Teachers missing work

Discussion in 'General Education' started by kcjo13, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    My radio station plays national news every hour, and earlier this week the lead story was "Teachers are missing more days of work than ever. One national study found that teachers are missing an average of 11 days." First of all, why in the he11 are teachers singled out for a national study? Do people care how many days accountants are out of the office? How about dentists? My husband's company gives its upper level management 4 weeks of vacation per year. 4 weeks. Plus they get "A" days, which means absent for any reason-a total of 10. And most of them take it all. So if teachers miss an average of 11 days, and have a 185 day contract, that is 5.9%. If your average manager takes all 30 days off, and works about 260 days per year...11.5%. And yada yada yada, it's hard on the kids, disrupts the flow of the classroom-whatever. Kids are adaptable-or need to learn how to be. For cryin' out loud, we can't put kids in this perfect little bubble and expect them to be able to function outside of it.

    Here's one link to the article if you want to look. Gee, I wonder what reasons teachers in large, inner city school districts would have to take that many days off per year? Paltry pay? Disruptive kids? Unsupportive administration? Dangerous surroundings?

    Come on, teach, toughen up.
     
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  3. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Well and what really makes me mad is they looked at days they needed a sub-they didn't take out pd days or days where they had to attend meetings off-campus, etc. My old school used to get subs so we could get one-on-one testing done.

    Even if they are sick days-do you know how many sicknesses I've had working with young kids that normal people don't get-like pink eye or fifth disease-you can't go in until you are not contagious anymore.

    I saw this from the Onion this morning and it made me laugh: http://www.theonion.com/articles/study-1-in-6-public-school-teachers-were-chronical,36204/
     
  4. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    “Shame on these perpetually absent teachers for treating the American education system with the same level of respect the rest of us do.”

    :rofl:
     
  5. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I agree that I'm tired of all of this teacher-bashing/teacher-shaming that is going around in the media lately. It seems that every day I get online, there is some new story about how a teacher did something "wrong" or how teachers as a whole are horrible human beings (yes, I know I'm exaggerating slightly).

    When it comes to this topic of attendance, however, I do tend to think that many teachers in my district are out way too much. I obviously can't speak for other districts. Most absences are for some sort of PD purpose, whether it's a whole grade-level meeting on- or off-campus, an individual attending a workshop, or a teacher who is an administrator-in-training acting as an intern for the day. Of course you also have sick days too - but, for me, I feel so guilty taking a sick day when I've already been out of the classroom multiple days for PD purposes. It's become so bad in my district that we often have multiple teachers who don't have subs, simply because too many teachers are all out on the same day.

    I'm all for PD, and I do enjoy a day out of the classroom from time-to-time. However, I've often wondered what impact we would be able to have on student achievement if only we were not out of our classrooms so much. I was relieved to hear from our district leaders that there will be fewer required PD sessions during instructional time next year, and, therefore, teachers will be in their classrooms more often.
     
  6. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    But that's a district problem, not a teacher problem. Most teachers don't choose when and where to attend a PD. USA Today doesn't write articles about districts allowing teachers to be absent, they write articles with headlines that say "Teachers Absent From Class Way Too Much".
     
  7. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I can send those "experts" a copy of my paystub and they can see how many sick days I have NOT used in the 3 years I've been at my school. I get 2 personal days that I have to use each year or I lose them so of course I take them. If a teacher has the hours or days to take they should not be chastised for taking them.
     
  8. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Right. I don't disagree with that. At all.

    My comment was just intended to say that I agree that attendance can be a problem in some districts, and it is an area that districts should be monitoring themselves. However, I am totally, entirely, fed up with all of the teacher-shaming going on in the media. There was no need to make this a national news story.
     
  9. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    In my district this year, we were given way too many pd workshops that took us out of the classroom. We had close to 20 days that we had to be out of the classroom.

    However, I don't think that is as much a detriment to the students as the time we had to spend in class practicing for tests and taking tests to gauge how the students may have done on the official tests. We missed two full days of instruction every two weeks just in practice tests. That doesn't count the two weeks of instruction missed for the actual tests.
     
  10. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I'm split on this topic. First and foremost, I do believe that if you have the sick days saved up, you have the right to take them as you please. Period. Of course, there are consequences if Admin feels like you have taken too many days off (such as being marked down on your evaluation or Admin giving you a hard time).

    With that being said, at my school, teachers have to cover classes when another teacher is absent (no subs unless they are long term). While I have not taken a day off all year (for the last 3 years), I am rewarded for this by having to cover someone else's class at least twice a week during my plan. Not to mention, the periods are 95 minutes long and the kids don't want to do the sub work (if 95 minutes worth of work is even left). Some of my co-workers have taken well over ten days off this year and it annoys me to no end to have to cover all the time. Especially when they take multiple days in a row.
     
