I’m coughing up phlegm and my nose is a chapped cherry red from constantly rubbing against tissues. Our history and math teachers are both out on family emergencies. One of them can’t make it back for another week.
That leaves one grade level teacher for the 7 hours we have our kids every single day. 7 hours with 99 kids. 99 kids whose only guarantee is that they will find a way exhilarate, inspire, and exasperate you.
What would your school do?
Mine told me to stay at home and rest.
Note: This was written a month ago and posted just now… we’ve all recovered, now!
Edit: At my school, we try to use as few substitutes as possible. Our message to the students is that we respect and value you as individuals, and, every moment counts. Unfortunately it’s hard for a substitute to be consistent with those two messages… This time we did hire a substitute for one of the days I was out (the history and math classes were covered by our two awesome deans as well as the sixth grade math teacher who cleared their schedule to help out), and when I came back I needed to reteach the objective as well as spend some time debriefing with the students, many of whom were upset because the substitute’s predominant classroom management strategy was to yell.
Furthermore, a ton of the work we do at my school is not directly in the classroom, but rather in holding each student accountable for each piece of their homework everyday and getting to the bottom of every student issue (from potential bullying, to writing on the wall, to coaching students on how to have a productive conversation if someone jostles them in the hallway). A substitute just can’t replace that aspect of teaching, the character development of our children.
Because of this, it’s hard for me to easily take days off, and I’m harder on myself than I should be. My grade level chair and school leaders know this about me, so they always play the role of supporting me and telling me to get rest. We all work hard at my school, we see everyday how much our students have to learn, so the message we hear as teachers from the school is not, work harder, it’s, take care of yourself. And that, more than anything has made me really appreciate my school.