the hearts and souls of the homeroom teacher and the students she will become a surrogate parent for over the next 12 months.

Third, your situation as a direct hire ALT is hardly comparable to the work load and responsibilities of a fully licensed Japanese homeroom teacher. I'll refrain from exploring the sheer audacity of making such a ludicrous comparison in support of your position.

Fourth, for those of you who want to quibble about "terms of contract," nowhere in a public school teacher's contract is it stated that contractually obligatory paid leave days can be used for any day "but few more important days." Nowhere at all. The contract these teachers sign absolutely gives them the right to, no, not cherry pick which parts of their job they like or don't like, but rather take a paid leave at any time of their choosing if approved by the administration. So, if you want to talk contract law, then this teacher is not only well within her right to ask for the day of the entrance ceremony off, but also to get it off.

Above and beyond any of this is the utter absurdity of browbeating this teacher for missing the ceremony. The teacher who attended her son's high school entrance ceremony was in her 50s. It then stands to reason that over the course of what is likely a 27-year career as a public school teacher that she has been a homeroom teacher numerous times and has fulfilled her responsibilities as such each time admirably and professionally. She has arguably taken on the role of teacher/counselor/disciplinarian/second parent for the benefit of the children of strangers with nary an issue over her long career. But when she makes the decision to partake once in the same pride and exhilaration these strangers take for granted, she's upbraided for it?!

It's disheartening to see how disconected we've become as a society when people start to assume that society exists to serve business, when it fact it's the other way around.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

LFRAgain,

Spot on. And, might I add, one of the best rebuttals I have read on this site.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I agree. LFRAgain,

That was indeed spot on. Well done!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

If you are a teacher, your students are 1st priority. If you are the captain of a ship, safety of passengers is 1st priority. Work ethic makes society work.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

If we were talking about medical, miitary, or other public safety responsibilities, then yes, the preservation of human lives most certainly takes a priority.

But we aren't talkng about human lives, are we? We're talking about 15-year-olds with 9 years of formal education and two previous entrance ceremonies under their belts entering high school...

They'll survive without their homeroom teacher for a morning.

Without the integral family unit, society itself would cease to exist. Personal ethics make society work, not contrived notions of obligation to the workplace. We work to live, not live to work.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@LFR. Where did I make the comparison between my job and that of a home room teacher, I for one fully understand the horrendous hours and responsibities these teachers usually put in. I have been sitting in the staff room for seven years and certainly don't have a romanticised view of Japan or of other countries. I showed my position as it gives an unique insight into the education system here, actually we are discussing this incident amongst the Japanese teachers right now.

Most of us agree that if the deputy principal gave his okay, he has kneecapped his career. Lastly, how do you know what my job entails, a common mistake in japan is to base your comments on your own limited experience . Each BOE operates differently so to assume what I know or don't know is rather disingenuous .

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Some people work to live, some live to work. Both are OK. But teachers have greater responsibility and are respected for it . They're well paid public servants and lifetime employment guranteed with good pension.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Raising a child properly is also a personal and social responsibility for a parent teacher.

Ya don't want a child to grow up a head case, then next thing ya know something bad happens and people ask why he/she was a head case in the first place.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@tinwatanabe The junior high school teacher sitting to my right , wants to correct your statement. In February this year, the City office stuck their hands into his pension and grabbed a significant amount. As a result , he now has to work for a further 2 years and at 50 % of the original salary . He is expected to run his club every night and on Saturdays with only a small recompense . But , he says, he understood the role of teacher before starting and understands what he gave up over the past 32 years. What the vice principal and principal of the high school in question has accomplished Is to open a door for other teachers to take their paid leave when whatever situation arises. Very similar situation to the UK and the USA where continuity of lessons Is dismal. Secondly , he asks, please come to our school and point out where the assistant teachers are ! He has never seen one.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Despite giving her permission to take paid leave (it's the law), her superiors definitely would NOT have approved of her absence on that day.

I think it's silly that so many parents feel the need to attend school events, particularly for children in high school. For the first day of high school in Japan, students don't need their mothers, they need their teachers.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

It`s not her responsibility to be a mother to the students.

