I am sure my blood pressure is absolutely through the roof right now. Dealing with dumb people is sooooo stressful!!! I woke up with a bad feeling about today. The 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month are the bane of my existence at the moment. I teach a class of 2 older ladies at the dance studio on those 2 days, and I teach them at a financial loss. That alone makes me hate the class, regardless of how I feel about the students.
I’m sure I’ve blogged about the dance studio before, and how much I hate teaching there, and how stupid the owners of the studio are. Anyway, without going into lots of history, they have been progressively pissing me off more and more every week that I teach there. I’ve been meaning to blog about this since I came back from the U.S., and I wish I had because it might have saved my sanity bit by bit instead of slowly driving me crazy. And this post is going to be a little bit crazy and all over the place because of it, and because I am so fuming angry right now.
Anyway, while I was in the U.S. for a month, I had one of my students from the other class that I teach at a community center type place, MY class, teach the studio lesson on Monday nights for me. There was nothing that could be done about the Wednesday afternoon class because the student who was teaching for me works during the day.
When I got back from the States, my tummy had started to show, and the owners asked me what I planned on doing. I had planned on quitting the studio lessons way before I got pregnant. They have a big hotel party every year at the end of December, so I figured I would teach until then and then quit. When I got pregnant, I figured that was an even better excuse to quit, and the timing was perfect. So way back in October, when asked what I planned on doing I said “I’ll teach until the party in December, then I’m going on maternity leave.” Which was greeted with a “What?!” from the asshole owner. He made is own wife teach until the day she gave birth, resulting in her being unable to have anymore children, and was very surprised that I only planned on teaching until I was 35 weeks pregnant (asshole!). So I said, “Well, not really maternity leave. I’m going to quit.” And he seemed almost relieved. I said that I didn’t know when I would be able to go back to teaching after giving birth and it would be unfair of me to ask them to wait until I was ready. Plus who knows how easy or difficult the new baby will be, and my husband is the one who will have to watch 2 young children while I am out, and that’s a lot to ask (appealing to his Japanese old man-ness), and I don’t want the pressure of having to return by such-and-such a date just after giving birth.
The asshole seemed completely understanding, and I got the impression that he felt that was the best thing too. He did ask if I knew anyone who could teach the class after me though. So I told him that I didn’t. which I don’t. He asked about my student who stood in for me while I was in America and I said I would ask her, but I didn’t think she would agree to it. I know she absolutely hates the owners too. They gave her a hard time when she filled in for me once before I went to America, and didn’t really want to teach while I was gone, but did it as a favor to me, knowing that it was just for one month and then she would be rid of them forever. So I asked her because I said I would, and of course she said no. I asked all the other students in my community center class too, and they all said no. Honestly, none of them are ready to teach their own classes yet, but I figured they would all say no anyway.
So the weeks have passed and they have continued to ask me week after week if I know anyone, and can I ask the student who filled in for me, and I continue to answer that I don’t, and my student continues to say no. There are a few other people who teach belly dance here in Nagano, but I think only 1 actually lives in Nagano. The others commute from Tokyo and would want travel money. The 1 other woman who lives here turned them down. I don’t know any of these people personally. I just know that other belly dance classes exist. Besides, I don’t feel like it’s my responsibility to find them a new teacher. I didn’t ask to teach there. They asked me if I would teach there because they wanted to start a belly dance class. I gave them 2 months + notice that I was quitting, and I told them I was pregnant pretty much as soon as I found out. I didn’t even wait until the 2nd trimester. I think I was only about 6 weeks, which means they have known since mid-June, nearly 6 months now, that I was going to need some time off at least for a few months. Personally, I feel that even if I was going to continue teaching there after I gave birth, it would be there responsibility to find a teacher to fill in for me while I was on maternity leave. Am I wrong here? Is this not the way the world works?
I told them when I first started working there that sometime around September I would be going to America for 1 month. If they had presented me with a contract when I first started, which they didn’t, I would have had that 1 month’s vacation time put into the contract. The fact that I found a teacher to teach while I was gone, was a favor to them in my opinion. Probably the right thing to do, but from a business standpoint, not really my responsibility since I told them right from the start I would be gone that month. Am I wrong?
