I took a sick day yesterday due to some kind of virus that rocked my body:
Damn you, college students, for coming back on campus with your unwashed hands and buffets of germs. Yeah, I see some of you in the bathroom, just running your hands real quick-like under the water and not singing happy birthday in your head. I see all of you.
When I was a teacher, there were two ways I handled a sick day.
Way #1: I'd be sick, really sick, and think really hard about how sick I was for about an hour. Like, how SICK was I really? I'd take my temperature and see if I had a fever. If I didn't, I'd move to the next step-- I'd survey the nausea. Was I puking? No? I'd go to school. Was I running back and forth to the bathroom to empty my bowels? No? I'd go to school. Kind of? I'd go to school and risk the pain. If my throat hurt, I'd take a flashlight and survey my throat tissue or make the Hubs do it. Was it red with no sores? I'd go to school.
At school, I'd carry my coffee mug full of Throat Coat or peppermint tea and pathetically lean against the wall looking so sorry that my students were nice to me for the whole hour. If my voice was all messed up from my sore throat, they were even nicer. When people at school told me to go home, I'd respond with, "Guys, I'm not sick. It's fine."
Then, I'd go home as soon as the bell rang and fall into my bed where I'd sleep until the next morning. I was so not fine. I was sick and I brought my germs to everyone in the building.
I'm so sorry, co-workers I had for eight years of teaching, for always coming to school when I was sick. That was so rude.
Way #2: My last resort if things were so bad I couldn't even move... get a sub at the last minute.
When I knew I was going out of town and could schedule my sub ahead of time, I'd get a sub who already knew everyone and who was really good with my students. I prided myself on my awesome sub plans and having a sub who stuck to them. It's all very smooth and easy-- when you can hand pick your sub. But when you can't because you have to call in sick?
On Pinterest there's all these very detailed emergency sub plan packets. They're all very cute. But it doesn't matter. There can be packets of emergency work full of pretty clip art and clever anecdotes, but if you have a sub who doesn't know the students/is scared of the students and busy work that has nothing to do with your curriculum, you just lost a day and you should have just gone into work sick.
To be real, when I hit year five of teaching, I thought a lot about self-care and what that really means when you're sick. The days I had to call in because I was sick weren't so tortuous because I didn't obsess over how my emergency sub plans were my students wasting time copying definitions onto a worksheet. I still hated it though. I imagine it would have gotten even easier to get a sub over time or if I had kids while I was teaching... guess I won't know unless I go back to the classroom, amiright? It'll be awhile.
Now that I'm not a teacher, this is how I handle a sick day during a regular workday:
1. Picks up phone or opens laptop.
2. Emails, Hey I'm really sick with ____________. I won't be in today.
3. Emails any meetings to cancel reschedule.
4. Goes to bed for the whole day.
Give a teacher a hug tomorrow, would ya?