Do Now: Be careful as you consider your options, for these are treacherous waters you wade in. For on one hand, you have ten sick/personal days in your bank. Translation: you’re one phone call away from a day off, a respite, a breather in the marathon of the school year. But remember, school administrators frown upon “strategic” days off. Taking the day off before a holiday to create a compound holiday? Be prepared to explain yourself. Consistently taking Mondays off so you can enjoy all-you-can-drink sangria brunches on the West Side? Good idea, but we’re going to have to see a doctor’s note for that.
The key to success, in this case, is attitude. If you get the inquisition for taking a few days off, throw it back in their faces. There’s a contract, you can say, that guarantees me a specific number of days off per year. Per this document, it is within our right to exercise this option when we deem necessary. If you’re having a bad week, a mental health day is justified. If you are ill, take a sick day off. If you have a high school friend in town, use a “personal” day. It doesn’t matter what you attach in front of the day; what matters is that it’s your day.
The only real thing standing in the way, then, is your own conscience. But remember two things: (1) you’re a human being, a tireless machine of flesh, blood, muscles, and teacher stares that sometimes needs some maintenance work and (2) if you still feel remorseful, just remember that above all else, your students have taken many more “days” then you can even dream of having in that bank of yours.