I put in for a personal day for April 27, 2009. It was rejected, fairly, under the clause in my teacher contract that states that personal days cannot be used to extend school vacations. However, the superintendent reserves the right to make exceptions. Here is my plea.
As I discussed in an earlier post, I will be traveling to Manchester to see Manchester United play Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on the 25th. To be back at work on Monday, I’d have to fly out of Manchester the next day, which presents a problem. Any American who follows English football knows that the games take place on Saturdays, Sundays, Monday nights, and occasionally on Wednesdays. The schedule is released in the summer but is hardly in its final form at that time. No, the Premier League, much like the NFL, employs the “flexible schedule”, which allows games to be moved with only seven days notice. That makes booking a flight home rather difficult. The game, currently scheduled for Saturday, could possibly be moved to Sunday, so if I bought a ticket for a Sunday flight, I’d be out of luck. Flights to North America tend to leave in the morning, and finding an evening flight has been impossible. If the game were guaranteed to take place on Saturday, there’d be no problem. It seems the safest way to make plans would be to fly on Monday, but that would require missing a day of work. Therefore, I put in for the personal day, which has already been rejected.
This is a trip I’ve been planning for years. I took on after school detention duty, a job that almost no teacher wants, to help pay for its hefty cost. If I could go in the summer, I would, but the summer is the offseason for soccer. Believe me, my wife would be a whole lot happier going to see Wimbledon than going to see Liverpool’s Anfield stadium, the new FA Museum, and Old Trafford. The weather would be much more pleasant in the summer months, but I’m not going for the weather.
I started this blog as an example to my Essay Writing class, and the concluding experience is this trip to Manchester. I’d be willing to write about my trip for the school paper, too. While I’m bargaining, if I’m allowed to use this one personal day, I won’t use the remaining one I have for this year. In the two and a half years that I’ve been employed here, the vast majority of days I’ve missed are due to the deaths of my sister and grandmother. I’ve never been late and I’m very good at my job.
When I told friends and colleagues of my quandary with scheduling my trip, some told me to “just call in sick.” I said no. I have a standard. I only call in sick when I actually am sick. I don’t lie, I don’t “bend the truth”, I don’t cut in line, and I don’t cheat. If I’m going to get this day off, I want to be honest and straightforward about it. If I don’t get the day, so be it. I’ll schedule the trip, schedule the flight out of Manchester for Sunday, and pray the date does not change. If it changes, I’ll figure out what do do then.