Well, actually, it is! If you understand Japan (which many posting on here seem not to) then you'll know that the teacher in Japan, especially the homeroom teacher, has a lot more expected of her (or him) than in other countries. For example, if the child goes missing, the teacher has to go and help search for the child no matter whether it is a day off (a foreign concept in Japan) or not. The teacher is very much in loco parentis.

Then what the hell is this? Article 39. An employer shall grant annual leave with pay of ten working days, either consecutive or divided into portions, to workers who have been employed continuously for six months calculated from the day of their being hired and who have reported for work on at least 80 percent of the total working days. For workers who have been employed continuously for at least one year and a half, an employer shall grant one day of annual leave with pay in addition to the number of days stipulated in the preceding paragraph for each additional year of continuous service from the day of their serving continuously for six months (only those years in which the worker has reported for work on at least 80 percent of the total working days). However, that if the total number of days of annual leave with pay would exceed 20 days, the employer is not required to grant annual leave with pay for such excess days.

It's called lip service. My contract used to have this sort of legalise in it, but the truth was we could only take 5 days off and those were to be used as sick days only as a rule. The teacher knows she shouldn't have bunked off school when she should have been doing her job. These laws of yours are just words on paper and you know it! For example, words on paper tell BOEs not to employ ALTs through dispatch companies yet most of them do regardless. People know their duties and their unspoken responsibilities, which is why noone takes the nenkyu they are entitled to. It's just the Japanese way.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

The teacher knows she shouldn't have bunked off school when she should have been doing her job.

I don't believe she knows or feels any such way. Neither do I believe that the principal who approved her leave does either. She in no way 'bunked off school'. She followed correct proceedure in requesting and being granted leave to attend her son's ceremony. More power to her.

Why is this causing so much vitriol? I cannot fathom it People who no nothing about this teacher beyond the fact that she cared enough about her son to request leave to see his entrance ceremony have jumped to conclusions about her work ethic that are not apparent at all. She followed the rules. She did nothing wrong.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Urqinchina,

Where did you make the comparison between your job and that of a homeroom teacher?

Urqinchina Apr. 17, 2014 - 08:32AM JST - I am a directly hired teacher for one of the BOE's in Saitama and I know , 3 days in the year, I must attend. Entrance ceremony, sports day and Graduation ceremony. Don't even bother asking for time off! That is the job. If I don't like it, find new employment.

You implied rather clearly that if you as a "directly hired teacher" must attend three certain days out of the year, then it simply stands to reason that a homeroom teacher must as well.

I showed my position as it gives an unique insight into the education system here

No, you attempted to create a parallel comparison between how you view your work responsibilities in a public school with how you feel the HRT in question should view her responsibilities. It is you who is being disingenuous (and I'm actually using that word correctly in this case).

The principal has in no way, shape, or form "kneecapped" his career. Allow me the opportunity to spray the deck with employment credentials testosterone as well and state that the teachers of the central Tokyo public school staff room I was sitting in yesterday believe the supposed outrage of Saitama prefectural assemblyman Koichi Gono is political grandstanding at best and that the grumbling parents -- which it turns out was a rather small minority -- were being selfish and unreasonable about what is ultimately not the most important day in the high school career of incoming students. Straight from the mouths of locals who are in the position to know or care.

As slumdog points out, the "outrage" over this is utterly baffling, particularly from ex-pats who seem to have a hard-on for telling other posters -- and even the Japanese themselves -- how they should better appreciate Japanese school culture.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

wow !!! So funny, I hope she will not lose her job because of it...

Looks like forced retirement, or transfer to a night school or bad school is in her future.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@lFR Applying your own assumptions, I shall return the favour. You are a relief teacher for an ALT dispatch Company . I base this on the comments in your recent postings. As I wrote before, don't comment with limited experience or in your case , narrow experience. As you stated "Tokyo " hardly local , it's Saitama Ken this discussion is about. As a directly hired Teacher , my boss is the Principal. He decides what days , what duties who , when and why. Whereas dispatch ALT's are responsible to their dispatch coordinator. Very different system which leads to conflicts between the Principal and the Dispatch company. The ALT is usually caught in the middle.Within my BOE you must attend the three days. Unlike your comment , I am expected to do as the other teachers do, and I understand that. So it is not testosterone as you imply but outlining what my comments are based on. Why not come out of the shadows and show your background. I am sure then the readers will have a better understanding of your arguments. I too, have missed family events when a conflict of scheduling occurs , but I have the respect of the teachers, the Principal and most importantly the students. I run ( with another teacher) a sports club every week night and on Saturdays. The law states that I do not have to accept but like most teachers here in Japan and overseas , I feel it is part of the job. This shows in my role as a Teacher and notice I am not using the word instructor. This whole discussion has done a disservice to the teachers who do attend ceremonies and put in extra time.Yes, most Japanese Teachers would like to take time off when they need it but then who will run these events and clubs ?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@Fukuppy,

