For whatever reason, sometimes we need to take time away from our jobs. Whether it’s to time to start a family and nuture relationships, taking hard-earned Long Service Leave, or tending to the many unexpected obstacles life throws our way, many teachers take some time away from their teaching duties during their careers.
But for Languages teachers, it seems, it’s not so easy. On our Facebook page, Mrs. R was frustrated and disappointed to know that just one week before going on maternity leave to have her second child, she was yet to find a replacement. She lamented that there are “so many jobs are out there, and not enough quality staff to fill them”. Ms. M joined in the conversation with her own concerns, “It really makes me wonder if and when I leave what will happen at my school”.
I myself took what I thought would be one year of leave to spend time in Japan to work and improve my proficiency. That one year turned into three. While I was gone there were at least 6 people who filled my shoes, and the lack of continuity meant the program suffered. The worst thing I could have done when I returned was to return to that same school. I was starting from scratch all over again, and it was quite depressing.
Several years later in my new position I took two years out to start a family. I was lucky that a) I was given input in who my replacement might be, and b) I teach in a popular coastal area, and so finding a replacement wasn’t difficult. For those in regional areas though, where supply is already a concern, it puts a lot of pressure on teachers who spend years building up a program, and in Ms. M’s words, “don’t want to see it all fall to bits just because they can’t find a replacement to come out here”.
Have you taken extended leave and what have been your experiences in finding a suitable replacement?
What have been your experiences returning from extended leave?
Have you had to postpone or have you been refused leave for this reason?
Have you filled in for someone who’s been on leave?
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