If you're like me and many other teachers around the world, you may be tempted to push yourself to teach when you're feeling sick anyway. (Ahem, yes I wrote a whole blog post on this last year!) This time however, I decided to put myself first for a change and just stop feeling so guilty for a basic human need. I gave myself a proper pep talk which really helped me come to my senses, so if you too suffer with the guilt bug, then this is for you!
Yeh sure, colleagues might be sympathetic for a bit (while gently edging further and further away from you whilst you have a coughing fit), but we know the reality of teaching is so demanding that we can't just "take it easy". We have to be on top form and run around after people all day. It will take a lot out of you if you try to teach...
I remember in my early years as a teacher, I would force myself in in the hopes that someone would tell me to go home when they saw how ill I was because I felt too guilty to stay home, but it never happened... I guess the motto was: "if you managed to get yourself there then you're expected to work like everyone else..." or maybe that was just where I was employed :P But really though, don't wait for anyone else to give you permission - you know what is best for you.
Another thing, don't expect any thanks or leniency for working when sick. Here's a good example: when I push myself to go in, I'm really proud of myself for doing so, but in reality, no one else cares - in fact, I usually get a slap in the face by having to cover someone else's class (who was smart enough to stay home)! How's that for a thank you!? The demands will still be there: kids will still act up, emails will need to be answered, deadlines met, photocopies made and you'll still be expected to stand in the freezing cold on duty... It's exhausting just thinking about it! Seriously, stay home and recover. That will all still be there for you when you get back!
Finally, there are enough germs spreading around schools as it is, there is no need to add yours to the mix and get everyone else infected. Stay home, rest, recover, heal and you'll come back stronger and fighting fit for your students!
I hope this has given you a bit of a kick up the bum to listen to your body when it's crying for a rest! Don't force yourself to go in if you're really not feeling well: no one will thank you and you'll end up prolonging your illness. Having said all that, this is not an excuse to be lazy - if you're actually fine and just "don't feel like going to work" then that is NOT OK - save your sick days for when you really need them and you can feel guilt free in letting your body recover.
I'd love to know, what kind of teacher are you? One who forces themselves to work when sick or one who has no problem taking a day off to recover? Let's chat in the comments below - I respond to every comment :)