So existing mindsets in the teaching profession run the gauntlet of perception. So many people interpret the “rules” the district sets in place in various ways. To each their own interpretation. Yet, the district is VERY black and white when they set forth the policies in the contract and what ends up happening 80% of the time are frustrations felt on the teacher’s end of the stick. For example, sick leave. Lets do some real talk about sick leave. Why would you use sick leave? Well…. duh… your sick, your child is sick, or a member of your household is sick and in need of your care. Great. Everyone understands that one. Districts normally alot 10 days of sick leave benefit. Should you go over that number, well… here’s were it gets squirley. Its not a secret that most people perceive teaching as a work of heart. A valiant vocation like a knight in shining armor. Good. Teacher’s feel this way too. The district, however, not so much. Yes and No. Its definately viewed as a rewarding and noble profession and kudos to you until… you step outside those policy boundaries. Then, its black and white. This is where teachers and district conflict. Teachers feel there should be understanding and compassion imbeded within district decision making. Why? Well, thats how teachers make decisions for their students, with love and understanding. Yea… um… NO. One mistake most teachers make in general is misunderstanding that at the end of the day, this is a money making business. When you are absent for sickness, personal day, etc you are costing the district money. They not only have to pay you when you are within your alloted days but they also have to pay a substitute teacher to teach your class at the going rate of 100 bucks a day. SO please, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your sick days are yours and its ok to use them with abandon if your not feeling up to par, its not. Suck it up buttercup. You will find that as you approach that 5 day absence mark, things will start to change for you. You may recieve notice from the principal that you are past your 5 day mark and you need to improve your absences. This is a sweet little letter (hope you feel the sarcasm there) that goes in your personnel file. Should you go over your 10 days, well honey you need to consider FMLA. Otherwise, you ARE in danger of termination….. period. This will not be an obvious up and coming situation, they will blindside you with a termination hearing letter that will likely end in your termination of employment. FMLA is your friend. If you do not qualify for FMLA at the time, then you need to figure out a way to decrease your absences. Period. The district does not care if you are a single mother with two children who get sick often and have no support or family. THEY… DO…. NOT…. CARE. Once you realize this fact, you will be better off. No, they do not care. You are costing them MONEY. I find it imperative to educate young teachers with this fact as they are often clueless to how ruthless a school district HR department can be. The universities could do a better job in this area of learning for graduating educators. You won’t find that information in a text book. You will, however, find that information in your employment contract…. often too late.