Japan: Homeroom teachers
Teachers are a crucial feature of the success of the Japanese education system. When the Meiji Restoration began and the state modernised its education system, most of the teachers were members of Japan’s upper classes; some were even Samurai. In the Confucian tradition, great honour accrued to teachers. Teachers in Japan are, by law, among the better paid of Japan’s civil servants, but they work long hours, especially because in addition to the time they spend on preparing classes and teaching, they are expected to visit their students’ homes regularly and be in continuous contact with their students’ families.
In Japan’s education system, homeroom teachers follow students as they progress through grades and are involved in their students’ lives outside of school. They are accountable to parents in a unique way: for example, if a student violates the law, the law enforcement authorities call that student’s homeroom teacher, and all faculty members apologise for the student’s behaviour.