You said:

It's called lip service. My contract used to have this sort of legalise in it, but the truth was we could only take 5 days off and those were to be used as sick days only as a rule. The teacher knows she shouldn't have bunked off school when she should have been doing her job. These laws of yours are just words on paper and you know it! For example, words on paper tell BOEs not to employ ALTs through dispatch companies yet most of them do regardless. People know their duties and their unspoken responsibilities, which is why noone takes the nenkyu they are entitled to. It's just the Japanese way.

So it`as more about corruption in the workplace than anything else???

@Urqinchina,

You said:

I too, have missed family events when a conflict of scheduling occurs , but I have the respect of the teachers, the Principal and most importantly the students.

So you respect your family less???

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Urqinchina,

Everything you outline as your experience in Japan is part and parcel of everything I've ever done while in Japan, both in the public school system and in the private sector. I'm currently in HR management which affords me uncommon access to other facets of what a foreign teacher's job in Japanese schools entails. I've run the gamut, so I rest fairly comfortably in the knowledge that my experience is anything but limited or narrow.

What's more to the point however, is that you still seem bent on placing your efforts as an ALT on par with those of your Japanese colleagues. If that's what it takes to get you through the day, then so be it, but know that I'm not fooled. I've done your job. I know perfectly well what it entails. I know your "sacrifice" for the job is in no way comparable to that licensed Japanese teachers make on a day-to-day basis, even the dispatch ones.

You haven't worked in the system for 20-some odd years. You weren't born in the system. You weren't raised in the system. You aren't Japanese. There is no reasonable comparison to be made between your efforts to be more like the natives and the efforts Japanese instructors make as a matter of course. I've no doubt you respect your colleagues and that the respect is returned in kind. But you aren't the same as a 50-year-old homeroom teacher who choses to take one day off to celebrate her son's achievements. Not even a little bit. So claiming your experience makes you uniquely qualified to tsk-tsk this teacher is, to put it bluntly, bull puckey.

It's unfortunate that rather than furthering the discussion by delving into, say, what might motivate not one, but the four Saitama teachers mentioned in the above article to have the audacity to take back some minute facet of their private lives, the thread has been hijacked by your desire to extoll the virtues of . . . well . . . you. I've made the points I wish to make and will discuss this with you no further. Good luck in your future endeavors.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Why do you insist that I am comparing myself to Japanese teachers ? I am merely pointing out what my job entails, and the rather simple fact that this is what is required of me , it is my job description. In final reply to your above statements , neither are you ! I wish you well in your endeavours and hope that you accord /respect your dispatch ALTs the same rights as the Japanese teacher In question .

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

So it`as more about corruption in the workplace than anything else???

It depends on your point of view. A westerner with limited understanding of Japan would see it that way; I see it more as part of work culture in Japan. That's just the way it is and you have to roll with it if you want to survive the workplace in Japan. If you don't like it, the alternative is to work somewhere else, assuming you are not Japanese, of course, but even then it might be an option.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The entrance and graduation ceremony are the top two days when teachers are supposed to attend. If she was not a HR teacher, she could take a day off without any controversy even in Japan. The length of high school teacher's life cycle is about 3-5 years long and "your turn" comes only twice (entrance of 1st grade and graduation of 3rd grade) throughout that period. Forcing teachers to work on those special two days in 3-5 years is not that inhumane. Parents are disappointed rather than angry, because they expected teachers to welcome their children. Students also felt disappointed because this teacher's attitude clearly showed them that my son is much more important than you anonymous 30-40 on the very first day of their entrance! Family is important in Japan but we don't treat it as the Bible. I don't think family's bond is less strong in Japan than in other countries. You can compensate for the absence from son's entrance ceremony. ALWAYS putting family first is surprising to me.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

FukuppyApr. 18, 2014 - 09:18PM JST It depends on your point of view. A westerner with limited understanding of Japan would see it that way; I see it more as part of work culture in Japan. That's just the way it is and you have to roll with it if you want to survive the workplace in Japan. If you don't like it, the alternative is to work somewhere else, assuming you are not Japanese, of course, but even then it might be an option.

