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Sabbatical? Take one if you can

July 17, 2014 pm31 11:59 pm

My sabbatical is winding down. A full year of classes, travel, visiting schools, and no teaching.

I turned 50, hiked to Machu Pichhu, studied cryptography.

I am relaxed and healthier.

Over the next month and a half I will tell some sabbatical stories in this space.

But for now, I’m worried about one particular story: yours.

If you are eligible, you should do this. The time is amazing. The stress on the job is too great. The opportunity to learn is wonderful. And the time to do other things is too.

What are you waiting for?  You need to be in your fourteenth year when you apply.

The DoE memo comes up in February. They leave you a window of about two weeks to get the application in. It’s not enough time… so start way before February. There are UFT workshops afterschool in each borough in the fall. Attend. Figure out where you are going to take courses. Use last year’s memo as a template. Figure out some likely courses. They need to be rigorous and job related. And the majority (you’ll need a total of 16 credits) have to be at times that you would otherwise be teaching.

Money?  You still get 70% of your pay. After taxes, that’s a lot less of a cut than most people expect. If even that is too much, you can cut TDA for a year (but I don’t like the sound of that). Plus the year still counts towards pension. Find a way to tighten the belt a little, if you have to. But no excuses.

Many UFTers think that sabbaticals no longer exist. Wrong. Think that most applications get rejected. Wrong. Think they can’t afford one. Wrong.

So stop making excuses – get ready for the February application. You won’r regret it.

26 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2014 am31 9:57 am 9:57 am

    I agree. I took a half year first and then when I was eligible I took a full year. Nothing beats getting paid while not working. I also took some good courses, met great people, spent time with my kids and traveled.

    • July 18, 2014 pm31 1:28 pm 1:28 pm

      There are some people with legit reasons for not wanting one, but mostly people don’t take them because:
      they are unaware that sabbaticals still exist,
      they are afraid of taking a chance – even though there’s no associated risk,
      they have convinced themselves that the financial impact is far greater that it really is, or
      they have no idea how great the positive effect on their physical and mental health will be

  2. kar permalink
    February 7, 2015 pm28 4:06 pm 4:06 pm

    How do i find the memo been searching

  3. Michar permalink
    September 4, 2015 pm30 6:09 pm 6:09 pm

    What do they mean by “rigorous”? I took a full year sabbatical in 2011-12 and would like to take a half year sabbatical in the spring. Last time, I took undergraduate courses in History, Sociology, and Political Science. Does “rigorous” mean that they now have to be graduate courses?

  4. Aja permalink
    November 23, 2015 pm30 1:50 pm 1:50 pm

    Trying to get one in California!! Please help!! Need help with my proposal!

    • Julie permalink
      March 6, 2016 pm31 4:32 pm 4:32 pm

      Also, you have to write a proposal? I just submitted the program description and course names. ?

      • March 6, 2016 pm31 4:37 pm 4:37 pm

        I am not certain.

        When I applied, they still did paper applications. Now I understand they are totally on line.

  5. Anita permalink
    March 6, 2016 am31 11:23 am 11:23 am

    Thank you for the information. What math courses or schools are suitable for the sabbatical? Are there schools with sabbatical classes that are automatically accepted?

    • March 6, 2016 am31 11:38 am 11:38 am

      There are three Rs:
      job Related
      during Regular school hours.

      “Rigorous”? – I really do not know what that means.

      I took graduate courses – but I do not see any requirement that they be graduate courses. GC in my school took undergraduate courses (mostly in Psychology). Friend of mine is taking history courses, I think they are undergraduate.

      Sorry not to know more. I don’t think any courses are “automatically accepted”.

  6. Julie permalink
    March 6, 2016 pm31 4:30 pm 4:30 pm

    I’ve applied for one, but as of now, the university doesn’t have catalogs that show the actual class times. So how do I prove that they’re during the day? Also, it’s out of state. I think I’ve read that this is okay, but they won’t know the university very well.

