As is the case more often than not, Japanese company employees feel they cannot leave their company earlier to attend a personal activity. Drinking events and parties with colleagues are always acceptable reasons but individuals have a difficult time to just leave early for their own personal reason.
Today, one of my students who has had a really tough time to reserve and take lessons took the nearly unspeakable step of talking to her boss and getting his “secret agreement” for her to leave early one day each week unless there is some work that is very pressing and requires her to stay on that day. This student had already gone so far as to quit my school twice already due to her difficulty to attend regularly.
Of course this was welcome news. She was the first student I personally added to the school when I took over a year ago, so it was nice to hear from her that she took such a brave step. She really enjoys studying English and has taken lessons with many other students over the past year since she is a “Powerful” student who has chosen the “flexible” method of reserving lessons. It is great to see a student value the lesson this much and makes me feel that what I am doing to try to help my students is very worthwhile indeed!
Al Bartle (Smith’s School of English – Okamoto)