I find the comment about westerners with limited understandings particularly ironic. You see, what many foreigners do when encountering a foreign culture is try to understand it in a series of broad stereotypes to give themselves a sense of security and some feeling of control in an unfamiliar environment, rather than looking at the individuals involved

This is exactly what is happening here. The teacher thought the request for leave was reasonable, so she asked for it. The principal agreed with her and gave her leave. The rest of the parents of the children either thought it was reasonable or not a serious enough issue to complain about. ONE parent complained, and ONE grumpy old politician decided to get on his soapbox and rant about it.

Let's keep this entire thing in perspective shall we? This isn't some sweeping cultural phenomenon that applies to all Japanese teachers, it is a very small number of people complaining. I'm sure you're familiar with the naysayer rule? In any group you'll end up with one whiner or ass who complains about even the most reasonable thing. This newspaper article is all about that whiner, the parent, and the ass, the politician. If you take the braying you're hearing as representative of the whole of Japanese culture then you're the one with the limited understanding, not everyone else here.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Fukuppy is right in that that is often the "real" work culture in Japan, where "tacit agreements" triumph over actual written rules and laws. In Japan, people spend most of their energy "reading between the lines". But the error comes in when whether that is actually what the people want, or it's just something forced upon from the top, or the "System". If there are no universal rules, then we can't really judge any good or bad behavior, since there won't be any measuring rod to measure something upon. Obviously, this approach tend to make people feel insecure, because there are no clear written rules and the rules can suddenly change arbitrarily. It makes people feel like they can't rely on anything stable, since human emotions are finicky. The people can't possibly be happy in a situation like this.

But I think that the times are changing, and this "culture" is slowly but surely changing.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

To me the school /government officials are more "miffed" about the fact the teacher showed some independent thinking -- and rejected the "power harassment" that is prevalent in schools and society here.

One day an elementary school principle ( in Saitama BTW) asked me what I felt was the main difference between education in my country vs Japan. --> Simple: People believe "rules" can/should be changed" . When a "rule" is not working anymore, students/teachers/society feel we can always discuss it and change the rule. His reply: "rules can be changed"? He seemed to believe as well, he had no responsibility or power to change rules. This teacher actually taught the most important lesson to all in the school - independent thinking is important for the future of these students.

I encourage this teacher to join the other school system in Japan called "free schools" -- thankfully this is where I find some very creative and passionate teachers and students

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I see this article is dated "16th April" but I only just saw it today !

It has been MOST informative and I have come to three conclusions :

1) My son always has, and always will come FIRST

2) In spite of needing a job right now, I shall avoid, at all costs, working for Strangerland

3) Fukuppy, your name suits you PERFECTLY !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To me the school /government officials are more "miffed" about the fact the teacher showed some independent thinking -- and rejected the "power harassment" that is prevalent in schools and society here.

Too true. No doubt that some are predictably mad because they broke the "unspoken rule". The usual responses ranges from something like "that's selfish", "it will cause trouble to others" to "that's un-Japanese behavior". Basically these are threats to get people in their rightful place.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The way I see it, either this "school ceremony" thing is important or not important. I think that the only thing that both sides (Goro and the teacher) agree on is that it is important. So we play the game assuming ceremonies actually are important.

It is a fine balance but I'm inclined to show some favor to Gono's side. The school's face and whatsoever aside, on a numerical basis, we are talking about the interests of ~30 students vs 1.

If it is one random student versus your son in a "You can only save one" situation, I think no one would comment on a choice to save your son. However, if you let 30 of your students die to save your son, I think you had better prepare for some comments.

Sure, you might argue this is not life and death, but that the lessening of severity just is in proportion. It seems that the ones that say "If it is life and death, save the 30; but if it is a ceremony, prioritize your son" is the side that needs to defend themselves.

