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.