Tis the season to be ill

How ill is too ill?

I know teachers who have taken a day off for a headache. I know others who will come in with a raging temperature. My school is pretty trusting. You ring up, say you are ill and no questions are asked. You fill in a small form on your return which no-one ever seems bothered about (like much of school paperwork, I have no idea where it finally goes). The only teacher I've known to get into trouble was one who took the day off “ill”, before coming to perform at the school talent show in the evening.

I've always been proud that, even when I'm feeling like death, I drag myself in. I feel guilty about making someone else do my teaching. I'm nervous about being seen by other teachers as a slacker.

I'm no longer sure this minor martydom is a good idea. In a previous life, I had a desk job. When I felt rough, I could hide behind my desk, do very little work and scrape through to the end of the day. Teaching doesn't let you hide and good teaching requires energy. An ill teacher struggles to teach decent lesson. Perhaps as importantly in a school like mine, they won't find the composure to deal with difficult behaviour.

Maybe I'm going soft but if you are too ill to stand in front of a crowd of rowdy teenagers then don't come in. Others might resent covering your lessons but they will appreciate not being coughed on.