“Did they say anything else?” asked Lionel.
“Yes, they did. Many of your students have told me that it takes forever for you to get their term papers and lab reports marked.”
“They’ve painted a very bleak picture of my job performance,” said Lionel shifting uneasily in his chair. He felt his face starting to redden.
“Yes, indeed they have. But there’s one important fact to keep in mind, Lionel. All these negative reports have occurred after your loss of Edith. I have also noticed a big change in you. You now appear to be slouching and you walk very slowly with your head down. You now rarely have coffee with the other faculty in the lounge.”
“Well, now that you’ve told me all this Edward, I’ll try to pull my socks up and do a better job,” said Lionel.
“Oh, I know that you will but not until at least one year from now. Lionel, I’m granting you a sabbatical leave starting today. Don’t worry about money. The university will continue to send you pay cheques over the next year. You’ve been paying into the deferred salary leave plan for several years now and you deserve a break from teaching. I have full confidence that in one year you will return to your duties a new man. This university owes you, Lionel. In the past you have been one of the best teachers this university has ever had.”
Although Lionel had been very disheartened from hearing the negative reports from his students he knew that they were true. However, he had to admit that he felt relieved like a great burden had been lifted off his shoulders. Lionel knew that he was not in any shape to continue teaching at this season in his life.
“Thank you, Edward. You have been very kind to me. I must admit that I am far from over the death of my wife. She meant the world to me and we had such a wonderful life together. When I return to work next year I will not only be as good a teacher as I used to be. I will be better.”
“ I know you will, Lionel. Oh, by the way, we’ll need to think of a research project that you will be working on during your sabbatical. That’s the administrations rule but don’t worry about it. It’s just a formality. When you think of a project you might be interested in give me a call.”
“I will definitely do that and I”ll get back to you with my answer sometime next week.” After he left the dean’s office Lionel said good bye to the dean’s secretary, Marjorie. He decided that he would head over to the university’s pub to think about a research project.