Originally Posted by Anemic Dog
The personal commitment expected of teachers is not easy--it's tough! And they get crappy compensation for their commitment. Yes, they typically get 9-10 weeks free in the summertime, but normally are allowed only 2 personal-leave days during the entire rest of the year. That's a much more stringent attendance schedule than almost any other professional.
In making the choice to leave before formal approval was given, Rachel took a (implied) stand that she would put her personal life first before her professional life in a rare circumstance. In forcing her resignation, the school board took the stand that teachers must always choose their professional life over their personal life in matters that will exceed the 2-day leave limit. Both have their reasons, neither is right or wrong.
And, they both win.
The school board had to hire a substitute. (They would've had to do this whether or not they granted Rachel's leave.) But in forcing her to cancel her contract, they now save money during the rest of the school year, since they don't have to pay the substitute as much salary-wise as what they paid Rachel, nor do they have to cough up benefits for the substitute. The cost to them is that they've disrupted the education continuity for the students MUCH more than what they would've if they'd just granted Rachel a couple weeks leave. But they were willing to do that to send the message to their other teachers that lengthy personal pursuits are not allowed during most of the year.
Rachel wins as well. There are tons, TONS, of teaching openings. With her experience and intelligence along with massive vacancies, she is basically guaranteed a job as long as she shows up for an interview. She will have to explain the past resignation, but that's an easy past to overlook, from a hirer's standpoint. She will have a job next school year. The biggest downside for her might be the inconvenience of having to move if her new job is too far away. Big deal. She's young and talented and flexible.
And she's a risk-taker. That's a great character-trait to model for students. It didn't work out perfectly for her in this instance, but it didn't hurt her either. Losing a teaching job is no big deal. 20 opportunities calling your name for every 1 opportunity closed.
My own opinion is that the school board made a mistake, and they know it but felt backed into a corner because she left prematurely. Rachel probably also felt backed into a corner, having used the proper procedure for applying for leave but then needing it (due to producer demands) before the monthly school board meeting. School boards don't deal with issues daily--in most towns the school board is a group of volunteers who meet and approve issues once-a-month only. In this case, timing was off.
The only ones who don't get any benefit out of this are the students. It's unfortunate that the school board did this to them--the board permanently stripped those kids of teacher who wanted much less time off than a teacher usually gets for maternity/paternity leave. Timing of a pregnancy is very much a choice these days--yet teachers who choose to have children during the school year are NOT forced to resign for missing 30-40 teaching days for newborns. Two separate issues (marriage pursuit vs. children), yet both are equally PERSONAL and would require professional leave. IMO the school board took too strong of a stand, at the expense of the kids, but at the benefit of the school's pocketbook.
P.S. I could get time off from my job any time I want without fear of being canned, and I certainly get higher pay than a teacher's salary and . It's too bad that teachers don't have the flexibility of personal leave that the rest of America's employed have. No easy answer here.