{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "So, apparently my school has the lowest teacher attendance this year. As teachers- what would be a good incentive to get perfect attendance and not use your PTO?\n", "post_id": "618adb55a8bea9002f582a93", "reply_count": 182, "vote_count": 10, "bowl_id": "5c751b9f2f6b98001bc666f8", "bowl_name": "Teachers" }

So, apparently my school has the lowest teacher attendance this year. As teachers- what would be a good incentive to get perfect attendance and not use your PTO?

funnylikehelpful
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I think this question is flawed given the fact that a lot of other professions don't have a stigma of taking time off. That being said, the best way to keep teachers in the school is to provide what they need there. For instance, we have a clinic that's free through our insurance that sends nurses to the schools to give flu shots and do quick wellness checks in the lounge. Unfortunately for me, my lunch is too early to actually see them this year, but that's a different issue. On the other hand though, given my school is one of the best staff rated and parent rated in my corporation and we have a caring principal that does a lot to try and help us, we've had only 1 day with our entire staff in the building this year. You can't expect people to stay at work for the sake of their job when personal lives demand attention. We've had a lot of deaths in the family, illnesses, and just needs that come up. For me, I save my time off for the purpose of using it for maternity leave in the future, and I'm sure I'll save more again to utilize the buyout of my days at the end of my career as well ($70 a day up to 198 days).

likehelpful

Doctors and nurses ARE stigmatized for taking sick days. When they call off, patients suffer for it, along with their co workers. So they make sure they are truly truly sick if they take a day. I admire and value that work ethic.

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I think there are many issues bundled into on question. Lowest Teacher Attendance - I think we need to look at why? 1) We are still dealing with a pandemic - many teachers are now experiencing it, many children might have it and teachers are parents too. There have been significant deaths that many have had to attend to, funerals or paperwork that comes with losing a loved one. 2) The disrespect we have seen in our schools, especially middle and high school has taken a toll on many teachers. Apparently our DAEP is full and they refuse to hire another teacher to place there to cover more students, so discipline is a huge reason teachers take their days, it is draining to deal with ongoing issues. 3) Yes, it would be nice if ALL states gave money for days you don't use when you retire. OR districts since we are saving them money by attending. Unfortunately, the don't so many teachers us their days prior to retiring, hey HAVE EARNED THEM. But spread them out, this should not cause a problem by taking them all at one time. 4) Sub pay is horrible in many districts, so finding them NOW with the pandemic and increased discipline issues is more difficult. Increase the pay. 5) Incentive - we don't need one. You are there to do your job and not be treated like a child, which does occur on many campuses when wanting to take the days are are given and shouldn't be questioned about. *Admin needs to get their collectives heads out of their bottoms and remember we are adults. (Left education for awhile and came back to see this is an ongoing issue.) 6) Increase your support for those in the trenches!!! How about central office personnel coming in and taking an hour or period to give the teacher a moment to sit in the lounge and breathe? Add to that principals... It seems as soon as one steps out of the classroom, they quickly forget what it was like. And those that were out of the classroom before the pandemic hit, WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND WHAT WE ARE NOW DEALING WITH (REFER TO*) 7) Take some of the load off of teachers...how about NO duties!!! Some schools have this and it relieves a lot of stress. Get parents involved by taking duties...oh what they would learn. 8) Lastly...admin would do us all a favor if they'd ban cell devices in school! (Just thought I'd throw that in there!)

likesmart

Outdated “system” by at least a century!

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PTO is one of the benefits teachers receive as part of their compensation. If you don't want teachers to use so much PTO then you need to change the compensation structure. Telling teachers not to use PTO is like telling teachers they can only access 70% of their paychecks.

likesmart

A solution for pull-out teachers when we have no subs is this. Create all of your classes in Google, and then ask the general ed. teachers to co-teach. When you are gone list your sub plans (You Tube Learning videos) and they can access them if they want or ignore them if they want to gain regular classroom time.

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No incentive will keep me from using my time especially now

likehelpful

AGREED!

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Usually, teachers take lots of days off when working in a toxic work environment. A good incentive would be to detoxify the work environment. Failing that, a significant cash bonus.

likesmartfunny

If the goal is perfect attendance, what is the point of having PTO? IMO, perfect attendance should not be the goal. Healthy teachers (and that applies to physical, mental, and emotional health) should be the goal. If a teacher needs to take time off to deal with life or handle things outside of work, that should not be a mark of shame. It should be the mark of a human being that is not defined solely by their profession. Yes, we’re here for the students. But we also need to be here (and sometimes NOT here) for us. Otherwise there’s nothing left to give to the students. But on the subject of incentives, I would say reasonable work loads, flexible contract time, and a culture of appreciation rather than one of criticism would not only draw teachers to be at work but give them the tools they need to make it possible in the first place.

likeupliftinghelpfulsmart

Teachers using their PTO is not the problem. Every paid professional has the right to use their PTO.

likesmart

Some professionals do not need pre-approval. Professional judgement is embedded in the job expectations, system, structures, along with the ability to manage.

