Teaching is an odd profession. Most if not all “promotions” require a person to stop being a teacher. This reality makes these changes more daunting than for many other professions. There are many people who are livelong teachers and will never consider a “promotion”. That’s a valid choice, teach on! If you’re wondering about the options inside the board, read on!
There are two main types of promotions that are seen as a natural progression from teaching within a board. They entail different job duties and should be considered if you enjoy the respective types of work.
Administration: The main role of a principal is to be a manager. We call them educational leaders and describe the vision we want them to have of schools and education, but at the end of the day can they manage people? Do you like people? Can you give clear direct feedback in a sensitive and respectful way? Can you advocate for your staff at the school board? Are you comfortable with uncertainty? Can you let go of control and give others autonomy? Are you comfortable with conflict? Can you meet deadlines and organize your time?
Consultant: There are several types of consultant positions. In general, what they have in common is supporting teachers. These positions involve developing materials and tools to help teachers in their classrooms. These roles are non managerial. That means you can’t actually tell anyone what to do. Your job is to listen to the needs of specific teachers or groups of teachers and find ways to help them. Either with suggestions of methods, strategies or other implementable options. This a good choice for people that like people and research. Consultants should also have a thick enough skin that they don’t take things too personally. A rejection of a method/philosophy/idea should be water off a duck’s back to them.
Once you’ve considered your career path, you still don’t know if you’ll enjoy the new position. Often, we like the idea of something more than the reality. There is an agreement in the RTU local that gives you some grace time to try out a non-teaching position.
Temporary positions can be tried out for up to 2 years without losing tenure. Permanent positions can be tried out for 1 year without losing tenure. This means that you retain your fulltime permanent position, and your post at your school.
In either case you have one further year where you retain your permanency, but not your school post. After that year you lose your permanent position, but come back at top of the recall list. After 3 years, you start back at the bottom.
These grace years are not part of the provincial agreement. They are part of the RTU-RSB locally negotiated agreement. The RTU has accepted these clauses as membership has shown a desire for them. The hope is that it will allow for a higher quality of administrator and consultant. In general, RTU and QPAT do not like permanent positions being held by people who are not teaching. No one wants half the permanent positions in a board being held by the administrators and consultants indefinitely. That would mean around 60 permanent positions would be held until retirement by non-teachers, that RTU and QPAT do not represent. Remember, once you leave teaching RTU and QPAT no longer represent you. RTU and QPAT membership is based on professionally teaching, not teaching as an identity.
These are 2 main banks of days that teachers in the RSB can use during the school year.
The first is sick days. They are what they sound like, if you or a minor in your care is ill you use a sick day to cover it. These are generally last minute-ish. They are not planned days.
A 100% teacher has 6 of these a year. A part time teacher has their % of 6 a year.
Currently, any unused sick days are paid out as a day of work on a separate paycheck at the end of the year. If you are in Voc Ed, this payment is rolled into your last paycheck of the year.
SPECIAL LEAVE DAYS
There are several subcategories of special leave days. These sub-categories have their own total amounts allowed, and circumstances they cover. Some of the most used reasons are medical appointments, bereavements, and family responsibilities.
Unused days of this type are not paid out at the end of the year.
These days are NOT refunded in case of emergency non-workdays. (Snow days)
Some of the categories require documentation. Documentation can be requested for others, but it’s rare.
Whatever Combination of categories are used, the yearly overall cap is 8 days a year for a 100% teacher. A part time teacher has their % of 8 a year.
There are basic conditions for these days negotiated at the provincial level, and further details or benefits negotiated at the local level. The local negotiations must fall within the provincial guidelines.
Medical appointments and Family Responsibilities
A full-time teacher has up to 5 days that can be used for medical appointments. A part time teacher has their % of 5 a year. They can be taken in full day or half day increments.
Planning these days and submitting them to AESOP in advance can increase your chances of having your desired supply teacher cover you.
Family responsibilities in the form of illness of family members that are minors fall under this category, and can only be used if your sick day bank is empty.
Documentation is generally not required for medical appointments, but can be asked for.
The 5 days that cover medical appointments and family illness is also used to cover:
There are days for “immediate family”. Immediate family is a specific term which is defined as the people you live with, your spouse, your children, your parents, grandparents, and siblings. Parents-in-law are also included. In these cases, you have up to 5 days starting within a week of their death.
Brothers or sisters-in-law, sons or daughters-in-law, or grandchildren are not considered immediate family, but you get 1 day to attend their funeral. Extra days are available if you must travel over certain distances to the funeral.
There are no other Special leave bereavement leaves.
Documentation can be requested. (Obituary, other death announcement)
Other Reasons for Special Leaves
This one is tempting and vague. The Board has to approve of these on a case by case basis, and they generally reject everything. If your pipes burst in the morning, you might be able to use this one. As a rule, whatever is happening, the board doesn’t consider it urgent business. Documentation is always required.
