{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I am taking another sick day this coming Monday. It's necessary for both my physical and mental health, which are severely compromised due to the stress of this insane school year (and the last one, and the spring before that -- I think this is cumulative with COVID, the political situation, etc.). I have never taken this many sick days during ANY school year in my 20+ years of teaching. Is anyone else experiencing this? Is anyone else having anxiety about taking so many days off?\n \n", "post_id": "626c192d91103c002466832c", "reply_count": 197, "vote_count": 85, "bowl_id": "5c751b9f2f6b98001bc666f8", "bowl_name": "Teachers", "feed_type": "crowd" }
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I am taking another sick day this coming Monday. It's necessary for both my physical and mental health, which are severely compromised due to the stress of this insane school year (and the last one, and the spring before that -- I think this is cumulative with COVID, the political situation, etc.). I have never taken this many sick days during ANY school year in my 20+ years of teaching. Is anyone else experiencing this? Is anyone else having anxiety about taking so many days off?

likehelpfulfunny
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I understand needing a personal day and taking it. But on the flip-side.... This year has seen so many people take a crazy number of days off. We have people who have been out 20 plus days. Those of us left behind to sub are fried beyond fried! I try to take as few as possible, but know that doing so has caused me strain and stress and has had an emotional cost. Seems like most anyone in education is just trying to make it through the year as best they can. We have 2 building subs and have about 10 out per day. It is crazy and all I can think of is that if this many days were taken in a corporate America job we would all be fired. Our education system is broken. Those in the trenches need more support and grace for sure!

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If you need the day, take it. Whether you get support or criticism here it doesn’t matter. By posting you clearly wanted opinions. Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one. Tomorrow is May 31rst. I’m sure the place isn’t as strong without you but your mental health takes priority. Finish as strong as possible with attendance but if you need the day, take the day. Don’t look 👀 back. Maybe next year you won’t miss a day? Every year is different. Your sick time is an insurance policy. Sometimes you need insurance. Administration’s always make you feel guilty when you miss a day. Don’t get caught up in that bullshit.

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Prior to covid I would generally plan one day a year during what's usually a stressful period to just take the day off alone and do what I enjoy. I would usually also take a day off to celebrate my wife's birthday. Interestingly over the past two years I haven't really taken "fun" days off. I've had medical things come up and had to take days off. A couple weeks ago I had a painful gout flareup and had to take a day off. While it wasn't ideal I couldn't help thinking that I really needed a day to just sit around.
Next week I'm taking three personal days to celebrate my anniversary. I have never before taken anything resembling a vacation during the school year. I decided to have an open conversation with my boss about it and they were totally cool with it. I'm super pumped about it!

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Advice from a retired war horse---If you need days off, take them. That is one of the few regrets I have about my career--used 105 days, including bereavement days for my parents and in-laws, out of 390 available. Retired w/285 unused sick days (received $35/day for them---a pittance in hindsight) and 20 personal days. Drug my carcass to work on many days when I should have stayed home to then be told to cover additional classes for others who took off on nice days on a regular basis. The stress for those of you still in the trenches is unbelievable, so if you need a day now and then and will not be putting undue pressure on your colleagues, do it.

likehelpfulsmartuplifting

I still remember what an older colleague told me when she realized how many sick days I had banked after teaching for 10 or so. “They won’t put how many sick days you had left on your tombstone!” And you’re right, you get your full pay when you take a day off and nothing close to that at retirement.
However, I will say it ended up working out in my favor when I relocated to TN mid school year. I had my end date planned for just after I had 25 years in. I was able to buy 5 years earlier in my teaching career so I’d retire from that district with 30 years. Well, I got a cancer diagnosis two months beforehand. Thankfully, I had almost a school year’s worth of days banked. I was able to relocate as planned but was on paid sick leave from just before my surgery through healing from radiation. It certainly wasn’t planned but it ended up working out for me. And I’m grateful to say NED ever since!

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I think younger or less experienced teachers are obviously burned out and strained, etc. But do any of you feel like you inevitably get to a point of no return with this job? Where you've just seen too much, and you understand that basically no serious fundamental problem ever gets solved, and our society truly DOES.NOT.CARE. about public education? That's the hardest part for me. I could trudge through if I ever saw something resembling progress. But I don't. And now half the country is labeling us as child groomers. Great time to be in the profession...

likeuplifting

So very (sadly) accurate… trying to make it four more years in elementary sped but not sure I can do it if things don’t change.

Everyone is feeling exhausted due to the past 2 years. I have taken off more days this year than in the previous 30+ (5 medical and 5 personal). I’m planning on 2-3 more. We have a use it or lose it situation here. I have many days of state leave accumulated, and they do not pay you out upon retirement-not one penny. I’m so tired of covering classes at the last minute, proctoring a plethora of standardized tests, and doing all the other things we’re asked to do. If having a couple 3-day weekends helps me get through this year, I’m going to do it despite the guilt trip emails about being short on coverage.

likesmartuplifting

OHS-1—Take the time off if at all possible. I’m doing some remediation and state re-testing, but I’m limiting it to 8-10 days total with a week off in between. I figure it’s a good compromise. Then I am going to find a non-touristy place that’s not loud and crowded and just chill out. Time move more slowly in places like that. I think the multitasking that teachers do is exhausting.

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I’ve used more sick days this year than any other year of teaching combined (this is year 6 for me though so I’m still kind of a newbie).

Mental health is still health and if anyone tells you differently ignore them.

Take those sick days because you have earned them!

likefunny

Good advice.

