My girlfriend is soon to become HS or secondary education public school math teacher in the USA. I was reading some HS contracts and I dont see any "vacation days".

At best I only saw 2 "personal" days in one contact.

Can you not take a vacation while school is in session?

I am a huge skier and was wondering if this is the end of our serious ski trip career limiting us to only when kids are off from school.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not putting this as an answer at this stage, because I'm not sure if the question fits here. But anyway: in Australia at least, you take holidays when the kids are on holidays (and even then there are sometimes school commitments during holidays). It would be a very open-minded school principal indeed who let his/her teachers not turn up during school term, since they would have to hire a relief teacher for the time you were away. $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2015 at 5:48
  • $\begingroup$ I asked a meta question about questions like this, since I'm not sure if they are on-topic: meta.matheducators.stackexchange.com/q/452/2074 $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2015 at 10:25
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    $\begingroup$ In the UK even asking the question would be frowned upon at the very least. Certainly the answer would be no at any rate. Supply teachers can be very expensive and you are certain to lose continuity in teaching. $\endgroup$
    – Karl
    Apr 28, 2015 at 13:59
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    $\begingroup$ I am so curious where you are now. Do teachers really get vacation days anywhere? I teach at a community college. We have as good a policy as I've ever heard of. I am allowed to take 6 personal days a year. But they are not supposed to be for vacation. More like personal business needs - signing papers to buy my house is an example. I get over two months in summer (though I do lots of prep while I'm off), and almost a month in December-January. $\endgroup$
    – Sue VanHattum
    Apr 28, 2015 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ I have always worked in software/ the tech industry so I really don't know much about secondary education policies. My girlfriend is graduating in December. $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2015 at 14:08

2 Answers 2


Schools in the US typically have summer breaks of about two months, a winter break of about two weeks, a spring break of one week, and often at least a few days for fall break. The dates for those vacations are usually known well in advance of the beginning of each school year. Therefore, schools generally expect you to plan your vacations for those times when school isn't in session, and they aren't usually sympathetic to requests for substantial time off for purely recreational activities. After all, they have to provide substitutes when you're gone, and in most districts, a substitute teacher who can do justice to secondary math instruction is a rare thing.

It is not unusual to have a small allotment of personal days that are intended for unexpected short term situations (my district gives three per year). However, regularly using the entire allotment without a pretty good reason--especially on consecutive days--would be considered less than professional by many administrators.

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    $\begingroup$ I have so much more respect for teachers since finding this out. You really need to plan your life around the school year. $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2015 at 3:02
  • $\begingroup$ I know yes only about three months of holidays. $\endgroup$ Jul 22, 2015 at 12:23

In the United States, you get a few personal days to use as you choose, some sick days, and some "professional days" to improve your teaching skills. Other than that, you basically get your holidays when the children do. In fact, you lose some of those days for in-services and a few other duties. The school does need to hire substitute teachers for days you are gone, and interruptions make it more difficult for the students to learn. So plan your ski days carefully, drop skiing, or don't take a teaching job.


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