My reason isn’t here!
Unfortunately, then there probably isn’t a special leave category that covers you. You can ask for a leave without pay. These need to be submitted to your administration in advance and are subject to approval. If approved, you won’t need to work that day, but you also won’t get paid. No days that prolong summer, Christmas or March break are granted. Contact us for advice in advance, and then email your principal.
However, if it’s jury duty, professional improvement, a pandemic, or certain other reasons there are specific non-negotiated, non-benefit, codes that have you covered to some degree. Some of these don’t include getting paid, just not getting disciplined.
If you are a no-show or caught mis-using sick days/special leave days, you can be disciplined.
Why aren’t all the absence codes listed here?
This article focused on the days that are related to your personal circumstances that you can use paid time off for. These are benefits that the unions have negotiated for and continue to defend. Many of the absence codes cover situations that are not negotiated benefits, but edicts from other government bodies, or the administration.
I have a weird specific scenario…
Contact us! Give us a call, send us an email or use the above contact form to let us know. At the least, we can clarify and there may be something more we can do!
First, If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts like:
Contact 1 866 277 3553 at any time 24/7.
For more information on suicide visit Quebec.ca
Employee Assistance Plan - RSB (1 844 880 9142)
There are many mental health challenges that people face that are immediate and require the help of a professional but are not life-threatening. Some examples are personal relationship problems, losing a loved one, conflict at work, and many others. Some signs that you could use some help are:
In this case, RSB’s EAP is an excellent choice. EAP stands for Employee Assistance Plan. Through this plan yourself and your family have access to 5 hours of therapy per issue. For example, you’ve been feeling pressured at work and it’s stared to affect your ability to relax outside of work. You could use 5 hours of therapy for this. At the same time your child is being bullied at school, they can use 5 hours of therapy for this. Meanwhile, a change in job responsibilities is causing your spouse undue stress, causing irritability, they can use 5 hours for this. In addition, a family member dies, you all get an individual 5 hours to deal with this issue.
RSB is not informed which employees are using the plan or why. This would breach the prescribed standards of confidentiality set by the Quebec government.(source) Licensed therapists cannot disclose your mental health records any more than doctors can without your consent. If they do, they can be subject to disciplinary actions. This does mean that you cannot ask for your spouse’s or adult children’s records.
In order to access the EAP service any member of your family can phone 1 844 880 9142 at any time. Your family members simply need to identify which RSB employee they are related to. There is also an app that can be used. Info here.
Starling Minds - QPAT
If you want to follow a program on your own time that will help with skills for general well-being and to practice before a crisis, then starling minds may be a good choice. This program is provided to you and your family by QPAT. If you were considering headspace, or other paid for well-being apps, try this one first. This site is about practising new ways to think, breathe and approach life. It’s a long term endeavour. You don’t wait for the big game to try a slap shot, and the same applies here. Use this program right now! Practice the techniques when life is easier, so that when it’s hard you use them automatically.
Stay healthy and know that there are help services there for you!
edited March 24 to make EAP number easier to find.
One of the benefits afforded to teachers in our provincial system is the ability to take leaves of absence. Most leaves are unpaid but allow a teacher to retain their permanent position and seniority while taking up to two years off work. There are three main types of leaves of absence, part-time leaves, deferred pay leave, and full-time leaves.
1. Part time leave
For example, this type of leave is when a teacher would like to work 80% instead of a hundred percent. You work and are paid according to the percentage you remain working. This type of leave is most often granted to elementary school teachers because the scheduling is easier.
2. Deferred pay leave
This type of leave is an agreement that lasts for 4 or 5 years.
If you opt for the 4-year plan, each of the years you receive 75% salary. You work three years at 100% and take the last year off.
In the 5-year plan, each year you receive 80% salary. You work four years and take the fifth year off.
3. Full-time leave for up to 2 years
Is what it sounds like. You don’t work in education, and they don’t pay you.
There are some key things to take into account when considering a leave.
Once the board agrees to your request for a leave it is considered binding.
The board is under no obligation to take you back early or provide you with 100% work. Weigh your situation carefully before asking for a leave.
Questions to answer before requesting any type of leave:
Budget, can you afford a cut in your salary?
What happens if your partner loses their job and you were the only bread winner?
Will you miss working?
What are some of the intangibles you get from going to work every day?
Do you have a plan for your year off?
Additional Things to consider for Full-Time leaves:
In the case of deferred leaves and partial leaves of 80%, work pension and insurance are unaffected. In all cases, seniority is unaffected, you accrue one year seniority as if you worked. However, you may not increase on the pay scale unless you work the equivalent of 155 days of the 200. The year off in deferred and full-time leaves result in a year you do not increase your pay step.
So, you’ve answered all of the above question and thought about your budgets, and you want to do it? Awesome! All you need to do is fill out the linked form and submit it to HR before March 1st.