  11. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I know when I subbed I was a sub for 2-3 wks because teacher's appendix burst. I got a call one morning like 45 mins before school started teacher's tire blew on the way to work...I mean stuff happens!! Our own kids get sick... what example are we as teachers sending if we send our sick kids...we don't like it when kids are sent sick to our rooms....
     
  12. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    All of that together - PD, test prep, and actual testing - makes for little valuable learning time. Once mid-April came around, it almost didn't seem like there was even any point in trying to teach anything anymore. Between state testing, PD days, sped meetings, and district testing, I might be able to squeeze in an actual lesson here and there. But, really, what was the point if the skill was only taught in isolation and not carried over or built upon for more than a whole week? :dunno:
     
  13. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Not specifically about this topic, but I found it hilarious that on the day after they had lauded teachers for teacher appreciation day, our local radio station immediately started in with a story debasing teachers again.

    At least we have that one teacher appreciation day to make up for the rest of the 364 days in the year. :lol:
     
  14. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Personally, I don't think it's coincidence that there are all these articles and it's an election year. Notice they are only talking about public school teachers. :whistle:

    I had perfect attendance (excluding required pd days) for 5 years in a row-I don't even know how many hours I accumulated-the district kept trying to buy them back from me. And then I had to have surgery one year and was out for over 2 weeks. If they look at that year for their study-yes, I had bad attendance. I don't think a majority of teachers are taking advantage of the system. Heck, it's so much more work to prepare for a sub! ;)
     
  15. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Interesting reading this today--I'm home on a sick day. I'm fine, just trying to get caught up on some of the mountains of marking that needs to get done before starting on report cards. I take 2 or 3 days each school year to do this; it helps keep me sane. I get 10 sick days a year and no personal days. We used to be able to bank unused days, but we lost this ability and had all of our banked days stripped just over a year ago. I've only taken half my days this year, but have been out another 6-8 days because of workshops or training. I hate the fact that we feel that we need to justify our absences like this to the public and, to a far lesser degree, each other.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    There are often reasons that sick days roll over and an employee is allowed to save them up, sometimes only to a max number. It usually has to do with a lack of short term disability insurance for the employee or lack of paid maternity leave. By allowing an employee, teacher or other occupation, to save sick days instead of losing them, it allows the employee with good attendance to have a buffer in the event of a long term illness that may require disability. That is why the number of sick days often is more than one would be expected to take in a year or a contract time.

    Yes, an employee should be able to use them if they are ill or has a valid, excusable reason for the use such as a sick family member that requires care. However, one must wonder when you see a district where many employees are using them all up. Each district should be examined to find out why. It could be a toxic building, lack of efficient cleaning, low morale, lack of supervision allowing people to take sick time for anything, lots of job hunting under the guise of being sick, extending vacations with illness. Just as certain percentages are statistically significant in other areas of measurement, high absenteeism is something to look at. Whether it is news worthy, that is a discussion I'm not adding to.
     
  17. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I think I took a LOT more sick days when I worked in the private sector than when I moved into teaching. There are probably no surveys comparing the two.
     
  18. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    Haven't read all the replies. I missed more days than I would have liked to…. I had a car crash and missed a few because of that. Then with a little one year old there was times where I had to miss. One day was just a personal day where I missed because of something that I wanted to do.
     
  19. Jerseygirlteach

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    Bella84 - I pretty much agree with everything you've said. The anti-teacher, anti-public school, anti-intellectual mentality has become so ridiculous that it would be comical if it weren't so sad and scary.

    However, I do think that some teachers miss too many days. We get 10 sick days and 3 personal days, but my para went way over this both the years she was with me. Really? You don't think 13 days off is enough? The way I look at it is that if I'm out 10 days and my student is out 10 days, that's 20 days of missed instruction - more than 10% of the school year. So I don't call in sick unless it's really unavoidable. I've taken 3 sick days in the past 4 years (none this year) and those were because my kids were sick and I had to be home with them.

    As for counting PD days against teachers in this survey - that's just pure ignorance on the part of the authors. I honestly don't like most PD and I hate the hours I spend setting up for a sub to cover while I attend PD. However, I did miss some days last year for Orton G. training and I'm very glad I did. I've been using OG in my classroom all year and love it!
     
  20. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    I've done that before too.

    Funny how no one complains when it's the district that mandates us being out of the classroom. And I've had some pretty ridiculous/useless PD workshops that have eaten up the better part of a week.
     
