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Thread: Breaks/Vacation?

  1. #1

    Default Breaks/Vacation?

    I know... ESID, right? Haha. I'm just curious about how breaks typically pan out at the public schools. I know that Japanese teachers are usually required to be at school even during breaks - how often does this apply to ALTs? Anyone care to share their experiences? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Ghost of Ecru SomePeopleJustSaySnow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    I have to be there, but 'there' does literally mean 'on the school grounds'. If I want to lounge around outside to read a book and smoke, I can. I'm lucky though - my current boss is very understanding, and knows that sometimes I will have days with nothing pressing to do in the holidays. Normally I try to plan for the next term though, to be honest.
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    Member Ode to a Grasshopper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Officially we're public servants, and are required to be at work over holiday periods (barring public holidays). The extent to which that is enforced is largely up to the BoE - some (probably most) will insist on ALTs heading in to their schools/the city office (though as noted they usually don't really care what you actually do there, within reason), others will let them quietly take off early, or just show up and hanko in the right place and then disappear, some make them come in once a week and do the hanko for the whole week, and some will just let them have the whole thing off with maybe a token day/event here and there.

    Just a heads-up: there was a city near me which used to give their ALTs vacations off, but then the ALTs from the next city over started complaining to their BoE about not getting vacations off too, who in turn started complaing to the nice-holiday-giving city about it, so the original city dealt with the problem by requiring their ALTs to come in over vacations as usual.
    So, if you do have a nice city like that, maybe don't announce the fact, and it might be a good idea to make a token visit to some of your schools in the last few days of the break to check if there's anything you need to do for the first week back.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Thanks guys. So what I'm getting is, as a general rule I would expect to get no 'long' break periods. Except maybe Golden Week?

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    Ghost of Ecru SomePeopleJustSaySnow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Basically yes. And even having all of golden week off requires time off.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by SomePeopleJustSaySnow View Post
    Basically yes. And even having all of golden week off requires time off.
    Ahh no way! But isn't Golden Week a bunch of national holidays? I thought they had to give you those.

  7. #7
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Golden week isnt a week. next year you get wednesday 29th april, monday 4th, tuesday 5th and wednesday 6th may off. so if you take 4 days paid holiday you get 12 days off (4/29~5/10) but theres no guarantee your school/boe will be happy with you taking 4 days off in the middle of term.
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Golden week isnt a week. next year you get wednesday 29th april, monday 4th, tuesday 5th and wednesday 6th may off. so if you take 4 days paid holiday you get 12 days off (4/29~5/10) but theres no guarantee your school/boe will be happy with you taking 4 days off in the middle of term.
    Oh I know it's not a full week. So they do give you national holidays, but if you wanted to take an actual week then you'd use vacation days. Got it.

  9. #9
    Senior Moment Antonath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    As Ini said, those days in between are work days, and most schools will have lessons. Taking vacation days when there are lessons on is a big no-no for 95% of ALTs.
    ...because Japan.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Do you guys ever find the time to travel? Or even have visitors (not like hosting them in the actual shoebox apartment obviously haha)? I know my family really wants to visit me, whichever way I end up getting there.

  11. #11
    Senior Moment Antonath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Plenty. There's the whole summer if you save vacation days (which most ALTs do), and at Christmas / New Year, a couple of days of vacation work with other holidays to give you a good couple of weeks. There's also the break between school years in March, though April 1st is "new teacher day", and it's good manners to be there for that. There are plenty of other long weekends as well.
    ...because Japan.