Last Monday when I went the owner started at me again about not being able to find a teacher for after I quit, and I would I not reconsider coming back after giving birth. Again I said no. He asked what I was going to do about my community center class. That super pissed me off. It’s none of their fucking business. That class is my class, nothing to do with them at all. But stupid fucking me, I answered honestly. I would go back to it when I was ready, whenever that may be, and the students are prepared to wait for me. Until then, they’ll probably meet during the regular lesson time and do their own thing, but that they all understood the situation and were not necessarily expecting me to come back by some particular date. So the owner’s logic was “If you can go back to that class, you can come back to this class.” And I suppose from his point of view, that makes sense, but the money is shit, the stress-level is high. Totally not worth it for me. I mentioned that I teach the Wednesday class at a financial loss because I have to pay for Sara’s daycare (before she was in full-time) and parking, and I told the owner that before I left for the States, and that I wanted to stop that class. Teaching at a loss just makes no sense to me. He said that these things take time, and we just started (it had already been 6 months at the time) and they were advertising in the newspaper, etc. and students could start to come in anytime, blah, blah, blah. That was the point where I decided to leave it until I came back from the States and then just quit. Besides that, the owner’s wife also sometimes attends the Wednesday lesson, but doesn’t pay. I can understand her not paying the studio the monthly fee, but I get a percentage of what each student pays, rather than a flat fee for each lesson. That was per their request. Plus they wanted to pay me a super low percentage, and I refused their first offer. It still takes 3 students at the studio to make up the money I get paid from 1 of my students at the community center. Normally, you get paid a flat fee, but I agreed to a percentage as a favor to them, and it was promised that the situation was just until the lesson got on its feet and a good number of students gathered. Anyway, I am still giving her direction and treating her like I do any other student when she attends the class, and I get nothing for it. Well, recently I have just been ignoring her when she comes to class, because fuck that! If I’m not getting paid to teach her, why should I bother? AND, when students come for a trial lesson, the studio charges them 1500 yen, but they pay me nothing for trial lesson students. Anyway, there are plenty of reasons that I don’t want to teach there.
Oh! and they have some famous ballroom dancing pair coming from Germany for their party on the 23rd. Last week the owner asked if I would interpret for them when they needed it since they don’t speak English or German and the couple probably doesn’t speak Japanese. Um, don’t you organize an escort/interpreter when you organize guests coming from another country whose language you don’t speak? Isn’t that the professional thing to do? And of course, they were expecting me to do it for free. If they were my friends, I would do it, but they aren’t, and considering I have actually been trained to be a professional interpreter, when someone asks me to interpret in that kind of capacity, I expect to be paid. Sorry, but that’s the way it is. So I told them no. If they were really in a pinch, they could maybe call me and I could interpret over the phone for that particular instance if I was available to answer my phone, but I have a family and cannot drop everything at their beck and call when they are stuck. So then the asshole starts asking me, “How do you say ‘Shall we go to lunch?’ in English?” I nearly burst a vein in my forehead I was so angry. Was he really expecting me to give him a free English lesson now?!
Good grief this is getting long! Good for you if you’re still reading my drama! Recently some new students have just started. Two started about a month ago, and 1 started this past week. My stomach is quite obviously showing. These girls can see with their own eyes that I am pregnant, so they asked what was going to happen when I gave birth, considering the school charges a 5000 yen membership fee in addition to the monthly class fee. Apparently the owners told them they were looking for a new teacher and that the class would continue. Monday night after the lesson, the owners asked the students to stay behind so they could get their proper phone numbers. I knew they were going to talk to them about me quitting, but one of the girls has my cell phone mail address, so I figured I could get the scoop later.
According to her they told them I was quitting and that they couldn’t find another belly dance teacher so they were going to teach a different dance during that time slot so please continue with them, but fuck, they wanted to learn belly dance, which is why they joined and they all left really angry, and the new girls demanded their membership fee back. I wasn’t too worried. I apologized to the girl who texted me for causing trouble, being all Japanese-y and everything, and she texted back saying no one was mad at me, and I wasn’t causing any trouble. No problem. Most of the people planned on coming to my community center class when I got back from maternity leave anyway. Not to worry. Cool.
Then today, those fucking asshole fuckwits! I haven’t been so angry in a long, long time!! They start out by asking me if I have 10 minutes to talk after class. If it’s just 10 minutes, then yes. They had apparently asked the two ladies in the class to stay behind for the talk as well. One of them is their good friend. The other is a friend of hers. I don’t know if they wanted them to stay for moral support, hoping to outnumber and manipulate me or what, but I thought it was totally inappropriate to ask them to be there for that conversation.
