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The Impenetrable Language of Schools Part 2

2012/07/06

Part 2:  (常勤) Joukin and (非常勤) Hijoukin Teachers

 

If joukin means full-time, then hijoukin means part-time, but perhaps not in the same way that you think of it in English, and once I again I must emphasize the fact that each school has different naming systems so the true meaning of the titles tends to vary.


In general, joukin teachers are not paid hourly.  They are full time employees who have more responsibilities perhaps, but they do not take care of homeroom classes so their work burden (and pay) is a little lower than sen-nin teachers.  Some schools consider this a semi-full time position.  They often are required to stay at school until 5:00pm whether they have classes or not.


Hijoukin teachers are usually paid hourly and often don't have to be physically present at school outside of classroom hours.  Many schools tend to rely heavily on hijoukin teachers, and in some cases schools even have a limit on how many times these teachers can renew their contracts.  I have heard of some situations where they cannot stay at the same school for more than 3 years.  You may be thinking "But wouldn't that make it difficult for them to get promoted to being a sen-nin teacher?"  Well, the answer is a resounding YES. 

 

New teachers fresh out of college always tend to get these hijoukin positions, and it takes many years of experience to land a position as a sen-nin teacher.  The reason it's so difficult to move up quickly is that usually the only time a sen-nin teacher position opens is when someone else quits.  There are a limited number of homerooms, and opportunities to get one of these positions can be few and far between.

 

Sometimes, foreign native English teachers hired directly by the school can be classified as hijoukin teachers.  Your pay is usually directly related to how many classes you teach per week - no more and no less.  If you stay at a school long enough, they might eventually give you the opportunity to become a joukin teacher with more duties and responsibilities, but unless you have a degree in education it's probably unlikely that you'll be assigned to take care of a homeroom by yourself as a sen-nin teacher.  (Needless to say, you'd have to speak Japanese perfectly fluently as well.)

 

Even if you classify hijoukin as "part-time," that doesn't necessarily mean you work less than full-time teachers.  While some hijoukin teachers only teach 5 classes or less per week, others may teach up to or possibly more than 20.  In my experience, most sen-nin and joukin teachers only teach between 12-16 classes a week, so as far as in-class teaching goes you may end up teaching many more hours as a hijoukin teacher.  (But at least you don't have to attend parent-teacher meetings.)

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