Right of Expectation

by Kevin R Burns
(Kanagawa, Japan)

The Right of Expectation basically is the legal right to expect work if you have been given it year after year. Barring a drop in student numbers which would cause you to be laid off, you can reasonably expect to be offered another one year contract. If there is no reason to be laid off, either from outside circumstances, or due to poor work performance, a teacher can reasonably expect to be rehired year after year.




This is one stipulation, the universities are cowering in fear over. This is the reason many are meeting behind closed doors to decide what to do with their teachers.



"In the end, we can't really blame the universities because the government implemented this new law for part time workers. Things may change five years from now but I can't count on that. I'm thinking of looking for full time work, somewhere. Possibly after next school year or so."

-a part-time university English teacher in Japan



Really? Are the universities not culpable in all of this? If not, where are my health benefits that by law I am supposed to be receiving? Where is my insurance? My pension? Where is my equal pay that under Japanese labour standards law, I am supposed to be paid.


How do institutions and companies for that matter, routinely get away with breaking the law?


I`m not being negative here, I am stating a nationwide fact.


No the universities can be blamed for not obeying the law. That said, other than the police, who does obey the law here? My wife is told she will be doing "volunteer" work every weekend by her junior high school.

Breaking the law is not unique to English schools, public junior high school or universities.


I guess the question is:

When are we going to stand up and do something about all of this?


I tend to naively believe at times, that administrations surely will try to do what is best for their staff (teacher`s included). But in fact, I hear about those meetings and the administration is talking not of how they can secure work for people with a family like myself, but of the timing of when they will be fired.

"Maybe we can tell them in year 4, that they will fired in year five?"


At another meeting, a top administrator asked:


"Maybe we can increase student numbers to 50-70 students per class so we don`t need as many teachers?"



They are counting on us to do virtually nothing, and we are obliging, other than some teachers at Waseda, and a few other groups scattered over the archipelago.


I tend to think that administrations are happy when they have good teachers, that are not harrassing their students, are not committing crimes, and on the whole, are loyal, and good, solid teachers. They are like gold in my mind. However, administrations feel their hand is forced by the new law concerning five year limits.


Another idea, is to actually abide by the law, and give part-time teachers what they deserve. Hold off building another stadium, and keep some great teachers.


I don`t imagine many administrators read my website, nor follow my advice however. I wish they did. Good luck if you are a part-time university teacher in this predicament. I feel for you!

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