Mental Health Days

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by YoungTeacherGuy, May 26, 2016.

  1. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Just curious: how many mental health days (if any) do you take per year?

    We have had evening events every day this week (I've been working from 7am-7pm). I woke up this morning and decided to use a sick day. It has been nice to relax and not do anything at all. My body was telling me that I was on overload!
     
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  3. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I haven't taken a "mental health day" yet, since I personally find writing sub plans/having a sub more overwhelming than it's worth. I also have just one day left with each of my classes before finals so I want to be here. I was on campus until 6pm Tuesday, 9pm last night, and will be here until at least 8:30 tonight due to senior project presentations and awards -- I am going to collapse this weekend!
     
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  4. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I haven't taken any personal or sick days so far in my two years (plus maternity leave, where I didn't technically get anything). If I did, I'd use the personal days for mental health days, as there are plenty of vacation times and we're given the three personal days a year. For me, personally, it would simply not be worth the time I would spend writing sub plans, then regrouping on the day after the sub. Again, this is all about me personally, and I'm sure in the next couple years, I'll be more comfortable taking days away. Plus, I'm sure my wife and I will eventually have a kid, which will naturally necessitate taking some more days away ;)
     
  5. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I've done generally 2-3 a year.
     
  6. TeacherNY

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    I need them here and there but maybe 1-2 a year. If I need to make a Dr. appt. I try to make it early in the morning so I have the rest of the day to myself and relax. My school is year round so it's important that I don't feel like I'm getting burnt out.
     
  7. Peregrin5

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    I took my first mental health day ever a week ago. I always felt too guilty to take an absence when I didn't have a real illness. But I am so glad I did. I was freaking out because of my National Board submission, so I needed a day to de-frazzle a bit from lack of sleep and also an extra day to work on it.

    I also never take days off for vacations, but I'm going to be changing that next year as well. (We're going to Oktoberfest in Munich).

    Out of my four years of teaching, I now have over a month of accumulated sick days, so I would be technically within my rights to take an entire month off. LOL. I probably won't do that though, even though I don't get reimbursed for them if I leave the district.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I usually take 2 or 3.
     
  9. ABC123

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    Whether I was a Teacher, Director or (now) a Para, I take the personal days that are given to me each year as my ''mental'' health days....my ME days:D

    If we don't use them, we lose them in my district, so I use them when I think I need a day off. I have been here for 3 years and have over a month worth of sick time accumulated, I have to be REALLLLLY sick to take a sick day, but personal time, yesss I have always used them!
     
  10. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Maybe I will make this a goal for myself for next year! I was just looking at the calendar and there is a LONG stretch of calendar between President's Day and Memorial Day...could be a good time to plan for. If I start planning now, I should be OK ;)
     
  11. waterfall

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    I usually take 2-3 days per year. I never really get sick (knock on wood) but have to be out several times a year for meetings or PD. Once I've written my basic sub plans, I find them fairly easy to update for a different day and it doesn't really take me all that long to prepare fore a sub.
     
  12. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I usually end up taking 1 per year. My principal has always said that sick days are for when we are not well enough to teach. If I am burning out, I am not well enough to teach.
     
  13. TeacherNY

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    Our personal days do not roll over either so it's use it or lose it. Why would anyone feel guilty about using them?
     
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  14. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I don't feel guilty, just too overwhelmed. I used to work at an impoverished private school where we were told there was no money for subs. If I called out, everyone else had to pitch in to cover my classes. I only ever called out in the direst of emergencies at that school.

    In my current school, I would take more mental health days if I just didn't stress over sub plans so much! My content area (world language) is especially hard to write good sub plans for.
     
  15. heatherberm

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    I've taken 2 days this year that were just for me to relax and regroup. My grade level administrator is pretty supportive of us doing this occasionally as long we leave good, thorough plans and are in contact with our teammates both of which I would do anyway. I definitely don't abuse the privilege but everyone once in a while it's much needed.
     
  16. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    It's rare for me. That being said, I have the ability to take my lunch break in my bathtub, so I can sneak in mental health minutes.
     
  17. mckbearcat48

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    Obviously, my job as a sub is to make sure these days go smoothly for you. As much as I hate doing it, I try to make sure the kids are taken care of any way I can. It is not their fault (or yours as a real teacher) that I am not one yet.

    Good luck to all y'all.
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I havent been out sick for any reason for at least the past 3 years.
     
