Discussion in 'General Education' started by mrsk2014, Sep 3, 2017.
Sep 3, 2017
Are you tenured yet?
Is it common in your area for vacations to get approved? It is not common in mine. There could be repercussions if you ask about the dates, do not get approved, and take them anyway. We had a teacher get non-renewed last year because she called in sick on a day she had been denied a personal day request. It happens.
Two years ago I took a week in the spring to take my child on a trip to look at colleges. Our spring breaks were different weeks. My P approved it (verbally) and there were ways to take the days that met my contractual requirements. I also arranged for a very good sub (retired math teacher) to take the days, so the impact on learning was mitigated. I already had tenure when I took this week.
I would advise not to use sick days for a planned vacation because you don't have extra personal days. Sick days are for when you're sick. Or maybe for extenuating circumstances such as family illness or death in the family. Admin would tend to understand usage then. But for travel and vacation time? Probably not a good idea.
Just as I expect students and their families to take vacations during breaks, I expect teachers would do the same. But there are some extenuating circumstances. I think a free vacation to Hawaii, when you don't get to pick the dates yourself, qualifies. But, I am not your principal. At my school you apparently get to take off multiple weeks for full family vacations, planned during those times to avoid crowds. I find that extremely unprofessional.
I would ask and get email confirmation for any approval. I would not risk my job and try to sneak anything.
I would just lay it out with your administration and see if anything can be worked out.
But don't sneak around.
Don't lie. Ask for your personal days. Take deduct days for any others.
We can take days without pay. That's what usually happens if something like that were to come up. The board has to approve them but they almost always do.
Ask to use your personal days. Take the others without pay. Do not jeopardize your job. Only do all of this with approval.
If you do end up taking days off without pay, be sure to research your district's policies about that. In my district, this can affect your retirement contributions, retirement eligibility dates, insurance payments, and more. I had to take a few weeks of leave without pay after I used up FMLA for a medical situation, and I had to cover what the district normally pays for my monthly insurance coverage. It wasn't a big deal, but it could have turned into a nightmare if I hadn't known that and ended up without coverage for a period of time.
Do not use sick days. That will not end well. Be honest with the principal and hope for the best.
If you can't go, that's part of the job you accepted.
I just read on another post you got this job at the end of last year. There were already questions about your commitment based on your grad program choice. I would not think of asking to take the trip. Thank your sister for the offer but say you can't go.
For sure ask your supervisor.
Do remember though, it's easier to ask for forgiveness if you haven't asked for permission. That is, if you plan on finding a way to go no matter what your boss says, then don't bother asking. Only ask if you are ready and willing to hear "no".
I suspect your plan will get you fired. You cannot go to a Doctor in Hawaii to get a medical note. If you did that you would need to be able to prove that you intended to be back at work on time. You would have to show the paid flight with the itinerary returning on time for work, the cancellation of that flight, the rescheduled flight on the next day, the cancellation of the second flight and the rescheduled flight for the next day. You would also have to find a Doctor in Hawaii that actually believed you were too sick to fly. Even if you managed all that and were okay with lying to your employer, your employer would have reasonable grounds to be suspicious and would likely investigate your claim. I know of a teacher who got fired for doing exactly this.
I would plan not to go. Even if you can get unpaid time, your trip isn't going to be so free after you lose pay, have to cover the costs discussed in this thread associated with the unpaid day, etc. If you still want to go you need to ask if there is an unpaid option. If there isn't, you just can't go.
On this, I would disagree with TrademarkTer. Not knowing your contract does not mean you can't be fired for lying to your employer. The teacher who I know who got fired did exactly this: they called in sick while on vactation. The District was able to prove that they were on vacation. They asked for copies of their flights and when the teacher submitted tickets with the dates blacked out the District followed up and was able to prove they had no intention of being back for work on time and they fired them. It isn't just the end of the one job. It is a huge black mark. Getting hired after committing fraud against one's previous district is not a place you want to be in. Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that you figure out a way around the rules. I'm saying under no circumstances call in sick from Hawaii.
Note--I am not saying I would advocate doing this. All I am really saying is only ask if you are willing to hear and listen to the "no".
Yeah, if I understand correctly, you are just beginning this new job during this current school year. I'd be hesitant to ask for so many days off even after being tenured, but there is NO WAY I'd make that request at a job I just started within the last month. Just accept that you can't go with your sister, thank her for the offer, and move on.
As tempting as it sounds, I think you should pass on the trip.
Sep 4, 2017
Don't lie. Don't sell your integrity for a trip to Hawaii, looking over your shoulder, feeling anxious, hoping you won't get caught on the trip or thereafter.
Go at the end of the school year, with your own money, your head held high, and with no worries.
First, everyone here is right. Don't lie. If you're going somewhere, then tell the truth. However, taking a vacation during the school year is not the kiss of death. It's not ideal, but not everyone has summers off. For instance, my husband has to put in his week of vacation for the year by the end of January. There are a variety of weeks that are blocked--always the weeks of my school holidays. And in the summer, only so many people can be out each week, so if he doesn't get the summer weeks, he has take his vacation at some other time. Now, he's high enough in seniority at this point, that he's usually good, but we've had no choice-twice. Three years ago, we had planned a trip to Hawaii, but my husband went on strike, so we postponed the trip. I had no choice but to take a week in September, that was the only time we could reschedule everything. I just started at my new job at that point--my principal understood and I enjoyed myself immensely. I wouldnt' recommend it, but at least ask. However, if the principal says no, they don't go anyway--then that becomes a subordination issue.
