My Best Teaching Is One-on-One


Of course, I team teach and do special lessons, etc.


But my best work in the classroom is after the lesson is over --
going one-on-one,
helping individual students with their assignments.


It's kind of like with computer programs, walking the client through hands-on.
The job isn't really done until the customer is using the program.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

"We Only Contact Applicants Who ...."

I don't like to sell myself. Somehow, I think the work I do is more important than who I am. That doesn't make sense, of course, because the work that I do is who I am, or, at least, is the expression of who I am.

What do Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Donald Trump have in common with Willy Loman? What does success really mean? Why should people sell success or buy it?

Anyway, teaching English in Japan is not a job for people who don't like to sell themselves. Sure, you can (contrary to my earlier understanding) get certified. But then you are stuck with a different job, one which is mostly neither teaching nor English.

(In some senses, it could be called glorified babysitting, but that's too many distractions in one rant.)

If you don't get certified, you end up having to renew your contract every year, because Japanese laws don't allow the company to keep renewing a temporary contract. After three years, they have to take you full time or tell you to move on.

That's not exactly what the law is supposed to say, but that's the effect.

My interpretation is that that law essentially attempts to protect the jobs of the people who do meet the "qualifications" and get hired as full-time, permanent employees.

And I personally think that the correct solution is to kick the illusion of security to the curb and get rid of the permanent employee status. Any company can fold, and, when it does, everyone finds out their job was just temporary.

Anyway, I spent all of last Friday working up an on-line résumé on a job search site called Gaijinpot that specializes in foreigners who want to work in Japan. This morning, I realized I had let the nicely done (if slow) interface lull me into regurgitating my work history, which is not what I wanted the companies I applied to last Friday to see. It does not tell them that I am focused on teaching.

Okay, I'm not focused on teaching. I'm focused on writing a novel, now. And having to look for work is a serious distraction.

(This is the common complaint of artists everywhere, but, again, that's too many distractions for one rant. And the distraction is not actually a bad thing unless I let it be a bad thing. Distractions actually help creativity. Even though they push the finished product further off into the future, they help refine the product.)

I need to make a copy of my résumé for backup and clean it up, refine the focus, sell my accomplishments.

(I have a focused résumé online, uhm, that is, relatively speaking, focused. For me, it's focused. :-/)

Well, I realized something else this morning, something that moved me to rant mode:

All three companies said they would only contact those applicants whose résumés passed their initial screening process.

That means I have no way of knowing that they even got my résumé. For all I know, Gaijinpot's server may have gone temporarily off-line, and that error message I got about the server timing out may really mean that my résumé was never sent.

Without some sort of confirmation that the submitted résumé actually made it to the company I intended to submit it to, I have no way of knowing they even got it. I can only wait for an event I have no reason to believe will actually happen. And I don't know how long I should wait.

This is bad information protocol. A program written this way would die on you every time you turned around.

Well, I can call and bug them about my résumé. All the counseling about job search tells you to follow up, anyway, so I really should follow up:
Me: Did you get it?

HR: We said we'd contact you if we want to interview you.

Me: Oh. Sorry. That's not what I read. I read that I should assume that you really didn't want to see my résumé at all.
Okay, so asking, "Did you get it?" is probably the wrong way to start.

But submitting the résumé on-line to a company that says they won't respond unless they want to respond is probably not the best thing to do, either.

Should have reviewed my résumé before I sent it.

And I should have sent it directly. After calling them first. I should know this, considering the number of training sessions I've been through.

(But I've never actually gotten a job doing it the way the training sessions tell you, which means that the one thing you should never do in a job search is rely on some sort of set procedure. Which means that software and job search are not a good match, after all.)

Maybe I can make sending the wrong copy an excuse to sent a decent copy instead. We'll see.

Job search sites really, really should provide, in their web UI, some sort of feedback button that the HR person can hit to send an e-mail saying, at bare minimum, "Yes, we did get the résumé, and if we don't reply within n days, you should assume you didn't pass the first screening."

A company whose HR department can't provide bare minimum information exchange protocol may not be worth applying to.

Except that that is precisely the sort of company that currently owns the market for foreign English teachers in Japan. Which is one of the reasons I want my novel to find readers -- so I can hope it will find buyers if I finish it.

If I can't hope to pay the rent with my writing, I should focus on teaching, in spite of the non-optimal stuff that I have to put up with in order to do so.

Speaking of my novel, here's the current (second) draft in progress again:

And here's the (roughly) two-thirds-complete first draft:

If you like it, tell your friends about it. Don't worry about whether the publishers will be scared away, if I have to, I'll self-publish. Maybe start with an electronic edition and a link to my paypal account if I can't find something better.

If the IRS hasn't found a way to throttle that, too.

But if I know people are reading it, I will find some way to properly publish it.

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Courtesy is courteous.