I can't be sick. I don't have time to be sick.
My body, clearly unimpressed by my self-importance, however, doesn't listen. My throat feels like I swallowed one those spiky seed balls that kids love so much, and my head is pounding as if a little miner is inside my head trying to tunnel his way out through my left temple. The mountains of papers on my desk, the blanks in my plan book for next week, and the bulletin boards that need to be changed are screaming for my attention. Hours and hours of work lie before me, and all I want to do is go home and crawl into bed.
I don't do sick well. Surprisingly, for a third grade teacher with students who regularly sit through class with their finger up their nose, I don't get sick that often, and when I do, it's usually just a mild cold. One or two days of feeling not so great, then gradually rebounding to my usual self. I don't know if I actually feel worse this time around or if it's the knowledge that we are still caught in the grips of flu season that has triggered my paranoia, convincing me that I'm not just coming down with a little touch of something, but that I am 100% bona fide Sick, with a capital S.
Then, there's the inevitable moral dilemma that comes with being sick: Do I stay home from work?
Every teacher knows that staying home from work inevitably leads to more headaches. There are the lesson plans to be written for a person who may or may not know their way around a classroom, who may or may not know anything about actual teaching. (I'm actually fortunate to know a few exceptional subs, but they're usually already working the days I need them.) You look at what you have planned and think, "Nope, I gotta teach that," and then you're scrambling to come up with an alternative, something that even someone like Sleeper Sub can't mess up. (Yep, I actually had a sub that fell asleep in class. My class is good, but they're not that good.) Usually, you end up saying "forget it" and drag yourself to school. Of course, you then spend the entire day wishing you had stayed home.
That's not exactly my problem this time. Friday is an in-service day, which means there are no lesson plans to write, no worrying about what the kids might do in my absence. Seems like the perfect day to be out, right? Wrong. It looks bad. Admin assumes you're not really sick, you're just taking the day off because you don't have to write sub plans.
The thing they don't know is I hate missing in-service days. I end up feeling so out of the loop. My team would fill me in, I'm sure, but I'm one of those people who needs to hear things firsthand to have any hope of truly understanding. Even then my comprehension is kind of sketchy.
So, now I'm left struggling to come to a decision, caught in a vicious debate with myself. What is the right thing to do? Go and prove that I am a dedicated professional? Stay home and take care of myself and not infect all the other teachers?
Sometimes it's hard being a responsible person.