I retired, left 180 sick days in the bank. Got nothing for them. Wish I had used some of them. Don’t ever feel bad about taking care of your personal health.

likeupliftinghelpful

yikes, I get a paid for my left over sick days. If not I would take every last one. I retire this year too. I still love teaching so it's a good time to go.

like

It’s not worth feeling guilty. It seems to me that if districts were serious about finding subs, they’d pay a damn good hourly wage!

likesmart

We deserve more pay. Period!

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I am experiencing this “drained teacher anxiety” as well. Right now I am on FMLA leave to take care of a close sick family member, but I wish to God I had the funds and health care established, because I really don’t want to come back to teaching!
I am sorry but I can’t seem to shake this feeling 😞

likehelpful

I've taken something like 6 or 8 days off this year. And I'll probably do one more next week. I worry about running out of days, but I don't care about not being here. I don't feel like I owe more than I am already giving. We are the ones owed, and the children. But society et al has decided they don't care. So alas, this is what they get.

likefunny

Sad, you feel like you have no need to act like an adult or professional! No one owes you anything! Go to work and get your pay check.

I am saddened to see all the comments about this post. I am 20+years in and have never felt so hopeless in my job. We teachers are struggling and we are not getting the help and support we need. Someone has got to listen or their will be no one left in education.

likesmart

13 teachers out on Friday, I think this says a lot! I was one of the 13, but I had a GREAT EXCUSE....my grandson graduated from law school, YEA! Second Doctor in the Gollette family.

likehelpful

Congratulations!

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My therapist told me I really need to take a day ASAP if I want to make the last 3 weeks more enjoyable. My AP kids have their exam on the 10th and I'm trying to hold out until after, but damn do I feel spent.

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They sure are cracking down on movies AND worksheets after AP exams. I’ve not shown anything in my class other than short course-related YouTube clips or TEd talks. To show a movie, you have to fill out a form and include a lesson plan and standards list. I’ve decided they will do a Socratic discussion about the movie, followed by a reflection about their experience on a Google form. What can they say? We all need a break. I have kids who are sitting for 5-6 AP exams.

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The sun will still come up Tuesday morning. And I hope it is out for you to enjoy on Monday! My only regret about sick days is that I left a bunch behind when I changed school districts. Fortunately this new gig is less stressful. In my last, I could accurately predict 3-4 months out what week I was probably going to have to take one for mental health.

likehelpful

It isn't just you. In my school, we're struggling to find subs every single day. That's how many teachers are taking days off. We have 3 substitutes on payroll, which is the most the school has had at any given time, ever. That and whoever is available (TA, teachers or even admin) to substitute.

There is like a school-wide mental health crisis, both in students and teachers. We are all so worn down at this point.

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we have 4 resident subs this year!!!! And we are still constantly pulling people to cover. My school is so tough and the closer to break we get the harder these kids get. We are being verbally and physically attacked daily and there is no support. I understand why the kids are doing it but its too much! we are breaking and its so hard. I have taken many days this year (some due to covid which burns me lol) but I have several health issues that I have to take days for specialist appointments and some for just the health issues. I have learned in 22 years not to feel guilty anymore. I am not going to make it through if I do not take days as I need them. I ended up in the ER this year due to all the stress and its just not worth it anymore.

likehelpfulfunny

Your sick and personal time is an insurance policy. Some years you need insurance. The mistake is creating anxiety over it. Take the time guilt free. The justification is exactly what you said. It’s for your physical and mental well being. End of story.

likehelpful

We’re all feeling it. I’ve also used more sick days than ever before. This is my 9th year and I’m exhausted. I also just read an update from my union president saying our district is now starting to look at patterns in teachers sick days and that if they see you’re taking off every Friday or every other Friday, whatever. They have been making teachers show proof of sickness with a doctors note.

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The treatment of teachers by administration is so well known outside of the profession, that if I were to ask my doctor for a note, he'd give me one. If you don't want teachers to use their PTO, fix the plumbing in the faculty restrooms and lounge, don't undermine teachers' authority in the classroom, reduce the paperwork and stop acting as if the principal were the only adult in the building.

likesmartuplifting

You're definitely not alone. The past 2 years have taken a major toll on teachers. If you need time off, take it. That's what it's there for. Hopefully next year will be better!

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I’ve been teaching 45 years and rarely take more than 2 days a year and that’s only if I’m really suck. I feel like if I take a day off I won’t be able to stop taking them and it is harder to make the lesson plans than it is to just do it myself!

likesmart

I use to feel this way until this year. This is the most sick days I have taken off ever.

like

I too have taken more days off this year then I have in 20 years for mental and physical health! Most stressful year ever in 20 years!😢

likehelpful

I really thought it was just me. 😞

likesmarthelpful

Yes! I’m on extended leave for lots of context. But you have to let go of that anxiety. What’s most important is health. Yours. Not their learning. Not their improvement. YOU. DESERVE. PEACE. HEALTH. LIFE.

I fought hard thinking I failed something. I failed them. When I’m reality I was failing myself and my health with those thoughts. Be well. Get well. Take the time you need.

likehelpful

My wife and I used to take 1 day off per marking period. For the simple reason of giving ourselves an all important mental health day. This year, we have been taking 1 day per month for those same reasons. Things in education have become so intense. People expect million dollar results on a $100 budget. That takes a toll on teachers. There is no question why so many people leave teaching. And you can't say "they didn't love it after all..." There are legit quality love what they were doing teachers who are fed up with the expectations piling up, and the responsibilities increasing.

likesmart

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