Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Five Stages of Guilt Over Teacher Sick Days

Like a lot of young lady teachers, I'm saving up my sick days to have a baby someday, so I rarely take a day off. I recently took one, however, which actually might have been more miserable than sucking it up and going to work. Herewith I offer you the Five Stages of Guilt Over Teacher Sick Days.

DENIAL [5:45 a.m.]: I am fine. No really, I am fine, and I am sure that seven hours under the fluorescent lights trying to convince teenagers to go along with some Shakespeare will actually help me feel better. Off to work I go!

ANGER [6:17 a.m., while writing an e-mail attempting to explain all of the ground that will have to be covered in my absence]: Dammit, this is never going to work. My kids are going to half-heartedly fill in an old Regents exam for fifteen minutes and have a baby carrot fight for the rest of the time and leave my room a mess and make the ATR cry. Why did I call in sick? Is it too late to change my mind?

BARGAINING [9:58 a.m., having woken up from a medication-induced slumber]: Okay, let's see here. Maybe I can work on some lesson plans or some grading while I'm home, and then the rest of the week won't be so bad. Yes! I can salvage this day after all.

DEPRESSION [4:32 p.m., having gone back to sleep for a while, then awoken to a newly sore head and runny nose, and written no lesson plans and done no grading]: Well, that didn't work. I hope my kids weren't too horrible. No, they probably were. I am a terrible teacher. If I were a good teacher, they would be marvelously self-directed learners and be five scenes ahead on Julius Caesar tomorrow. I suck.

ACCEPTANCE [6:00 p.m.]: It was one day. Just one day. I have already been on Facebook and none of my colleagues have mentioned the building burning down or one of my kids blowing anything up without the sacred nurturing of my physical presence. I will probably feel okay tomorrow morning and I will go into work and catch up and, if necessary, apologize to the ATR for my not-at-all-self-directed children. And it will be fine.

Why can't I just take a sick day and actually try to feel better?
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