According to our contract, we’re entitled to five yukyu, days off that can be used as either sick days or personal leave days. Once these are used up, any additional absences, whether for sickness or any other reason, are treated as time off without pay.
In addition to our monthly salary, we’re also entitled to 5000 yen (approximately $50) merit pay for each month in which we are not late for school, do not leave early, complete the myriad of required paperwork on time, do not violate the working regulations in any way and do not take any unscheduled yukyu. In other words, if we are sick, it not only costs us one of our five yukyu days but also our merit pay for that month! I know that $50 will never make or break us but I consider that unduly harsh.
I’m a stubborn woman. I’ve had a difficult time convincing some people of that but Richard would attest to the fact! He says I come by it honestly; that I inherited the trait from my mother and my aunt. I’m okay with that. In fact, I thank them for that legacy. I don’t see anything wrong with a woman having a bit of backbone as long as she knows when to bend.
This issue of sickness and yukyu is one area where I’m not willing to bend! I have absolutely no voice today. When the sore throat of the past few days disappeared, it took my voice with it! Regardless of what shape it’s in tomorrow, I intend to be in school. I plan to save my precious yukyu days for interesting things like climbing Mt. Fuji and visiting with Matt & Robin while they’re here. I’m not willing to spend even one of them on laryngitis nor am I willing to give up my merit pay, especially since I’ve already done all the required paperwork this month and quite a bit of next month’s.
While laryngitis is definitely a teacher’s curse, if I were at home in Canada, it really wouldn’t be a problem. During my very first year of teaching, my doctor at the time introduced me to a vile smelling potion known as Friar’s Balsam. When it’s added to boiling water and the fumes are inhaled, the voice is magically restored. I know it sounds hokey but it works! Unfortunately, I didn’t think to bring any with us and finding such a thing here when all I know is the brand name and not what it actually contains, would be virtually impossible. Someone at church this morning recommended that I try Vicks VapoRub which is readily available here. I haven’t used it since I was a child but I picked some up on the way home and will try that along with the Halls lozenges which are mentholated and seem to help. I’m also drinking tea with honey. Any other suggestions would be appreciated!