23 Apr 2021, 1:21pm
Admin goals personal


A Personal Update

It’s been a while

It’s been a while since I wrote about anything other than the Fluency Course, which now has its own website so please go there for updates 🙂

I’m doing okay. Certainly can’t complain. The Age of Covid has been pretty stressful but we weathered the storm better than many.

My wife’s school managed to get the same number of new students as the number of students that left/graduated. In addition, 50 of our elementary school students started junior high school and stayed at the school. As our JHS fees are much higher, this was a net increase in revenue for the school.

But the kindy and elementary school first year classes are looking (understandably) bare.

I wasn’t expecting to still be in this situation over a year into the pandemic, but we are so we just need to deal with it and hope that business will be better if things get a bit more resolved.

In the meantime we are spending a lot of time and money on upgrading the school, through lesson planning and materials development (mainly making Google slides for every single class), investing in classrooms and equipment (two large TVs in each classroom, upgraded internet and new routers in every room for the school, more readers for our ER program), and writing new materials (I’m finally getting started on the fluency phonics course I have been planning for over a decade).

On a personal level I have some new health issues (had surgery last month and am learning to walk properly again and trying to get back into fighting shape) and I’ll be transitioning to self-employment from next April! It’s a bit scary but I’m looking forward to it.

Congratulations on the big move to self-employment. Do you think a lot of university folk will do need to adapt to the option of self-employment when being moved on from their universities?

All the best with the rehabilitation. It’s a good time of year to be active, as opposed to winter.

This is more a personal choice for me. Don’t really fancy being employed any more!

But the university sector is likely to continue contracting going forward.

Only the best qualified (PhD, active researcher, good Japanese) are likely to get good jobs going forward.

27 Apr 2021, 3:45pm
by Scott Neylon


“But the university sector is likely to continue contracting going forward.”

It is frightening how many sectors are and the scope of it all. Interesting, but frightening nonetheless.

29 Mar 2022, 9:02am
by Don Carroll


Having reached our university’s mandatory retirement age of 65, I’m leaving my tenured position after 25 years. The game has certainly changed over this span. I was hired (straight into tenured status) with an MA in Linguistics and 10 prior years of university-level EFL experience (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Mexico). Once I settled into the new job, I embarked on a Ph.D. (University of York) which I completed in 2005. Somehow in 25 years I never managed to learn more than survival level Japanese…didn’t really think of it as “part of the job.” My replacement comes in with an almost finished Ph.D. in TESOL, a BA in Japanese, and of course excellent Japanese. This is indeed the way of the future for tenured or tenure-track positions at Japanese universities.

Yes, definitely seeing a preference for Japanese proficiency + PhD in our hiring decisions.

29 Mar 2022, 1:37pm
by Don Carroll


And that’s the order of preferences too…Japanese proficiency first THEN a Ph.D. When I started work in Japan it was with a Gulf expat’s perspective. Almost no one in the Arabia Gulf learned Arabic (where foreigners make up almost 80% of the population). All meetings and university business were handled in English. In Mexico the professors spoke Spanish among ourselves (including me since my wife is Mexican), but I had a strict policy of never using Spanish with students. In contrast, in Japan all university meetings and all university business was conducted in Japanese and there is a strong expectation that any non-Japanese teachers would acquire at least N2 level Japanese. Unfortunately, translation apps such as DeepL weren’t available for most of my time at the university. That certainly would have made my life much easier.


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