And After They Labored Over The Schedule

| Working | September 16, 2014

(I am an American living in small town in Japan working as an English language assistant teacher. In one of the schools I work at a Filipino family has moved into town within the past year with three kids in the school system. The mother is currently seven months pregnant. They are fluent in English, but sometimes require a bit of translation for Japanese. I’m often called in to help explain paperwork, school procedure, or to be a go between the parents and the Japanese teachers. They have one child with special needs and the school has organized to have them tour a special needs school nearby. The day they are scheduled to visit the pregnant mother calls the school. They hand me the phone.)

Me: “Hello?”

Mother: “Hello. This is [Mother]. I’m calling to say we won’t be able to make it to the meeting today. I’ve gone into early labor.”

(Concerned as the baby is so early and trying to get her off the phone as quickly as I can so she can get back to it.)

Me: “Oh! I’m sure it will be fine. I will explain everything to them. Just focus on yourself and the baby and I hope it all goes well!”

Mother: “Thank you!” *hangs up*

Administration: *in Japanese* “Well? What did she say?”

Me: “It looks like she has gone into early labor and they will not be able to make it to the school tour today. I hope everything goes well. She’s not due for another two months.”

Administration: “WHAT?! She’s not going to make the tour?”

Me: *thinking maybe my translation was off, I try explaining again* “No, she’s in labor… The baby is coming… right now!”

Administration: “They can’t do this! We made arrangements! There was a schedule!”

Me: *one last ditch attempt* “She’s in the hospital. She can’t come. Her family is with her.”

Administration: “They can’t do this!”

Me: *walks away*

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