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Teacher Plans A Sick Day Every Other Monday To Get Through Her Earned PTO

Photo: Drazen Zigic / Shutterstock
happy teacher in classroom

It’s often difficult to know what to do with the PTO you’ve earned. Should you hold on to it in case something comes up and you need it, or should you go ahead and use it while you still have it?

One teacher decided to do the latter and says she doesn’t regret it at all.

An Idaho teacher used her PTO so she could live every other Monday as a stay-at-home mom.

Carly Anderson is a former teacher from Idaho who found a unique way to use her PTO. “Every other Monday, I plan a sub day, and it is my favorite day of make-believe,” she said in a TikTok. “I drop the kids off at school, I go to Target, have lunch with a girlfriend. It’s like I’m fully committed to the stay-at-home mom act.”

   

   

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Anderson admitted it does get difficult at the end of the day, though. “This is where it gets tricky,” she said. “Right now, I’m in the carpool lane about to pick up [my daughter] Scarlett. All of my students are going to wave at me.”

Ultimately, Anderson didn’t let the fact that students recognized her bother her. “I fully act like I’ve never stepped foot in that building before and like I didn’t just plan every single lesson she learned,” she explained.

Commenters had mixed reactions to Anderson's frequent PTO use. Some commended her, asking for advice on how to take time off as a teacher. "Show us your ways," one user urged. 

However, others were in shock over Anderson’s actions, unable to understand how she could possibly be taking so much time off. I feel guilty taking one day off. Could never do that,” one person wrote. “Every other Monday? I can’t even get a sub once a year,” a third user said.

In a follow-up video a year later, Anderson addressed the drama that ensued. 

“I was given a lot of grief for this video,” she said, referring to her original post. “I’m now a stay-at-home mom for real, and I have to say that I do not regret my sub days one bit.”

   

   

She explained that everything worked out fine. “All 27 of my fourth graders moved on to fifth grade, they did amazing on their state testing, life went on for them, and for me, I was able to focus on what was important at that time, which was my pregnancy,” she stated.

Anderson left viewers with some parting advice. “So, this is my tip, teachers: check how many sick days you have and find out what happens to them if you were to quit or retire."

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This new video was not without its share of conflict either.

One person commented, “As a parent, I would be so disappointed if my child’s teacher was taking that much time.” To that, Anderson replied, “Comments like these are a big reason teachers are quitting. Two days a month is well-deserved for all a teacher puts up with.”

Another TikTok creator and teacher weighed in on the issue.

Brittany Blackwell, a fellow teacher who says she is “empowering teachers to break the burnout cycle,” made a video responding to Anderson’s.

   

   

“If you’re a teacher you’re probably thinking, ‘How do I do this?’” she stated, addressing the negativity the video generated. “I saw people in the comments saying, ‘I could never,’ or expressing that they would feel guilty, worried about the sub shortage, or a negative evaluation, or even getting fired.”

“This may be an unpopular opinion,” Blackwell continued. “If you earn those days, and they are a benefit of your job, use them or you lose them.”

However, it’s important to remember that this is not feasible for many teachers. As many commenters pointed out on Blackwell's video, most teachers are not given enough PTO to establish this sort of pattern, and those who do could get in serious trouble.

Despite this reality, Blackwell shared some important wisdom with teachers watching: “Let me remind you, teachers, you are not superheroes, you’re humans … If you’re not mentally, physically, or otherwise well, you cannot give your best to your students.”

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.