I bet I am opening another can of worms here, but this is a topic which really drives me up the walls. We all know it’s not being handled correctly…but we are all avoid it. It’s one of those “lets not talk about this” issues. Well, guess what, I want to talk about it. I really do.
If we all want to make this a respectable and stable profession, one of which we can all live confortably and feel proud of, we have to start by doing things right. And I mean all, teachers and academies. It is a joint venture, we are all in the same boat.
But employers (academy and school owners) are being utterly unfair with teachers concerning sick leaves and maternity leaves. Shame on us.
Why is nobody talking about this?
I will mention several cases I’ve seen recently as an example. I am sure you can all come up with various of your own.
- Case 1. Last year, a new teacher called us from one of our clients saying she had stop for the day as she was feeling really sick. I am obsessed with teachers having the right to be ill…so I always look for options for substitutions etc. Our answer was “of course, go back home and rest”. Thirty minutes later she was at the academy and, when I asked her why she hadn’t gone straight back home she answered many academies “seem to get angry when a teacher gets ill” and she wanted to explain in person she was feeling horribly.
I beg your pardon?
Of course I sent her straight back home and said I wanted no more such nonsense.
But it hurt my “employer” side that and employee felt she had to do such a thing.
- Case 2: Another teacher broke her hip last year. So we gave her the sick leave. For those who don’t know, this means, in Spain and in broad terms, that the employer has to pay the employee a certain number of days or months. Part of this is then (much later) returned by the Social Security or the Health Insurance (depending on the type of leave). But the employer pays in advance a percentage of the salary every month (as I said it depends on the case). This is why many employers don’t like sick leaves, because we have to advance money, pay for a substitute and we don’t get all the money back. But it is a worker’s right.After her leave, she got back to work, and taught her classes. Up until this point everything is as it should be.
I went off on holiday and got an e-mail from her saying she wanted to have a meeting. As I was not in Madrid my teacher coordinator met with her. Our surprise was she tought I was “angry because she had broken her hip“.
Again… are we out of our minds?
This teacher is not with us anymore, but because she decided the hours she was offered (and she was offered those hours again as she is a great teacher) were not worth it this year. Independently of how she left (it’s always those you treat better that bite your hand), we understood it and still consider her a great teacher.
- Case 3. One of our French teachers (she’s been with us for five years now) is getting married soon and is pregnant. The baby is due for Christmas, and I have already talked to her and told her she will have her maternity leave as any employee should.
She never talks about other academies but, from her face, and from other cases I’ve know, I am certain 90% of the academies she is working with will cease her contract for the duration of the leave. And of course, “will be delighted to have her back once she gets back to work”.Sorry guys but things don’t work that way. If she has been a loyal and efficient employee it is our duty to do things correctly and arrange the paperwork for her to have her proper maternity leave. And her salary while she is taking care of her baby.
Teachers have a right to have babies, get injured or be sick. Academies have to stop messing around with contracts and do things correctly.
How the f…k (excuse my French) are we going to keep good, stable teachers if we don’t give them proper security?
I know paperwork in Spain is a mess (I suffer it every day), I know in the end it’s the employers who pay the costs, I know many teachers will not appreciate it if we do things by the book. But it is a matter of correct procedure, teachers’ right and image.
Sorry…but I had to get this out of my mind. Things are changing (I know many out there are sceptic…but they are). Lets make sure the change is for the good of the best asset we have in teaching: OUR TEACHERS.