Sunday, March 22, 2015

March Madness, Teacher Style

Our own version of March madness has hit.  

Many of the teachers, myself included, have been stricken with an awful stomach bug, flu, and sinus infection trifecta.  I had to leave work early on Thursday for the second time in my career.  I'm so thankful that my grade level each took a few of my kids and were incredibly supportive.  Still, I wanted to fight through my illness and (foolishly) believed that since my temperature wasn't quite 100, I could stay and work.

I took a sick day on Friday (which always raises red flags) but actually wanted to be there. I missed a guest speaker (a doctor) talking about the negative impact drugs have on the human body.  Our next writing research project is on human body systems (see what we did there? High five for planning!)  My day consisted of a conference call in about a student, lots of medicine and breathe (DoTerra essential oil), and a half dozen naps.  Saturday consisted of a teacher training (all I did was sit) and helping a friend move tile (again, all I did was sit in the truck and be supportive).  As of Sunday, I'm starting to feel a little better and hoping for an easy week.  But this next week is the one before spring break, so we shall see...

There is a sense of martyr-ism with most teachers I know.  We, and I acknowledge that I am not only in this category but practically leading the whole parade, are such perfectionists that when it comes to trusting another person (especially if you don't know the substitute), it's darn near impossible.  There is a huge sense of guilt over leaving your students with another adult or feeling awful because you dumped more work on another teacher's plate.  I've had my prep sold several times this year because other teachers didn't have subs. There is hours of work put into sub plans and preparing powerpoint or smartnotebooks, all your copies, the whole time crossing one's fingers that 1, the job is actually picked up and 2, the substitute follows your plans and doesn't do something absurd like make up their own idea of what your students should learn that day.

(Substitutes going off book happens...a lot.  I get that part of teaching involves capitalizing on teachable moments, but at the same time, I know exactly where my students are in their educational journey of mastering the standard.  Don't throw something weird at them for a one day lesson that has no connection to anything else they've learned. That's not okay.)

 At the same time, I know it's something that I have to work on and get over because in the future (maternity leave, when I have kids), there will simply be days I can't go in to work and that will just have to be alright.

For every day that I'm gone from my classroom, it involves about two hours of prep work (for a six hour, eleven minute day with the munchkins.)  When I return, there is the joyous task of figuring out what actually got accomplished, what I need to reteach, and what students made unsavory choices and will spend their next recesses inside with me.

I don't know of any other job that requires this much work to prepare for a missed day. #teacher problems

Five days til spring break!


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