What I Learned From Being Sick

Last month I was sick for over two weeks. It sounds silly, but my illness started with an ear infection that just exploded into a massive mess throughout my body. I ended up missing seven full days of school, and there were several other days that I was nowhere near top form.


While trying to get better, I was also trying to help my classroom continue running. A month has now passed and I’ve had some time to reflect on what I learned during this difficult time period.

1. If you know you’re getting sick, take the day off. – Sometimes we know the germs are coming and they’re coming fast. In the past, my principal has even told me that it’s better to call in sick for a day to recover rather than push through and then be sick for a week. I didn’t do this. And boy did I pay the price. On a Wednesday evening I felt it coming, but I “toughed it out” and went to school Thursday and Friday. By Saturday morning, I couldn’t even get out of bed.

2. Have a series of canned activities ready. – I had a full day of “just in case” plans ready with copies made, but after those were used up, I wished I had more. Putting copies of activities any substitute could use on any day on a shelf would have made writing lesson plans from home much easier and less stressful. These could have been activities about less-than-exciting standards anyone could teach, such as grammar, math review, or something from a textbook.

3. Video can help. – During the second week at home, I reached that point where I was feeling better but not well enough to go to school. Two of those days I made a video of the lesson for my students to watch. I launched a Google extension called Screencastify, filmed myself talking through the lesson presentation, and sent the link to my colleagues to give to the substitute. I later realized it would have been even easier to post the video on Google Classroom. I’m guessing the students enjoyed hearing my voice after so long…I hope!

4. Have an amazing team. – This one is just a shout out to my colleagues who helped me out immensely. I’ve been trying to repay the favor ever since.

5. When you return, it’s okay to take it easy. – I returned to school on a Thursday. School started at 8:40 and I was exhausted by 10:00. Did my individual reading conference happen that day? No. Guided reading groups? Na-uh. How about a math enrichment group? Not a chance, and that’s okay. If I had gone all out those first two days, I might have regressed in my recovery. I wasn’t going to risk it, and that was the right decision. The kids did more busy work than usual, but I made it up to them the next week.

I hope you never have an extended illness! However, it’s always good to be prepared, and maybe these tips will help you in a time a need.


{image via Wikipedia commons}




About mrwhitehb

I teach 4th grade and am the chair of the Young Hoosier Book Award Committee for grades 4-6.

Posted on March 23, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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