Mr. Bueller’s Day Off! Why teachers miss work …

Published:October 15, 2019

Teacher absenteeism a problem?  Not exactly.  Metro News and other local news outlets recently questioned rates of attendance for teachers in the Mountain State.  Teachers in West Virginia, make no mistake, do not feel guilty about using your legally entitled sick days and personal days.

Why are teachers often absent from work?  Probably for the very same reasons any other adult misses work.

    • Teachers become sick or injured.  Who knew, right?  In a school environment with children who frequently come down with colds, viruses, and other illnesses, it’s practically a miracle teachers don’t miss work more often.   We would all love to believe that children wash their hands and practice perfect hygiene, but we all know this isn’t true.  Also, teachers suffer injuries like anyone else.  There are times where we are not physically able to work.
    • Teachers have medical appointments.  Teachers, like others, have medical issues beyond the run-of-the-mill illnesses.  Everyone knows that these appointments can become difficult to schedule and coordinating these appointments to be after 3:15 pm isn’t practical.
    • Our children need us.  Sometimes, teachers must leave or miss work because our children need care.  The fact that a large majority of teachers are women magnifies this issue, considering that mothers are often the primary caregivers for children.  Teachers love their students, but families take priority, and rightfully so. 
    • Celebrations and sadness.  Our family members graduate, achieve certain milestones, marry, and have children.  We want to take days away from work and celebrate with those individuals.  Additionally, sometimes we must miss work to mourn the loss of family and friends.  
    • Life happens.  Cars break down, traffic jams on the interstate, the furnace goes out during the winter, a water pipe bursts, or some other random incident that requires immediate attention.  No one can ignore these matters.
    • Sometimes, we just need a day off.  Mentally or physically stressed, wanting a day with family, or any reason, for that matter.  Teachers receive personal days to utilize however they like — hence, they are personal days.  Teachers do not need a reason to take these days.

Teachers do not like missing work.  It is always more work to miss a day of school.  A teacher must set up some assignment or activity for students and find a substitute teacher to fill in.  Most occupations do not require this type of setup when a worker calls off.

We enjoy a regular day of work where we get to be with our students.  We like our routines and helping children learn and we most certainly take our attendance seriously.  

Society should not guilt teachers for utilizing the sick days they negotiated to receive as work benefits. 

Take those days off as you need them, teachers.  You earned them!

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