  12. #12
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    You should get anywhere from 9-21 paid days vacation plus national holidays plus any other time off during school holidays (at the discretion of your boe/school) that's enough time to take plenty of trips. It's a job not a working holiday. Go get a entry level job at a bank and tell me how many weeks of international travel a year you get.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    You should get anywhere from 9-21 paid days vacation plus national holidays plus any other time off during school holidays (at the discretion of your boe/school) that's enough time to take plenty of trips. It's a job not a working holiday. Go get a entry level job at a bank and tell me how many weeks of international travel a year you get.
    Haha right. That sounds more than reasonable. Mostly I wouldn't want my family to go all the way out to Japan only for me to be at school the entire time... I gotta say though, at my entry level job in America, I definitely accumulate a good number of vacation days and have been taking them with no problem... 9-21 days is a lot but obviously the work culture is so much different in Japan, so I'd have to take them during 'breaks' or as 'sick days' (which I hear sick days are pretty frowned upon) anyways. I figure it's more productive to go into the process aware of what I could be getting into, though!
    Last edited by weepinbell; November 17th, 2014 at 01:16.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by weepinbell View Post
    Haha right. That sounds more than reasonable. Mostly I wouldn't want my family to go all the way out to Japan only for me to be at school the entire time... I gotta say though, at my entry level job in America, I definitely accumulate a good number of vacation days and have been taking them with no problem... 9-21 days is a lot but obviously the work culture is so much different in Japan, so I'd have to take them during 'breaks' or as 'sick days' (which I hear sick days are pretty frowned upon) anyways. I figure it's more productive to go into the process aware of what I could be getting into, though!
    You get vacation in Spring, Summer and Winter if you want to spend your paid leave guilt-free. Unlike in western (UK?) schools they don't just let you take the time on top of your paid leave, which obviously you'd prefer, but fair enough. Plenty of Japanese teachers will be expected to come in and teach and supervise school clubs in the vacation anyway. While you may take your paid leave at any time, if you take it on days where you have lessons then some other teacher has to cover for you and obviously that's inconvenient for them.

    If you get properly sick with influenza or whatever then you'll get sick leave without trouble from almost all COs so long as you get a doctor's note. If you just take a day off or two and say "I felt poorly" they might well get grumpy about it. I think most ALT contracts have something about taking sick leave for a few days not needing a doctor's note but Japanese people would take paid leave in that situation.

  15. #15
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    It's really not that strange for teachers in any country to only take holidays during breaks.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    As Ini said, those days in between are work days, and most schools will have lessons. Taking vacation days when there are lessons on is a big no-no for 95% of ALTs.
    As long as you clear it LONG in advance (like 1-2 months) with both your school and your BOE, and have a legit reason - like visiting family post-death-in-the-family etc, then you should be in the clear. Taking a random extra Friday/Monday shouldn't cause too much of a stir either (at least in my experience.) Although if you're universally hated by your school/BOE then you're pretty much going to get 'chotto' and/or lectured by your supervisor.

    You get 20 days of nenkyuu a year on JET. Don't be afraid to use them. I didn't use any my first year (during the school terms) aside from 12 hours to go get my driver's license. I used a bunch during summer vacation. I did take a 4-day week of nenkyuu during testing in my second year with no problems either, aside from students begging me for omiyage (they get NOTHING! Mwahahahaha...)

  17. #17

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by webstaa View Post
    As long as you clear it LONG in advance (like 1-2 months) with both your school and your BOE, and have a legit reason - like visiting family post-...)

    Sounds legit to me.
    Last edited by uthinkimlost?; November 17th, 2014 at 15:53.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    If your school is ok with you missing classes for any non-illness/emergency related reason you should not be happy as it means they think your classes are a waste of time.
    mothy 6.1.12
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    It's really not that strange for teachers in any country to only take holidays during breaks.
    In the UK they get school vacations off pretty much. Without taking paid leave. And they get "half-term" holidays which is even more of a joke.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    If your school is ok with you missing classes for any non-illness/emergency related reason you should not be happy as it means they think your classes are a waste of time.
    Or they just ran out of fucks to give about MEXT's "Let's up our English ability v22.349" plan... Hell, my BOE scheduled and English education professor to come from a fairly major university for the same day as SDC. They give zero shits about MEXT crap... which isn't going to be very good in the long run (but I'm out of here in a year or two anyways.)

    Or they realize that you don't control your own schedule, so if you clear it with the teachers and the teachers/kocho doesn't "chotto" it off the agenda, you'll be fine.

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