Not that I'm unsympathetic to the other side (I've actually "Gooded" several comments that argued for "Family first") but this is my toss.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Kazuaki ShimazakiApr. 19, 2014 - 11:43AM JST It is a fine balance but I'm inclined to show some favor to Gono's side. The school's face and whatsoever aside, on a numerical basis, we are talking about the interests of ~30 students vs 1.

If it is one random student versus your son in a "You can only save one" situation, I think no one would comment on a choice to save your son. However, if you let 30 of your students die to save your son, I think you had better prepare for some comments.

I would save my child, and any parent would. Clearly you're not a parent or you would understand this. I wouldn't feel good about my decision, but any parent who puts the interests of others before the interests of their child is an unfit parent. If your parents didn't do that for you then I'm very sorry for you.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

As a country which considers appearances and adherence to conformity to be vitally important, it is understandable as to why the parents would be upset. Whether or not it is right or wrong is not the point, as it is a systematic and deeply entrenched issue. Rules are rules, and when deciding to take up the job within such a system, the teacher needs to play the game or otherwise accept the consequences despite how illogical it may appear to be. I lost count of the number of times I challenged the system only to ultimately accept that "this is Japan" and thus conclude that certain things were out of my control.

Perhaps the "best" thing which the teacher could have done was to sit down with her son and say, "please be strong and understand that I love you, but I have a job to do, even though I don't want to do it". It is not easy, but this is the system that she is operating in.....

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I would save my child, and any parent would. Clearly you're not a parent or you would understand this. I wouldn't feel good about my decision, but any parent who puts the interests of others before the interests of their child is an unfit parent. If your parents didn't do that for you then I'm very sorry for you.

You might, Frungy. But my interest is less whether you would than whether you'd be criticized for it. Or do you think you won't be greatly criticized for you decision?

Rules are rules, and when deciding to take up the job within such a system, the teacher needs to play the game or otherwise accept the consequences despite how illogical it may appear to be.

What logic? How are you going to "logically" substantiate your choice to sacrifice 30 people for 1?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Way to be an indep thinker and stand up for your beliefs.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“Do teachers these days think their son’s entrance exam is more important than their own students?” .....yes. The teacher just sent a great message to her new pupils; sometimes rules need to be broken.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Well, if you know all the many details of a Japanese entrance ceremony, and all the preparation involved, and how the students need guidance to keep from messing things up, and the problems that occur with "certain" students, you start to see the point of the school and parents for wanting the homeroom teacher there. Its not as simple as just greeting the new students. Not even.

I think it all comes down to either agreeing with the type of ceremony done in Japan or not. If you do agree, then you see the need for the teacher. If you don't agree, and think it should be more simple, or even not done at all, then you can easily say there is no need for the teacher to be there.

I would be more sympathetic if the son were in elementary school and the father and other relatives was also busy. But then someone would have to substitute for the teacher for sure. But this is a high school and the entrance ceremony is that much more complicated. Her son is in high school and he can take care of himself surely.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

But this is a high school and the entrance ceremony is that much more complicated. Her son is in high school and he can take care of himself surely.

Which is it?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Are there no assistant homeroom teachers or anything like that. Someone who can replace the teacher when need be? She did the right thing. Imagine yourself in her shoes. If you fail that, imagine yourself in her son's shoes!

Oh and yes, honestly, some of the comments imply that she's not a good teacher/she should quit/she should be fired for missing an..entrance ceremony??

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Are there no assistant homeroom teachers or anything like that. Someone who can replace the teacher when need be?

Yes, there are. The assistant homeroom teacher was there at the ceremony.

She did the right thing.

I think so. too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's actually a pretty tough call because I'm sure she understood the importance of the ceremony to her own school and students, but I assume she did the right thing and gave the school plenty of notice and they endorsed her decision. So really, I would expect the school to publicly support her and to explain that they understand the importance of these ceremonies to parents and that their own staff are parents, and that they have the right to attend these things as well.

After all, you don't let the tail wag the dog.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

accept Japanese ways for what they are or leave, because it will drive you mad otherwise

Then maybe the folk who complained should either shut up and put up, or leave Japan if they are unable to accept that it was a Japanese teacher who decided it was the Japanese way to ask for time off (and who handled her absence in a Japanese way, writing a letter for the parents and students to read on the day), and a Japanese administrator at a Japanese school who decided to allow her the time off, and the vast majority of the Japanese parents saw nothing to complain about.

