How to Take a Leave of Absence From Teaching

Requesting a leave of absence as a teacher should be done as soon as possible.

Taking a leave of absence from teaching has a major impact on students. Teachers that leave the classroom for an extended period of time require replacement by a substitute or replacement teacher, which affects the education of students in that teacher’s classroom. Whether or not you are granted your request for a leave of absence is determined by the school for which you work and the reasons for which you are asking to leave temporarily. Health, family illness and sabbatical leaves are the most commonly requested reasons teachers take an extended amount of time from their jobs. Whether or not you are paid during your leave of absence also depends on several factors.

Compose a leave of absence request letter to provide to the principal of your school and/or the school board, depending on the policy where you teach.

Place the date and the name of your boss at the top of your letter. Follow that with a greeting, your request and the reason behind your request. For example:

July 18, 2011

Dear Mr. Smith,

Due to his rapidly declining health issues, my father’s doctor has determined he has only a matter of weeks to live. I am formally requesting a 60 day leave of absence to assist my mother in caring for my father during his remaining weeks as well as plan for his funeral and assist my mother in becoming situated once it is all over. Because I live 3,000 miles away from my parents, it is not possible for me to work and help care for my father in his final days. I will return to my class ready to resume the education of my students on October 1 with my full attention and passion for education. Should you wish to speak with me, please contact me at [email protected] or 333-555-8888. Thank you.


Jane Doe

Sign your letter and provide a copy to your boss. Submit your letter as far in advance as possible – if you can – so that your boss can find adequate replacement for your position so that your students’ education does not suffer.

Tiffany Raiford has several years of experience writing freelance. Her writing focuses primarily on articles relating to parenting, pregnancy and travel. Raiford is a graduate of Saint Petersburg College in Florida.