I didn’t mean to get that song stuck in your head… I have a four year old who thinks he’s Elsa.
As teachers we often find that we push ourselves to the breaking point and then beyond. We get so sick and yet still drag our butts out of bed and all the way to school when we really shouldn’t. I’ve been hit by a car while riding my bike home from work and still showed up for Back-to-School night four hours later. It was a blur and I think I was in shorts, a t-shirt and no shoes or socks… but I was there.
I shouldn’t have been there. I realize that now but for the longest time I felt it was my moral obligation to always be there for my students and my school.
But it’s not.
Teachers get so caught up in wanting to ‘be there’ for their students and the parents in their community that they far too often let their own health and safety take a back seat. This is a glaring problem at all levels of education from preschool all the way up to higher-Ed. I see it in the eyes of my daughter’s daycare provider who is obviously sick and needs a day to sleep and recover. The parents in my Back-to-School night audience saw it in my eyes as well (and they let me know it, too).
What do I need to be a good teacher?
What I need to be is 100% healthy and strong for my students. I know that I need to be able to “Let it go” and call out sick so I can recover and heal. Usually though, that just isn’t an option. It is so much harder to write up plan for a substitute and then stress out over whether or not the sub carried those plans out correctly than it is to just go into school sick as a dog and muscle through the day. And yet… when we embrace our health as the number one priority we are in fact putting our students first. No student has ever not gone to college because their teacher missed a day because s/he was sick or injured. In fact I’m willing to bet that by setting a positive example for healthy living and knowing your own limitations, students are more apt to respect your class and engage in a more connected, collaborative learning environment.
We want the best for our students in all things. Why then don’t we make it a priority to give them our best selves, minus the snot and 101˚ fever.
Let it go.