I think I should try to blog a lot so I can move the Choco-Chicken entries down and out of everyone’s memory.
Last week I worked another job through Corporate, at another Tax College. This time it was at Nishi-Funabashi, a lot closer to my place than the Wako one last time. My students this time around were of “intermediate” level as opposed to the “advanced” ones at Wako, and there was definitely a noticeable difference in teaching this group. It was still a pretty good time, and luckily the students were all easy going and cool.
Let me explain a little bit more about the National Tax College, at least the way I understand it. So here in Japan, the workers and people who work at city halls, prefectural offices, etc. go to a special training college for one year. I’m pretty sure it’s all they need as far as post-high school education goes, mainly because I had at least one student who was even younger than me, meaning if she had any other college or university experience, it would have had to be only a year or two. I think one of them told me all they needed was the one year too. But yeah, they do this, then periodically they return to a Tax College campus for further training and workshops, including the English ones that I’ve taught, which are to prepare them for dealing with clueless foreigners who come in wondering how to file their taxes.
Teaching these things is always an interesting experience, much different than, for example, teaching at an AEON branch school. The class is 10 students, in a large classroom where everyone has their own desk or table arranged in a horseshoe pattern. I have a desk/podium up in front of the blackboard. Yes, a real use-chalk-that-gets-all-over-you blackboard. They also give me a wet towel to wipe my chalky hands on, and a nice carafe and glass of water in case your throat gets dry while lecturing. Much more of a “teacher” feeling in some ways. It was nice.
At Nishi-Funabashi they also gave me a security badge labeling me as “講師,” (koushi) or “lecturer/professor” which was a nice addition And to go along with the Japanese 先輩/後輩 (senpai/kouhai) senior/junior system, all of the college students who are at the Tax College studying have to greet every current tax officer: in the hallways, on campus, in the cafeteria, etc. These officers back for training are, after all, the senpai of these students. I would either get the standard kouhai to senpai hallway greeting, thanks to my Asian camouflage, or I would get an even better and more humble greeting since they thought I was actually an educator. Either way it was a good ego boost to walk down a long hallway and have dozens of tax officers in training saying konnichiwa to me.