  21. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Interesting discussion. My main objective in posting this was to point out how the media, and even education-based research organizations, seem to be biased against teachers.

    I took the day off today, after 10:00, because we're having carpet installed. I didn't need to justify it, or make a big issue out of it. I emailed my boss and told him I was leaving when the last final was over. He replied 'see ya tomorrow'. I'll miss some things, and I'll have a mountain of email to catch up on tomorrow (actually not too bad because I get it on my phone so I'll keep up while sitting here, so it will be fine). My assistant will cover the building just fine.

    I just wish teachers could be extended the same professional courtesy. We say we trust subs-we need to show it. And again, kids need to be able to adapt. A working environment will not be the same, day after day.
     
  22. Briana008

    Briana008 Companion

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    From the article:

    "In addition, districts with formal policies to discourage teacher absenteeism do not appear to have better attendance rates than those without such policies, a finding that suggests that the most common policies are not particularly effective, she said."

    Now, if you ask me, this is how the article should have STARTED, not ended. If the point is public education reform, then what the focus of the study/article should really be is why these teachers are absent so much. It isn't because we're a bunch of lazy slackers who don't care about our students' academic achievement. Perhaps it is the mountains of paperwork, counterproductive policies, ill-advised focus on standardized testing, and crappy administrators.

    It is very frustrating that the go-to response to any problem in education is to "fix" the teachers. Maybe one day people will realize that if we keep trying to fix the teachers but the system doesn't improve, then perhaps the problem wasn't the teachers to begin with...
     
  23. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    No one has yet really tried to fix the teachers. They measure them. They want to tie test scores to them, but not much has been done to "fix" teachers. What little is done is not helpful.

    Now, if you want to talk about "fixing" teachers, look at Finland. They went from an educational system that was not highly regarded 30 years ago to a well respected profession with good results and happy teachers. They really fixed the teachers by changing the selection and training process. The training changed so much such that no teacher is going into a classroom feeling unprepared and not knowing what to do with no real mentor who also knows what works and what doesn't.
     
  24. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    There ARE teachers who take advantage of their days and use them when they're not sick, or go shopping a LOT, etc, but I hate it when all of us are tarred with the same brush the ones who deserve it are tarred with. When I resigned, I had over a hundred days they had to pay me for and it was like FREE MONEY. I think missing days is different for teachers because when an accountant, etc, is out, their clients don't get a sub who doesn't advance them in any way. When teachers miss, their students miss out, too. But most teachers use their days wisely and well, and I hate to be labelled like the ones who take off whenever they feel like it and feel justified doing so.
     
  25. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    We are allowed to take sick days for doctor's appointments also if we request them in advance. I don't feel guilty saying that I book the earliest appt. then have the rest of the day free for myself. I am not required to go back to work after the appt. so if I wanted to go shopping or go bird watching or whatever, I don't feel it's anyone's business. Also, as a year round teacher nobody can really tell me, "oh, just save your appts. for the summer". I take them when I want and administration always approves it. I many schools are different, such as those that don't allow you to bank your days, so if it's in their contract they get 10 days then they should take them and not have to justify it to people who are not in the teaching field.
     
  26. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I'm very lucky this year. I know that my principal doesn't care where I am today or what I'm doing. He trusts us, as professionals, to make the choices that we need to--both in the classroom and outside of it.
     
  27. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Did anyone actually read the article?

    I think too many people here have put on the victim hood and see things only through that lens. I took zero offense at the article. The main point of the article existing is the implication that teachers being the classroom is important.

    That's not an insult. That is a statement of our incredible value to our students.
     
  28. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I read it. I didn't take offense to it. I agree with the overall sentiment, as I've already mentioned. I just don't know why the media feels it is necessary to investigate (or report on investigations of) teachers so often and in such a negative fashion. This article is hardly the worst, but we're seeing more and more of this every day. At least I am.
     
  29. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I always found that it is more work to take a sick day, so I usually go in even when sick. In younger grades, I find that it is easier, but I still rarely miss. I usually miss more for PD, testing, meetings, etc.. than being sick.

    The exception would be 2012-2013 when I missed quite a few for interviews. But I quit with over 40 sick days left, accumulated in just 6 years.
     
  30. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I've taken exactly two days of my own sick/personal leave since I came back from paternity leave. My daughter was born in February 2012. In that time, I have had more than 30 sub days, the time pulled out of class for IEP meetings (where an IA covered for me), which I'd estimate at about 20 hours over the past two years, and about 65 hours in the second semester after my daughter was born.

    Long story short, their implication that I'd be one of the chronically absent teachers makes me laugh, roll my eyes, and continue on with my life.
     

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