Part 4. Where Did All the Children Go, Nunu?
We have been slowly exploring how Nunu Pratama could have lost 35% of classes within three months between March and May 2012. So far we have touched on a few reasons for this dismal performance: Nunu lied to the teachers he had a CELTA and was caught out; Immigration conducted a raid, scaring off some of the teachers; Nunu was caught out lying about the reasons Lipi and us had left to students, which undermined his credibility with teachers and students; he promised two expat teachers that Luke Preece had lured there that he could get them a visa- making him complicit in a Preece porky pie. But this was really just a start. The one I would like to report on tonight is his bizarre confession that he was lazy and didn’t like to do any work.
When I was managing Nunu he took off nine sick days within his first three months in the job, quickly exhausting his annual entitlements and more. He had a near constant case of the sniffles and would usually answer the common question, ‘how are you’ by an explanation of which cold and flu symptoms he was suffering from that day. I am not a medical practitioner but I certainly knew that his sniffles made him unready for work more than anyone else I have ever known. In April after two more expats had left angrily, Nunu took seven straight work days off claiming that the stresses of being a TBI manager were much worse than he had imagined. By my calculations that would have taken him to 16 sick days within his first 4 months with the company.
Nunu’s chronic absenteeism at the time of staff resignations, immigration raids and plummeting student numbers did not create a good impression with the remaining teachers. Worse still, when Nunu took seven straight days off work for stress, he didn’t even make a teaching schedule or organise for anyone else to make one either. The teachers were left guessing what classes to teach based on the previous week’s schedule and the staff didn’t even update the folders, seeing Nunu’s absence as an opportunity to do nothing. I heard from one casual teacher that they were rung up and asked on a couple of occasions why they weren’t at school yet when Nunu hadn’t even put them on the schedule. It became common for students to remain sitting in a classroom without a teacher. The situation within the school was described to me as chaotic by more than one casual teacher and a couple of them declared themselves no longer willing to work there in any capacity. Perceiving the chaos, parents pulled their children out in droves and we increasingly heard how empty the school was by April.
During April Nunu reappeared at some point and in a candid moment confessed in the staffroom that he was ‘a lazy person’ and this whole manager role was more stressful and demanding than he had expected. He only put himself down for six hours of teaching a week, half of what I had done, and refused to teach any classes within the school. He would teach six hours a week at Pertamina, a contract I had won the year before, and sometimes not even turn up at school at all on the days when he had In-house classes. With no managerial supervision to speak of, teachers were left to their own devices, and while they tried their best, there wasn’t anything they could when classes didn’t even have a teacher scheduled. There was a leadership vacuum and student numbers dropped rapidly. In the next instalment, we will see just how poorly Ashley and Luke’s preferred manager has done on his KPIs.