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I am currently at “that school” with lowest teacher attendance. Instead of looking at why teachers are taking more of their PTO than past years, they want to shame us into not using it. Behavior is out of control, and we have little support from admin or parents. I have been taking my PTO for my own mental health. I encourage other teachers to do the same.

likesmart

If they don't want us using PTO they shouldn't give the PTO, and should compensate us in some other way.

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I can't think of any incentive that would make me strive for perfect attendance. We all deserve took take days off as we need, especially if we're unwell or need to care for someone at home who is. And our PTO is ours to use as we see fit.

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The real question is, why is perfect attendance important to anyone? Is it to be rewarded? I find it to be a worthless goal, but that’s just me.

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Especially during a pandemic. People NEED to stay home when they are sick. Also adults NEED occasional days to attend to business (hence personal days). Better to address the chronically absent than to attempt to guilt the rest into not using time that is theirs to take.

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I feel as though a free wellness check during the summer before the school year would help. This could catch any underlying health issues that may cause a teacher to be absent. Also, create built in teacher work days. We are expected to do so much and deal with students all day. Teacher work days could help us to get caught up on our lesson plans, grading, etc... Just some random thoughts.

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The one good thing about Florida education is that they give us the last day of the quarter to do exactly that.

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Also, the idea that you want to insentivize people to come into a school to work even when they might be feeling sick is pretty vile.

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Right?! I don’t want a prize for exposing kids to any virus.

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Celebrating perfect attendance is ableist. It rewards people while they are privileged enough to be healthy and punishes people when they are disabled, injured, sick, mentally ill, or struggling in other ways. According to anthropoligst Margaret Mead, the first sign of human civilization was a healed femur. When someone gets sick, injured, or burned out, it's our job to cover for each other until we are well again. Rewarding perfect attendance and striving for it teaches us and our children that taking care of our selves and meeting our mental and physical needs is the wrong thing to do. It's the right thing to do. I was a perfect attendance obsessed kid and pushed myself so hard in college that I triggered an lifelong disabling autoimmune disease. Now I require more time off than if I would have just taken what I needed in the first place. We've got to change the way we think of attendance. It's hurting and killing people.

likesmarthelpful

How about stop exposing me to this virus? And stop exposing my children. Because I have to take off when they quarantine and when students expose me. Stop overworking us. I have no prep. Ever. Often I don’t get lunch. So I take a day off to write IEPs, FBAs, SCIA reports, and assessment reports that I couldn’t stay up late enough for.

likehelpful

We get extra pay for covering during our preps, but it’s not a choice. We have so few subs that we have to cover. And while extra pay is nice, it doesn’t buy back the time we lose during the day. That time then gets extracted from our evenings and weekends when most of us would rather spend time on non-work activities and people. Family comes to mind.

likeupliftingsmarthelpful

I don't know, maybe a... LESS TOXIC WORK ENVIRONMENT?! If admin is complaining about teachers taking time off, they need to look in a damn mirror and improve the climate. Blaming that on the teachers is wrong. The "incentives" here need to be something that makes teachers actively want to come to work.

likesmart

In Illinois, we can bank unused sick days to retire early. Also, my district either pays us for unused personal days, or allows us to convert them to sick days. That helps. I still use personal days when I want to, but I only take sick days if I have to.

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Being able to bank my days to retire early would definitely motivate me. That is great that you are able to do that.

like

Create a policy that allows teachers to use unused sick days leading up to their retirement. Or pay teachers for the unused sick days when they retire. I will be 55 in Sept.. I saved up 30 days (not many compared to a lot of people) thinking I could use the days next year and not come back. I found out I cannot use my sick days nor will I be paid for them. They can only be used as service credit with the state. Each sick day will equal about 75 cents a month towards my retirement. So 30 days comes out to about $20 a month. I will be expected to start the year and work until my BDay. If I could use sick days I could retire at the beginning of summer. Instead I have to come back and they will have to hire someone in Sept to replace me. Not much incentive for holding onto sick days.

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Since your days are part of your compensation structure, use the days then. They are useless if they are worth $20 for a month. You need to take some long weekends as you approach retirement.

like

Why in the world would we not use our PTO? Am I missing something here?

like

Absolutely nothing. If I need a day, then I'm going to take the day. I'm a teacher but I'm also a woman and a mother. I go out of town, I have appointments, or maybe I'm just tired. In addition to math I hope to teach kids that you definitely should work hard but sometimes you need to have a seat and rest. I can't stand covering class but life happens to us all and I'll do it.

like

I always hear, people don’t treat us like professionals. This is one of the reasons why. We have a school in our district with the same issue. It makes all of us look bad.

likefunny

My days don't count towards my retirement and I only get paid for a certain quantity when I do retire. If I need a day for an appointment or some other reason, I take it. I never use all the days that I am given each year, but use whatever days I need. I do not give any attention to what day of the week those days happen to fall on. They fall whenever I need them. My administrator made a comment to me in November about now being allowed to miss anymore days because my class misbehaved while I was out. I have taken a day since without an issue because my admin was just joking.

smart

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