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  19. Missy

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    Our contract stipulates what personal days can be used for. Misuse of sick leave is a fireable offense. Exhaustion can be sickness, but I agree with a previous poster that sub plans make it difficult, but not every position in education requires sub plans.
    I used one personal day this year to go see my daughter be admitted to the the state bar, and no sick days. First time in many years I didn't get strep throat!
     
  20. whizkid

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    I strategically plan out my mental health days. I try to work them in with scheduled school breaks. I have 4 1/2 days already planned.
     
  21. Aces

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    I strategically take the Friday and possibly Thursday before a break... We can only use sick time for being sick, but personal days can be used for anything as long as you provide advanced warning and have a sub plan ready. And realistically if I take every Thursday and Friday off before breaks I still have plenty of personal days left over for the odd doctors appointment or whatever. And then I plan those for either a Monday or a Friday...
     
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  22. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I haven’t taken any. The closest I’ve gotten was taking a personal day during my DH’s spring break once and taking a personal day to Christmas shopping with my BFF once.

    I’m on district petit jury this year, so I am out one day a month for that.

    I find making sub plans a PITA. I’d rather go to work.

    Usually I only miss for serious illness. That’s not even that common. Last year I missed a week when my mom had cancer surgery, and I was out once with her for chemo.
     
  23. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I don’t take any personal (mental health) days ever, nor do I take any sick days off. I always gift mine to my colleagues — who actually use them — as you can’t cash them out at my private school. You can save them up, but there is no point for me to collect them since I never plan or want to use any of them.

    To me, my numerous vacations are my personal days and they’re good enough (I get like 3 months in total).

    Each year, we are given two personal days and six sick days. If I got zero for each, it wouldn’t bother me any.
     
  24. whizkid

    whizkid Cohort

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    Great strategy!
    [​IMG]
     
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  25. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Technically, couldn’t you use one of your sick days for a doctor’s appointment? All you would have to say is that you were not feeling well and show your admin your doctor’s note upon your return.
     
  26. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    It works out nicely to have three day weekends. And I usually wait until further in the school year ago that my students are trained. They know that even if I'm out on a Monday, their homework and quiz from last week are still due on Monday.
     
  27. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Meh I could but most of my doctors appointments are related to my leg and I honestly don't usually feel like jumping through the hoops xD
     
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  28. TrademarkTer

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    I thought you were better than that with your money ;) If you can get paid the same amount of money to work for 178 days as you can to work for 180 days, why wouldn't you take those personal days you are entitled to? I was more cautious about using them as a non-tenured teacher, but after getting tenured, I'm use the days I am entitled to. I always plan to take them on days when there is not much going on (i.e. a quiz day or day where a lot of my students will be out on a trip or something) so as not to have to leave behind busy work.

    We aren't allowed to take personal days the Friday before or Monday after winter or spring break. (And possibly Thanksgiving, not sure?) The district fears too many people would take advantage of that, and there'd be too many teachers out.
     
  29. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Mine does limit the amount that can do it... Good news is I've already got mine in ;). They'll only let a handful of people do it, heh.
     
  30. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    How exactly do you know you will never use any sick days? For many years I never used any sick days. Then I had serious complications from gall bladder surgery followed by an allergic reaction that shut down my kidneys. I missed over 40 days that year. I was not expecting to be hospitalized four times in a semester. I save sick days because (a) I do get paid for them when I retire and (b) I might need them one day.
     
  31. RaiderFan87

    RaiderFan87 Rookie

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    My 3 personal days don't roll over from year-to-year. I use 'em because I've earned 'em.

    You're definitely an anomaly as far as never getting sick. Consider yourself lucky, though, as many (most?) of us have gone through unexpected health events. Chances are that you, too, will one day use one or several days worth of sick time.
     
  32. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I've always been told doctor's stuff, even if you aren't sick or afflicted, still count as sick days.
     
  33. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Eh for mine, they like to try and say that it's "voluntary" medical use, rather than "required". Which I could try to explain to them that well my leg hurts and it's time for a new prosthetic because it's not fitting correctly... Which leads to a conversation about how can a prosthetic leg no longer fit correctly. And while I could take the time to explain all of that to them and all, personally I just don't because really it's none of their business in my opinion. So I'd rather use a no explanation needed personal day as opposed to a sick day.
     
