Now is the season of farewell parties and making speeches. For the past year I have been teaching at two schools. At one school, my "base" school, people are very nice to me and treat me with respect. That is, until, they decided to schedule my farewell party on a day I told them I couldn't come. The other school, however, I refer to amongst my friends as "the evil place." I can't quite put my finger on it, but something about that school causes your soul to die bit by bit, until there's nothing left. I have a particular dislike of the place because of how I'm treated there. When it's convenient for them (i.e. when they need someone to teach 5-7 classes in a row) I'm a real teacher; when it's inconvenient for them I'm suddenly not their teacher and not their problem. They don't, for example, inform me of schedule changes or of the content for the lessons I'm going to teach. The final straw came last week, on a day when I was teaching 6 junior high school classes. A teacher informed the students that I was leaving soon. One of the students asked if the students could have a party for me, to which the teacher replied "No, because she's not a junior high school teacher."
Ironically, the party for this school was planned for a day when I could attend. All in attendance were English teachers, so I decided to give my speech in English as it would allow me to express my true feelings. Japan is a country known for subtlety, and I decided that I wanted my speech to be a subtle but truthful representation of my feelings. If you're a native English speaker, it has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, but if you're not, it has all the right phrases to make it sound like a nice speech.
Without further ado, the speech as I delivered it the other night:
Good evening everyone.
Some of you may not actually know who I am. My name is Matcha Monkey, and I have been teaching at XXX Junior and Senior High School two days a week for almost a year now. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to get to know many of you as well as I would have liked to, as I usually had 5 classes or more a day, lots of papers to grade and planning to do for my work at my base school. Unfortunately that left us with few opportunities to interact and I'm very sorry we did not have the chance to talk more often.
I really enjoyed working with the students at XXX. They were always enthusiastic, kind, and treated me with respect. It's a shame I can't have a proper farewell party with them as well, as they greatly influenced my time at XXX. I will definitely miss the students.
Next year, I will be teaching university students in France. I'm sure that the skills of perserverance and independence I learned thanks to the teachers at XXX will serve me well there as well.
There are no words that can adequately express how I feel about my time with you.
Given that many of the teachers told me what a nice speech I made, I assume they didn't pick up on some of the finer nuances of the language I used. It doesn't matter to me though; I feel like I got a load off my chest.