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Topic: length of school year
Replies: 2   Last Post: Jun 26, 1995 8:28 AM

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Tad Watanabe

Posts: 442
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: length of school year
Posted: Jun 24, 1995 11:30 AM
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Here is what I know about Japanese teachers (primarily at Elementary
Level). They may not have "lunch duty" in the same sense since students
eat lunch in their own classrooms. Kids carry foods from the kitchen and
they usually take turn in serving and cleaning up. Anyway, the classroom
teacher usually eats in the classroom. So, in a sense, they have lunch
duty everyday.

They don't have school yard duty, probably because they don't have to
worry about law suits if kids get hurt, at least not as much as school
officials worry about them here. On the other hand, I notice in the US
teachers take kids out to the recess at different time. One thing
Stevenson and Stigler talked about in their book was the way Japanese
school days are scheduled. Even at elementary level, they have 40-50
minutes period followed by 10 minutes break. They usually have 4 periods
in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. Often times, the break between
2nd and 3rd periods are longer. Kids go outside and play on their own
during those break time - without teachers supervising the playground. A
couple of years ago, I was observing a science lesson in a Japanese
elementary school. They were studying different types of soil, so the
teacher sent kids outside to collect different samples. The kids went
all over the school, and of course the teacher can't stay with all of
them all the time. I can't imagine this being done in the US.

At middle and high school level, many teachers do become sponsors of
different after-school clubs. In Japan, some activities that are regular
parts of the classes here are completely extra-curricular. For example,
I was in a band, and we practiced before and after school. We often
practiced after school until about 6 or later. Of course, when a club is
doing something, the teacher must stay on campus.

The Japanese teachers may not have to participate in different
fund-raising type activities as much. But, sometimes if the clubs they
are sponsoring some big trip, they do participate in such activities.
More often than not, though, those activities seem to be led and
coordinated by parents.

Well, my point is that Japanese teachers don't have it completely made as
some here may expect. They are definietly more highly regarded from the
rest of the society than the teachers in the US. That's a big difference.

As far as paying dues themselves, I have no idea what other professions
do. But, is it such a big deal? I pay my own memberships to several
groups that *I* am interested in being part of. I don't know why my
employer should pay those membership fees. Maybe it is different for
college level people???

Tad Watanabe
Towson State University
Towson, Maryland

> I have read some of this material by Stevenson and Stigler. I notices that
> their teachers (in Japan) do not seem to have lunch duty, schoolyard duty,
> clubs, fish fries, candy sales, study hall, hall duty, and all the other
> demeaning jobs assigned to teachers in this country. What other professionals
> have to do jobs totally unrelated to their training? What other professionals
> have to pay their own dues for memberships in professional organizations,
> pay for subscriptions to professional publications, buy their own materials
> and manipulatives?
> Eileen Schoaff
> Buffalo State College

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