Money Makes The School Go Down

, , , , , | Learning | January 21, 2019

(I work in a language school teaching English and Chinese. The principal and owner of the school is an overall nice person; however, he is too indulgent with students, not punishing anyone who is late to pay, and terrible at managing his money. As a result, payments are almost always late by a day or two. Since most of the teachers are students working for some extra cash, we don’t mind. One day, in the middle of my class, he calls all teachers to his office.)

Principal: “Good morning. I called you all here to discuss an important issue. As you know, my daughter is getting married…” *his eyes begin to glow in happiness* “…but she’s run out of money for her wedding, and I decided to pay for the rest as a wedding gift. Unfortunately, that means you will not be paid for the next two months.”

(We all think this is a joke, and wait for the punchline. After a few seconds, we realise he’s serious.)

Principal: “That was all… you can continue with your activities.”

Teacher #1: “Are you out of your mind? Do you actually expect us to work for free for two months?”

Principal: “What does it matter? None of you have any bills to pay! You don’t need the money, but my daughter does!”

Teacher #2: “Okay… Let’s say we don’t get paid these two months. At least in the third month, you should pay us those two months, plus an extra, for the troubles.”

Principal: “Nope, I’ve already run some numbers. I can’t afford the wedding, my daughter’s honeymoon, and your wages. You’ll have to do without money for two months.”

(We are all furious. But the most frustrating thing is that the principal can’t understand why we are all angry, and he begins to get angry, too. We just don’t understand how important this is to him, and we’re all just jealous and too greedy, he says.)

Principal: “I own this place and do as I please. I’m paying for her wedding and her honeymoon. If you don’t like it, the doors are open.”

Me: “You own the place, but not my time. You want me to work? You pay. You don’t want to pay? I don’t work. Simple as that.”

Principal: “Are you threatening me?”

Me: “No, I’m quitting.”

(Literally all the teachers quit at that exact moment and walked out his office. I went to my classroom and explained the situation to my students. All of them sympathised with the teachers and most offered to pay for private lessons. All of us, students and teachers, walked out of the school. Without teachers and without students, the school had to close. A year later, I ran into the principal’s secretary, who filled me in. Apparently, he had promised his daughter a fantastic wedding and a month-long honeymoon in Europe, but without the school’s money, he was unable to pay for them. His daughter was devastated and now doesn’t talk to him, while his wife divorced him, since she ruined the daughter’s wedding AND their only steady source of income.)

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The Rules Of Realization

, , | Learning | January 20, 2019

(I’m an English teacher. This day, due to bad weather, everyone but me and one of my students is late. When she arrives, I ask her to read her homework. A few minutes later, when all my students have arrived, I ask her to read it again.)

Me: “[Student], please, read what you wrote for homework.”

Student: “Why me? I’ve already read it!?

Me: “That’s the way things work here. I don’t make the rules.”


Me: “Oh… wait. I’m the teacher. I do make the rules!”

(All of my students laughed and she read her homework again.)

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Totally Estúpido! Part 6

, , , | Friendly | January 19, 2019

(My mom and I are sitting while we wait to send a package of documents. There are two people before us, a man and a woman.)

Man: *to service representative* “Do you speak English?”

Sales Rep: *in Spanish* “No, sir, I’m sorry.”


(The woman ended up serving as an interpreter and they left.)

Mom: *to me* “I wonder if this is the kind of man that insists that foreigners in the US must learn English?”

Totally Estupido, Part 5
Totally Estupido, Part 4
Totally Estupido, Part 3

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Unfiltered Story #91666

, , | Unfiltered | August 16, 2017

(One 12-year old I have lessons with is completely wonderful. I encourage her to talk about her interests, her school and stuff like that in English, but we often end up chatting after class. This happens a couple weeks before I am to leave for home. I had only introduced myself by name to her once, in our first lesson, about eight months ago. Also note that in Japanese, you usually say a person’s name or title instead of “you.” On the whiteboard, I write “1. I live in Kyoto.” “2. I am living in Kyoto”. As my student’s English is not yet sufficient to discuss grammar, I usually switch to Japanese for those explanations.)

Me: “So, one of those is something you can say, and one is something I can say. Can you tell me which is which?”

Student: “The first one is me, because I live here all the time. The second one is…” *she pauses* “The second one is [My Name]! Because you are leaving soon, so are only living here temporarily.”

Me: *absolutely delighted* “You remembered! Wow, you actually remembered my name even though I’ve only ever said it once!”

(This student also brought me doughnuts on our last class!)

Butting Against A Culture Clash

| Learning | December 2, 2013

(I teach English in Japan. I am walking to my classroom when I hear giggling coming from inside. I see one sixth-grade aged boy burst from the darkened room and run off to another classroom. I assume that some students are roughhousing in there. I proceed to walk into the classroom and turn on the lights. I see two of my male students on the floor. The larger has not only pinned the smaller to the floor, but has pulled his pants down and is spanking his bare butt. They had been laughing, but everyone freezes the moment the light turns on.)

Smaller Student: “Let’s go.”

(I try to start teaching like nothing had happened. Later, I ask an older Japanese teacher about what I should do.)

Older Teacher: “Were they having fun?”

Me: “Yes…”

Older Teacher: “Oh. Okay, then.”

(The older teacher was not phased, or bothered by the incident, as if it were a normal occurrence. I guess that the moral of the story is that consent is more important than propriety, although I still refused to go anywhere near that spot for the rest of the day!)

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