Origin of the Sneezies

I forgot to blog about this with all the flu induced phlegmtasticness going on, sorry.

Two weeks ago, well actually like ten days ago, there was a PTA meeting at Me First’s school. For some reason that day, the classes were combined and the other teacher did ALL of the talking. Our class teacher, Y Sensei, just sat there, looking kind of pale.

The other third grade teacher is kind of….how can I put this nicely….dominant and overbearing. That may not have been exactly nice, but I have heard with my own ears this woman screaming at her class and calling them stupid. She calls the other class teacher by his first name. This is such a no-no in Japan, even if the other teacher does happen to be just out of college and gets mistaken for the local jr high school boys in the summer because his school biz black pants and short sleeves look a lot like their summer uniform. So her running the show like a bossy pants was not all that surprising.

You know me, I’m an underdog fan. I’m not a trained public school teacher, but I remember what it was like having my own preschool classes the first year. I imagine it must be at least a hundred times harder for him, having to deal with the school side of it and the parent side. In my limited, experience, the teaching itself is the easiest part of the job! I think Y Sensei got off to a bit of a rough start, what with announcing to the moms at the first parents’ meeting that this was the first one he had ever been to in his life. Didn’t exactly inspire confidence, if you know what I mean. He’s come a long way, though, and I won’t hear anything bad about him.

But then….
on the way home, I overheard two of the mothers in front of me saying that Y Sensei wasn’t looking so good; let’s hope it doesn’t spread it to the children. I asked them what they were talking about, and they said Y Sensei had come in late the day before with a 40C fever. He’d been to the doctor in the morning, had a flu test that came back negative, then gamaned the rest of the week at school.

Insert major eye roll

I won’t even begin to get into how the lack of dedicated sick days and the imagined burden on coworkers lead to this kind of behavior being a problem in Japan. I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves!

Friday: 2 students absent with flu
Monday: 3 students absent with flu
Wed: 5 students absent
the next Monday: 8 students absent
Tuesday-Thursday: 7 students absent (please note these are now all new cases.)
Friday: 8 students absent

And a phone call last night from a classmate whose son developed a high fever after school. So let’s see….9 kids sick on Friday alone, plus 5 from the week before, plus 2 from the week before that= 16 children out of a class of 24.

How many of these kids have babies or elderly relatives living with them? How many have underlying conditions, or live with people with underlying conditions?

When you are sick, STAY HOME. When people who work under you are sick, LET them stay home.

Y Sensei, I’m sure, will be having a hard time trying to get 2/3 of his class up to speed on their studies. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt and hope he was influenced by bad advice or lack of knowledge regarding flu tests (which aren’t 100% accurate and have poor accuracy if you have had a fever for less than 24 hours,) and of course it is possible that the origin of this is not the sick teacher who was all up in their faces for three days with a high fever, but that feels like a stretch.

The other moms will tear him apart, poor lad.

But he won’t make the same mistake again.


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