So the owner’s wife starts out by saying that thus far she hasn’t spoken to me directly about anything, and let her husband be the mouthpiece, but that she is very disappointed in me. That although the students are all friendly and smiley with me, behind my back they have concerns. The new students have all expressed concern regarding what will happen to the lessons since I am very obviously pregnant, and now that they have told them there is no one to take over for me, they are upset and want their (membership fee) money back. Well, duh! Who would pay 5000 yen if they thought the lessons were only going to last for a month or two after they joined? And who told them that the lessons would continue while I was on maternity leave and after anyway? The students can SEE with their own eyes I am pregnant, and when they asked, the fuckwit owners told them they would find a new teacher. Then when the owners tell them they haven’t found a new belly dance teacher, but instead someone who will teach them the tango, they are upset and want their money back. Makes sense to me, though I still cannot see how this is my fault.
The wife gives me this bullshit about how I am behaving selfishly and irresponsibly. That the students all think I am selfish and irresponsible. That before they started the class, I should have told them I was thinking about getting pregnant and then they wouldn’t have ever started the class, and I should be appreciative of them that they have gone to such lengths and spent so much money on gathering students and paying me so well. And I should be remorseful for my behavior, and that when I first told her I was pregnant, she was being kind and said congratulations, but really she was furious with me for getting pregnant and didn’t want to say anything negative at the time out of concern for me and the baby’s health. What the fuck?!
Did I have any obligation whatsoever to tell them that I was trying to get pregnant? The woman kept saying that as a woman I should have trusted her and told her and that getting pregnant was irresponsible and when she got pregnant she taught until the day she gave birth and while she was recovering she found a teacher to cover for her. Um yeah, because it’s your own fucking studio and your bread and butter and your asshole husband made you work until your baby fell out. I’m pretty sure that in a regular business situation it’s sexual harassment to ask a woman if she plans on getting pregnant when applying for a job, and that if a person gives at least 1 months notice, they can quit, and it is not their responsibility to find someone to fill their position. They said they should have drawn up a written contract with me, and the fact that they didn’t was their mistake. What on earth was the contract going to say? That I was their indentured servant for life? I wouldn’t have signed anything that stipulated anything other than the conditions that I quit under anyway, which was giving at least 30 days notice, for whatever the reason.
The asshole owner then asks again what I’m going to do with my community center class, and I once again explain that it is my choice what I do with it, when I go back, etc. It has nothing to do with them. And he says that it does have to do with them and if I can continue the community center, I can continue their class. That he would only understand if I was quitting belly dance altogether. So I said “Fine, I’m quitting everything. Can we be done with this now?”
So THEN the idiot wife asks the students what they think!! The poor students looked mortified! The one woman who is their friend very, very uncomfortably said that she didn’t know what kind of agreement we had between ourselves, but that personally she wishes I wouldn’t quit. Fair enough, but then she asked the other student for her opinion and she said “I don’t understand why I am here for this conversation”. And fair play to her. But the fucking wife kept saying “we just want to know what you think.” How fucking unprofessional! Asking a client to take sides between an employer and an employee? So I stepped in and said I thought it was incredibly unfair to ask them for their opinion when this has nothing to do with them. Perhaps the final result affects them, but how we arrive there is between you and me only. They kept going on about all the advertising they did and all the money they spent, and how they paid me so much money, in front of these two students!! I so wanted to give them a piece of my mind about the whole money situation, but I thought they were behaving so unprofessionally and childlike and I didn’t want to sink to that level in front of students, especially ones who might potentially gang up against me, not that I really thought they would, but still, I was trying my best to maintain some kind of professionalism. Akinori thinks that since they opened the door to the whole money talk in front of the students it was fair game for me to say my piece, but really, these people are so fucking stupid I don’t think it would have mattered what I said. They wouldn’t have gotten it.
And then the absolute WORST! When they went on about how they should have made me sign a contract, the fucking asshole owner says, “especially because you’re a foreigner.” I nearly hit the fucking roof! I told him that being a foreigner had nothing to do with it, and he said “We’ve had this situation with foreign teachers before. Obviously you guys can’t be trusted.” Mother fucking asshole inbred limpdick shithead! I told him it wasn’t a matter of trust. I did nothing dishonest and I hid nothing. I told them I was pregnant as soon as I found out and I told them I was quitting well ahead of time. I don’t see where I gave them any reason not to trust me or behaved inappropriately in anyway. Fuckers! Fuckers! Fuckers!!! I haven’t been so angry in a long, long, long time. ARRRRRGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!! Okay, enough therapy! Time for bed!