For most teachers, their job is more than an economic exchange of time for money — it is a vocation. Concern for students' educational development is genuine, as is a deep belief in the value and importance of education, and a regard for the institution's reputation and welfare.

It is, however, difficult to maintain such a noble attitude when the goodwill seems to be flowing in only one direction. Other than a small minority of tenured professors, most university language teachers are employed on fixed-term temporary contracts and are treated as little more than disposable commodities: Like a raw material to a factory, ship them in, use them up and throw them out.

In today's job market, with the supply-demand ratio heavily favoring employers, universities do not have to look very hard to find replacements. This perpetual cycle of replacing temporary workers is not only ethically dubious but is also damaging to the institutions themselves — and society as a whole. A review of recruitment policies, as well as Japanese temporary-contract labor laws, is long overdue.