If you are a teacher, your students are 1st priority. If you are the captain of a ship, safety of passengers is 1st priority.

If you are a parent, your children are your 1st priority, by a long way.

Apparently at this school, there is little taught about family values and the importance of family

Quite the opposite. It was the school that allowed her the time off and passed out her written greeting. It was one other parent, an assemblyman and some members of the BoE who complained. The school did right.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

If you are a parent, your children are your 1st priority, by a long way.

Cleo, it is said that a Japanese (and to some extent Oriental) weakness is that in return for being willing to go far for an "in-group", they are very cold towards people farther out in the ring. It would seem that this emphasis on family will be to encourage this negative practice.

Here's the way I see it ... schools or other workplaces should not interfere with an employee's private time (that is, outside the 9-to-5 or whatever the contract says segment), so I'm all for individual rights and to h** with the company there. However, in return, it is a reasonable expectation to put the company first within* hours, which this ceremony certainly would be. The more so because 30 people's interests are at stake.

That the school endorsed the decision, I'd say that's nice. But if some people are unsympathetic, well, they are not wrong, too.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Fukuppy,

Culture? Here we go. Been here 15 years so well aware. Have a family. If its a rule or law and you dont obey it and defend it with a culturally charged reason then something is broken.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

it is a reasonable expectation to put the company first within hours

Teachers in Japan typically put in lots and lots of time with the students (not to mention admin stuff) outside hours. Most people don't mind and are understanding of a desire/need even on the part of teachers to occasionally put themselves and their own families first when the situation demands.

if some people are unsympathetic, well, they are not wrong

Not wrong perhaps, but certainly self-centered and unsympathetic. And not very nice.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Surprising to me that everyone assumes this is a Japanese issue. I've lived and taught over 30 years in both the US and Japan, and we have three bilingual/bicultural/biracial children. Teachers in the US are OFTEN forced to attend school events where they teach and miss events where their children attend school. This is one reason many elect to move their own children to the school where they teach. Teachers in the US do NOT have "vacation" or other time they can take off; in my school district we have TWO days in the entire year which we can take off for "personal" reasons.... therefore events are attended because we have no option for NOT attending. Not a complaint, simply an observation; teaching is, everywhere, an occupation which SEEMS family friendly, however is not quite so.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Teacher criticized for attending son's entrance ceremony

...

However, the date of the entrance exam of the school where the woman teaches coincided with that of the high school where her eldest son has recently begun studying

...

"Do teachers these days think their son's entrance exam is more important than their own students?"

...

are we talking about an exam or a ceremony? or is there some kind of ceremony/exam?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Which is it?

Both. As a high school student, the boy does not need his mom there at the ceremony. He needs his homeroom teacher, and so do the students of the teacher who was not present.

When I said "he can take care of himself" I meant before and after that ceremony, because that is pretty much the only time a student really needs his or her mom. Which is why I say I could understand if he was in elementary school.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Both.

Well, I disagree on the absoluteness of both.

As a high school student, the boy does not need his mom there at the ceremony. He needs his homeroom teacher, and so do the students of the teacher who was not present.

He probably only has one mother. She wanted to be there and he probably wanted her to be there. The teacher's students also have an assistant homeroom teacher.

When I said "he can take care of himself" I meant before and after that ceremony, because that is pretty much the only time a student really needs his or her mom.

Really? So, no one came to your entrance/graduation ceremony (either will suffice)? I mean, you did not need any help, but I would think you would like to have had people there to share the experience with. I know I did and I was glad they came.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Fukuppy, Culture? Here we go. Been here 15 years so well aware. Have a family. If its a rule or law and you dont obey it and defend it with a culturally charged reason then something is broken.

Yep. That's just about it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't see nothing wrong in watching her son's entrance ceremony and she got permission from the principal at the school she works. She doing the right thing in supporting her son at his school ceremony by witnessing a important changing point in her son's life. We must not allow the routine to command our very lives and dedicate to our children and in help them to grow into more responsible adults. I don't care what the assemblyman said about her. To me she did the right thing and that's all that matters.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites