Why did I take a sabbatical?
Well, the Covid pandemic has been a challenge for educators everywhere and I was no exception. I was teaching online full-time for a year and a half in Indonesia, the second half of the second year teaching a hybrid model for students who still did not feel safe going back to the school campus. It was a steep learning curve and I do see the positives; I learned a lot about optimising the use of learning management platforms, creating virtual lessons, designing educational websites for asynchronous students, and working with a diverse group of people. However, I also saw the negatives, particularly when I was pursuing new roles – I think that international teaching has changed in the past few years, it is now downwardly mobile where packages are cut left, right and centre, with more and more countries wanting to tax all benefits. If a teacher did not get onto a leadership track very quickly, they find themselves having to take less and less each time they talk to a different school. Personally, I think everyone should be paid what they are worth, regardless of which country they end up working in. Schools trying to justify low salaries (some less than the minimum wage in Canada!) by telling teachers that the low cost of living and cheap travel make up for it, are exploitative at the very least. 
As a POC and holder of a passport that is not from a “native-English speaking” country, I also found my job applications last year (as an independent) either ignored completely or was told I was not a good “fit” (once by a so-called internationally-minded school in Singapore that AIELOC has identified as harmful to BIPOC teachers). My 17 years of math and science teaching experience in all levels of the IB, and leadership experience, most of which at top international schools in Asia, notwithstanding. I would add that I was hired at these top schools as a partner to my white, Canadian husband. I had faced micro-aggressions almost my whole teaching career, being expected to always be nice and polite, not have a strong opinion about anything and keep my ideas to myself…these take its toll on a person. I have had “conversations” with at least two male, white supervisors who wanted to talk to me about my tone of voice and “negativity” when I expressed myself in meetings, even though other colleagues who have said or done the same thing did not get a meeting. So, I guess my second reason is that I was just disillusioned with international teaching and needed a break to think about what else I can do with all the education I have had. 
For persons such as myself, there was an expectation of presenting and endorsing toxic positivity always. 
What do I learn during my sabbatical?
One thing I am still trying to learn halfway through my sabbatical is to be ok with not doing anything. Having worked pretty much since I graduated from university, having time to just be is not a natural state. But I think it’s needed for everyone. I am grateful I am able to do this and I understand that it’s not something that everyone can just do. Not doing anything and just being, is such a relief. I am also pursuing other interests such as data analytics courses, website design, yoga, swimming and lots of walking/jogging in parks. I am learning to appreciate sidewalks, easy access to fresh produce, and taking the time to reflect on my experiences in the past and what I want to do in the future. I learned that I need to slow down and not stress too much about things beyond my control. I am learning that I am not JUST a teacher, that I can do many other things. 
Advice I would give to anyone thinking about taking a sabbatical.
Do it! If you can, of course. I didn’t really plan this but was fortunate enough to have some savings and no children. So in hindsight, I would say, you need to plan for this, think about where you want to be and what you want to do during this sabbatical and put aside some money each month for it. Have a timeline and work towards it. Take online courses that you think might help you earn some money during your sabbatical while you are still working, it’s always good to have a backup plan. If you have a partner, maybe consider taking turns taking time off. If you want to do this together, then make sure you have lots of savings and no other debt! Finally, remind yourself that everyone needs a break and it’s not healthy to keep your nose to the grind your whole life. We don’t know what tomorrow brings, so why not enjoy the time we have on this planet as best as we can.