Teacher Receives Over 100 Sick Leave Donations from Colleagues

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. exhaust / ɪgˈzɔst / (v) – to fully consume or use up

    I’ve exhausted all my energy after playing with my three-year-old son.

  2. diagnose / ˈdaɪ əgˌnoʊs / (v) – to determine what kind of disease a person has

    After undergoing various medical tests, she was diagnosed with skin cancer.

  3. pour in / pɔr ɪn / (phrasal) – to arrive in great numbers continuously

    Shoppers poured in immediately after the mall opened for its Christmas sale.

  4. contingency plan / kənˈtɪn dʒən si plæn / (n) – preparation or arrangement done in case of a possible future event

    The family prepared a contingency plan in case of an earthquake.

  5. catastrophic / ˌkæt əˈstrɒf ɪk / (adj) – characterized by great suffering or destruction

    The volcanic eruption was catastrophic!


Read the text below.

A teacher received a donation of more than 100 sick leaves from his colleagues so he can care for his daughter who has cancer.

David Green is a faculty member of Mae Jemison High School in Huntsville, Alabama. Green has already exhausted all of his sick leaves at work to stay with his one-year-old daughter, Kinsley, at the hospital. His daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, a type of blood cancer, when she was 10 months old. Since then, his daughter has been receiving treatment at a medical facility in Birmingham, a city more than an hour drive from Huntsville.

After Green ran out of sick leaves, his wife posted about the family’s situation on Facebook. Green’s wife pleaded teachers from Alabama to donate their sick leaves to her husband so they can be together as a family during Kinsley’s treatment.

The Facebook post became viral, and a local TV station even featured the Greens’ story. Sick leave donations poured in from teachers and school personnel from all over the state. The Greens expressed gratitude for people’s overwhelming response after getting so much more sick leave donations than what they were expecting.

Donating and borrowing sick leaves is part of a contingency plan among teachers in the state of Alabama. The Huntsville school district has created a sick leave bank that allows school personnel to borrow or donate sick leaves. Members with a catastrophic injury or illness or who have a family member in the said condition can borrow sick leaves from the bank. The sick leaves are paid, so members do not lose compensation during times of illness.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• If you were a member of Huntsville’s sick leave bank, would you donate your leaves to Green? Why or why not?
• Do you think the idea of borrowing and donating sick leaves from colleagues is a good idea? Explain.

Discussion B

• In your opinion, how many work leaves should an employee get per year? Discuss.
• Aside from sick leaves, what other types of leaves should be implemented in your country (e.g. birthday leave, marriage leave)? Explain.