    • March 6, 2016 pm31 4:32 pm 4:32 pm

      Use the course listings from 2015 – 2016. Then, if the times have changed, file a change of course request with the DoE for the same or similar courses. That’s what I did – I think that’s what most people do. Most colleges don’t have their fall schedules ready yet.

  7. jeffrey brotherton permalink
    April 30, 2016 pm30 5:24 pm 5:24 pm

    Valuable analysis , I am thankful for the specifics , Does anyone know where my assistant might locate a fillable a form document to type on ?

  8. maw permalink
    January 12, 2017 pm31 7:32 pm 7:32 pm

    Has anyone found any links or anything to apply on the DOE website yet? And did anyone take classes at CUNY? A community college, or do we just matriculate into a program? I don’t think I’d be finishing any more degrees (I have a PhD).

  9. Teacher permalink
    March 27, 2017 pm31 1:13 pm 1:13 pm

    Sorry for replying to an old post but I am searching for information. I am interested in taking a half year sabbatical but I would like to take classes possibly abroad. Would something like this ever be approved? I understand that online courses are prohibited but I am fine with taking classes full time.

    • Dr. Marcus A Watson permalink
      February 18, 2018 am28 11:24 am 11:24 am

      Hi, I am actually on a full year sabbatical from the NYCDOE this year, I am taking a total of 17 credits in Computer Programming and GIS at BMCC, a total of five classes for the year. My application was approved, but I had to call HR like 5 times over 4 days as the time was running out on my application in March/April last year because I feel they were stalling the approval. Other than that, it has been a great year.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 21, 2020 pm29 12:17 pm 12:17 pm

        Did you have to apply to college??????

    • karen hillam permalink
      August 2, 2019 pm31 6:36 pm 6:36 pm

      This is exactly my question too. I want to do it abroad in a spanish speaking country.

  10. Jessica permalink
    February 15, 2018 pm28 3:07 pm 3:07 pm

    Hi. Can someone point me in the direction of where I should be looking for classes? I am going to apply for a spring 2019 sabbatical and need only 8 credits to reach my masters plus 30. Thanks!

  11. Marie O'Connor permalink
    March 11, 2018 am31 9:18 am 9:18 am

    THANKS your post on sabbaticals inspired me to take one….can’t wait

  12. Jessica Cerutti permalink
    June 12, 2018 pm30 2:16 pm 2:16 pm

    Has anyone done a research project sabbatical? I see I have the option to do a research
    project OR classes.

  13. Tamra L Plotnick permalink
    March 9, 2019 pm31 2:17 pm 2:17 pm

    I am trying to find out the same thing. I would like to see an example of a research project that was approved.

  14. Myriam Victoria permalink
    September 12, 2019 pm30 6:07 pm 6:07 pm

    Thank you for this writing.
    Can I please contact you about your sabbatical?

    A burnt-out teacher

  15. Waleska Serrano permalink
    June 11, 2020 pm30 7:05 pm 7:05 pm

    Thank you for this! Taking my sabbatical this fall of 2020 after lots of consideration.

    • January 2, 2021 am31 7:33 am 7:33 am

      What if someone takes a sabbatical in one of their final 3 years before retirement, would the lower salary (70%) be calculated into their final average salary (FAS) for determining their pension? ( For pensions, I believe, the 3 highest consecutive salaries are averaged, which is usually a teacher’s final 3 years)

      • January 3, 2021 am31 11:35 am 11:35 am

        You are committed to returning for two full years after a study sabbatical.

        They are paying you (70% of your salary) while you are not working.

        If you do not complete the 2 years, you owe them the 70% that they paid you in your sabbatical year.

        That part I know. I assume that if you stay two, that the sabbatical factors in to your final average salary – but I DO NOT KNOW. Need to check that one with a leave specialist or a pensions specialist.

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