|Can't be coughing on the children, can we?|
Over the years, I've probably had half the medicine chest in my desk drawer. Today, I have cough drops in there. At different points I've had aspirin, Advil, Excedrin Migraine, antacids, Pepto-Bismol, DayQuil...you name it.
Why would I keep all these over-the-counter meds in my desk drawer?
Because even if I'm sick, I'd rather gut it out and just keep teaching.
This isn't just because I'm stubborn. (Though that is probably part of it, if I'm brutally honest.)
The hard fact of the matter is, it's usually easier for teachers to just power through the day than to call in sick, even if you're feeling rotten.
Calling in sick means you have to make plans for a sub--hopefully with the goal of continuing learning for the day. And usually that is much more work for the lesson planning process; I know what I mean with my three-sentence lesson plan (because I've taught this topic so many times before...) but how will my sub know what I mean? When I taught middle school science, my mental process for planning for a sub on short notice usually went something like this...
Okay, I was planning on this demo today...will the sub be able to find the equipment?
And know how to use it?
I was planning on a lab for today...do we go forward with the lab activity?
Or do I change to something "safer" for the sub's sake?
Is that sacrificing the kids' learning for the day?
I was going to give a short lecture to introduce the lab...I better write out the script that I have in my head.
Do I have a video on this topic?
Maybe I'll just run off a worksheet instead...
...but then I'll have one more stack of papers to mark.
About this time, I usually decide to just forget about planning for the sub, hop in the shower, and head over to school. Grab the kleenex, take your DayQuil, and start popping cough drops; you'll make it through. Get through the day, and try to go home right after school and go to bed.
Teaching is not for the faint of heart. Teaching is a profession where calling in sick means more work for you, instead of a real day off.
Teachers, take your vitamins and wash your hands...you can't afford a sick day!