Two Months Off with Pay

Staff meetings usually start promptly at 7:30 a.m. at our school. Not this morning. At 7:45 a.m., everyone was glancing anxiously at the clock. At 7:50 a.m. the principal breezed into the room, apologizing because s/he had not set the alarm clock. Then s/he stunned us all with an announcement that no one saw coming.

“I’m always telling you to put your families first. Now it’s time for me to practice what I preach. I’m going to spend the next two months with my mother. She’s not near death, but she is in a wheelchair, and I want to make sure I spend the quality time with her that I didn’t get to spend with my dad before he died several years ago.

“The superintendent is giving me family medical leave. Today is my last day until January 4. You’ll have a substitute principal while I’m gone. I won’t be job hunting. I will be back. This is a fine school and I love it.”

S/he said that a substitute principal was supposed to have been on site all day to learn the ropes, but apparently one has not been found. That bit of information did nothing to allay the fears of some of the staff that this school will be left to its own devices for the next two months.

Other teachers, however, voiced their concern that a substitute principal would try to implement radical changes in the direction of the school—something that we definitely don’t need. We’ve had too many changes—especially in leadership—already. Our last principal was here for only one year and then left for another position. The current principal has been absent frequently since the beginning of the new school year. And now we’re going to have an uncertain “someone” at the helm until January—assuming that someone can be found.

Maybe I should quit teaching and seek certification as an administrator. I’m sure I could do as good a job as those who stay here for a semester or two and then move on.

Besides, I’d like to find some familial excuse to take two months off with full pay.

Posted on October 29, 2009, in administrators, change, leadership. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I always said I would never become an administrator! They are always putting out fires. That being said, I can’t imagine a teacher getting two months off during the school year with pay! Are you hoping they WILL find someone….or that they won’t?

  2. two months off with pay!?!?!? when i took my 6 weeks for maternity leave, i had to take my sick time and then was docked pay for the days after i ran out of sick days. that is CRAZY!

  3. Um. You DO have a reason.

    I think what your boss did was phenomenal. We should all do this if we can.

  4. I just had 3 (5 if you count summer) months off with pay. Believe me when I say you don’t want to find a reason for a leave like that. Spend six weeks alone in a strange city while your loved one is hospitalized? Spend the rest of the time as caretaker, watching your loved one suffer? I would have much rather stayed at work and let my son stay healthy.

  5. Hmmm… seems to me anyone with the word “substitute” attached to their title wouldn’t want to try to push too many changes. I;ve seen a few interim principals in my time, I have yet to see one that tried anything drastic – they just held the fort.

  6. FMLA is non pay. The principal may have enough leave accrued to get payed the entire time but the actual FMLA is without pay. My wife is in HR and she deals with this on a daily basis.

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