Here, the only way to take a vacation during the school year would be to apply for an unpaid leave, which would have to be approved by administration and by the superintendent. Our collective agreement lists several reasons for which leave must be granted, and vacation isn't one of them, so the request could easily be denied. As part of the request, we must indicate that we recognize that our benefits will be suspended for the duration of the leave. We don't get personal days, so a leave would be the only option.
If it truly is something you can't pass up, be upfront and honest. If you are only able to take your personal days, perhaps consider shortening the time you are away.
Don't go. It's unprofessional. I know it's hard, but teaching has great rewards unavailable to other jobs, but also responsibilities. You have 77 days each summer to go places. Go then.
If I were in your situation, I definitely wouldn't lie. I'd talk to my principal and say something along the lines of "I know this isn't ideal, but it's a great opportunity and for free.I understand if I can't go."
I don't think it hurts to ask, as long as if they say no you are gracious about it. Let them know why you're asking and that you understand it's not the perfect scenario and weren't expecting it.
Do you have to stay the whole week? If you have three personal days, could you not use those plus the weekend, for five days of vacation? That seems like a reasonable solution. You'd get to go on the trip, spend enough time there to enjoy it, and wouldn't get in trouble at school.
We've had teachers take vacations or be away for other needs. Once their personal days are used, they do time away without pay. It doesn't happen often, but there have been times when, for example, a teacher was hired but already had a prearranged family vacation planned during the school year. That teacher let the school know during the hiring process and it wasn't a big issue. I suggest just talking to your principal.
I personally have nothing against with a teacher taking an occasional short vacation even during the school year.
My school dumps our sick and personal leave into one pool, which is incredibly handy for these sorts of things.
I think it's really dependent upon a variety of factors. One of those factors is knowing your principal. My principal at my current school didn't even want me to miss two consecutive days for a PD workshop. No way he'd approve an entire week of vacation without some strong extenuating circumstances. Knowing that, I wouldn't even bother asking for fear that he'd forever and always look down on me for even considering such a request.
I also don't have a problem with a teacher taking a short vacation during the school year - key word being "short". Adding a day or two onto a weekend doesn't seem like a big deal... but missing an entire week for something that isn't related to a family wedding, death, or other special occasion seems like too much. This is true for any teaching job, but I think it's especially true when it's your first year at a school. The only job I'd risk it at is one where I am halfway out the door - planning to leave when the school year ends.
In my opinion, this is just one of the tradeoffs we take in this field. We have many more days off than those in other careers typically do, but don't get the flexibility to choose when we take the majority of them. It just is what it is.
I love telling my students how excited teachers get on snow days! Especially those that don't have to be made up! And unplanned early dismissals that count as full days!
I don't see an issue with at least broaching the subject with your supervisor, as long as you begin the conversation by acknowledging that you will be fully prepared to accept no as an answer. The key to it will be to:
1) Have a plan in place for minimizing impact to your students. Not just "I'll write sub plans." Be specific. What will be happening on those days that it might be reasonable to expect a sub to be able to carry on as always.
2) Avoid using any other leave for the rest of the year. If you aren't sick enough to go to the doctor, you aren't sick enough to miss work. Period.
3) Be willing to accept the fact that, even if your supervisor approves the trip, it will have a very negative impact on your relationship with her. Even asking about it will make you look bad.
4) Be willing to make a trade of some sort. Ask if there's an after school club that needs a sponsor. Volunteer as a tutor. Find some way to make a noticeable positive impact.
Sep 5, 2017
I agree with the suggestion of using the weekend plus the 3 days you're allowed to take for a 5 day vacation. 5 days is still plenty of time to enjoy yourself. If I were at a brand new job, I would be afraid of the repercussions of even asking for the extra time off so soon.
When I was little my grandparents paid for my family to go to Disney World every Fall. They weren't willing to go when there were crowds, so we went in October. My parents are both teachers. My mom worked at a private school and one of her benefits was 7 personal days, so she and I stayed the whole week. My dad only got 2 personal days, so he would stay the weekend plus the 2 extra days every year.
Wouldn't getting a medical note from a doctor in Hawaii out you, anyway? And if you're not tenured, you could lose your job.
If it was a day or two, I'd say go for it, but a week-long trip (even though it's free) wouldn't be worth risking my job. I'd go to your principal and talk with them. See what your options are.
Personally, I'd still say if it's not something you want your principal thinking about if a non renewal came down to you and one other teacher, you shouldn't do it.
Also, if contract negotiations are near, they might take a hard line and deny the days anyway just to send a stern message.
Sep 7, 2017
Some schools have issues with unpaid leave so that might or might not be an option. Can't hurt to ask though.
I disagree... I think it could hurt to ask. I wouldn't want to ask my principal for fear he'd be astonished that I would even think of taking a vacation during the school year.