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  34. John Lee

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    I've usually taken 2 a year, same days only because it is a getaway tradition. I'm happy to say I've never really felt the need for taking a mental health day. Don't get me wrong, by March I'm worn to the bone and ready for summer.
     
  35. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I've never taken a mental health day; like Ima, I hate being out of the classroom. I did take one day to allow for travel cross country for a sibling's college graduation, and one so I could drive a few hours to a mentor teacher's (who is hugely a part of who I am as a teacher) services. We're paid out for any we have over 5 (we get 3 per year), so I just keep a full swath of 5 each year, and get paid out for 2 or 3 of them.

    I haven't taken any sick days, but prefer to play it safe: one can't always predict what will happen in the future, and I want to be covered in case, without burdening others unnecessarily.

    Jumping through hoops with leg issues is probably not the best idea, anyways. ;)
     
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  36. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Through some stroke of genetic luck, I hardly ever get sick. In fact, I’ve been sick maybe two times in the last 8-10 years. I’m young (26) and am in excellent health. Until such time that I am not, I will take absolutely zero personal or sick days.

    I don’t ever want to take a day off when I’m on contract. I don’t feel comfortable doing so. When I’m supposed to be working, I should be working with virtually zero exception, regardless if I was invited to a family function or not.

    At my school, I’ve taken on a lot of duties (which I enjoy). For example, I tutor students every lunch period and dozens and dozens of students come to each session for help for a variety of math and science courses; I am one of the two people in charge of Robotics Club, Science Club, and Mu Alpha Theta; and I am also a class advisor, so I’m pretty busy most days. Not to mention, I am the only person who can teach my Calc 3 class (based on what my fellow math colleagues tell me) and I teach multiple AP classes (two classes of AP Stats and one class of AP Calc BC) in addition to hosting SAT Math prep sessions after school twice a week. Plus, I am the go-to sub for the science department when they have need of one as I have an extensive science background. As you can see, it would be highly disruptive if I were to take a day off.

    Plus, I will be taking on the AP Computer Science A class next year as my colleague who has taught it for the last 19 years is retiring. I’ll be busy preparing for that this summer and teaching it next year on top of everything else.

    Finally, it would be incredibly difficult to find a replacement and so I feel it would be irresponsible of me to do so when so many people are depending on me for my help and services. It would negatively affect many student’s and staff member’s day(s) if I were to take a leave of absence. The only way I can see myself taking one is if I truly had an emergency, like my life was in imminent danger and I needed immediate medical attention. Otherwise, I’ll be at my school until said duties are performed and contracted hours for the day are over.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
  37. TrademarkTer

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    I think they would survive if you took a day off ;) If the world is gonna crash with you outside of that classroom, I guess you can kiss your dreams of being an administrator good bye. Who will replace you????? After all, you won't be able to do all that other stuff once you're an administrator.
     
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  38. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I don’t get to cash them out at my school. I can only collect them. For instance, a much older colleague of mine (who is 54 and has never taken a day off in her entire teaching career of 30 years) has the most saved personal and sick days of any staff member. Yet, she never uses them and I admire her for that. Such dedication on her part and I intend to follow in her footsteps. I say this because my school invests a lot in us teachers and so I have no problem giving back to it in kind.

    And should I ever be prevented from working like you were for health reasons or what have you, I have significant savings ($40,000+) to bide my time. So, assuming I have health problems like you years down the line, I should have multiple hundreds of thousands in the bank (based on my current saving trends) to weather the storm, so to speak. That, along with health insurance I’ve never used, should be enough to take care of me for at least a few years minimally.

    Personally, I don’t see the need for sick and personal days (for me not other people) as I am of sound mind and am a workaholic. I like working and doing things that are productive and don’t mind being “worked to the bone” so long as I’m paid handsomely for it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
  39. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    At my school, some of the VP’s teach a class or two and advise some events outside of their administrative work. I plan to do the same.

    Specifically, I plan to teach Calc 3 and AP Computer Science A and advise Robotics Club and Science Club. It is doable and it would be less work that I’m doing currently.
     
  40. TrademarkTer

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    According to your description, you do a lot more than teach a class or two and advise some events. It's so detrimental for you to be out of the classroom for a day, God forbid they move your day to primarily administrative work ;)
     
  41. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    True, I would have to give up some things, but I’ll manage. I always seem to find extra time for things no matter what job is heaped on top of my already large workload. I’m that dedicated to my students and school and care deeply for both.
     

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