What can we do on those days that it’s not quite bad enough to stay home, and it’s too much work or it’s too late to get a sub for your classes?
Well, every successful teacher needs a small arsenal of stuff ready to use for those days that the cough medicine is making you loopy and all the water you’re drinking to try to clear out your congestion is forcing you to the bathroom every 15 minutes.
First of all, it’s definitely OK to admit your weakness to your students!
Go ahead! Let ’em see that (gasp!) you’re like an actual person!!!
“Hey, guys… I’m not feeling well today but I needed to be here anyway. My head hurts and it doesn’t feel good to talk a lot right now. I love this class, and it would really, really help my head if you would stay quiet for me today and listen very closely as I explain what we’re about to do. We’re going to do something a little different since I don’t feel that good. Ok, here’s what we’re doing…”
So ARE you going to be doing something different?
ARE you going to deviate from those kick-ass lesson plans for today?
Yeah. You are. If you try to fake it all day, you’ll only make yourself even sicker and then you’ll have to miss the next day to recover. I’m sooo not missing a perfectly good “mental health” day to actually be sick at home.
Unless I’m throwing up (and other horrible, disgusting things) which does happen once in a while.
Ok. So yeah, you’re going to deviate from your regularly scheduled lesson plans.
Now, you may have a totally cool, laid-back school culture where no one cares if you change things up a bit (or a lot) because you’re just trying to make it through the day. But if you do happen to work in one of those “It’s on the plans you turned in a week ago so it must be happening in the class” or “Why aren’t you doing exactly what the other 6th grade Language Arts teachers are doing on the exact same day?” type of situations, then here’s something to help you out:
“I woke up not feeling well today and it was really too late to get
a sub, so I’m here and I’m determined to make it through the day.
Just so you know, I’m going to deviate a bit from what I had
originally planned so I don’t have to use my voice very much.
I plan to be back on schedule tomorrow.”
In fact, just copy and paste the above statements and in addition to emailing your principal the morning of, just print it out and tape it to the outside of your door.
It’s a win-win situation.
It feels great to have a plan in place for when days like that arise (inevitably).
So… What can you actually, really do in class so that you can save your voice, enjoy the cough medicine high, and float on clouds through the rest of the day until you can actually get back home and rest up?
Well, how about these ideas:
Ok, so some of these ideas mentioned above are obviously more simplistic than others. And it really depends on your students as far as which one is the most appropriate.
Like I could assign the “draw three scenes thematically related” one to my 2nd block class and they’d do it with no problem. But if I gave that same assignment to another class, it would never work. It would be a full-on teaching day and I’d make myself sick.
Take those things into consideration, and let’s start chatting here about what YOU do when you just can’t follow the plans on those days that are “sick” but not “contagious” sick and you still have to be at work.