10 Tips for when you're too sick to teach!

sick, teacher, teaching, illness, sick leave, pay, work, advice

Mid-term and the teaching workload is full on. We are heading towards testing time (in more ways than one!) and I have a LOT of work to do. What I really don't need is to get sick. Of course. I get sick! I'm off work for several weeks and can do NOTHING about it. What can I do? Who can I turn to?

As I'm too sick to write a new blog post this fortnight I thought I'd ask my teaching buddies what THEY do when they are sick and still have so much work to do. Here are their recommendations...

TIP NUMBER 1 - GET ORGANISED BEFORE YOU GET SICK
Jennifer from Teaching Products Online suggests...
At the beginning of the school year, create a folder for relief teachers. Include class timetables, routines, general overview of your lesson structure, important information about students, yard duty roster, who to contact if things go wrong, where to find equipment/resources and some general activities that will get them through the day.

TIP NUMBER 2 - TRUST YOUR RELIEF TEACHER
Melina from Galarious Goods suggests...
Once you've done all you can do for your class/s, try to let it go. Worrying about what's happening at school won't help you get better. Relief teachers walk into schools without planning, more than you'd think - they've got tricks up their sleeve for that. Trust them, trust your students, and concentrate on getting well as fast as you can, so you can be back in the classroom, strong and ready to teach again.

p.s. have plans in place for students who struggle when you're away. Have a buddy class with a trusted teacher who can help them calm if required. Older students may have classmates who can help them walk through some calming steps.

TIP NUMBER 3 - TAKE THE TIME TO REST
Tess from Big World Teaching suggests...
When you are sick, you are sick! Take the time to rest away from school so you can be the best possible teacher for your class when you return! We all feel guilty when we take sick days, however looking after ourselves makes us better teachers!

TIP NUMBER 4 -  DON'T GO BACK EARLY BECAUSE YOU FEEL GUILTY!
Elaine from Thinking Challenges suggests...
Give yourself permission to concentrate on getting better and not go back to work early because you feel guilty. Once you DO go back, resolve not to spend time making any resources that you only use once because it's a waste of energy. I am a fervent believer in teacher time savers to keep you sane.

TIP NUMBER 5 - IF YOU'RE SICK... GO HOME!
Karen from Karen-Langdon suggests...
Do not let your sickness get so bad before you take time off. I have spent far too many days teaching when I should have been at home, and I know too many other teachers are the same - teaching with a bad cough, barely any voice, or being so run down, but we 'push through'. I have come to believe that we really and truly should use a sick day for those days to get better before it gets worse. It really is better for our students, and us, in the long run!

TIP NUMBER 6 - A LIST OF STUDENTS' NAMES WITH PHOTOS CAN HELP
Amy from Aussie Star Resources suggests...
Include a class list with photographs of each student alongside their name. As a relief teacher I find this really helpful! I always get a couple of students who try to 'swap'!

TIP NUMBER 7 - GIVE STUDENTS THE PERSONAL TOUCH WHILE YOU'RE GONE
Kim from Stress-Free Teaching suggests...
Sometimes it's beyond your control. We were at a point in math that was tricky. I decided to create slides for my lessons and recorded myself explaining it. I even mentioned some of their names while I was doing it. They loved it!

TIP NUMBER 8 - LET OTHERS HELP!
Shanon from OCD in Elementary suggests...
You're down, nothing you can do about it - so focus on getting better so that you can go back to work. Worrying about the students and the work load will not get you better any faster. Let it go, and let others do what they want to do to help - friends and family are feeling pretty helpless watching a loved one go through tough times - so let them help with the things you can't do! It makes them feel useful.

TIP NUMBER 9 - USE TECHNOLOGY TO HELP YOU
Janice from Cook Family Resources suggests...
Launch work on Google Classroom! Record videos in advance, setup an auto grade assignment for instant feedback. Be the teacher with content you recorded in advance. There are many fun projects that are rich in content that can stand alone in the middle of what you are currently working on and still be much more than busy work. With Google Classroom I could even check in and leave comments or feedback when I was feeling up to it but not have the pressure of needing to deliver live instruction at certain times.

TIP NUMBER 10 - THE TEACHING COMMUNITY ALWAYS HAS YOUR BACK!
This tip comes from me TechTeacherPto3!
I was literally too unwell to write this fortnight's blog post and so asked my teaching buddies for some help and look at all the fantastic suggestions I got! There were MORE but I just ran out of room! Thank you to every teacher who gave me ideas and, let's face it, wrote my blog post for me this fortnight! The moral of the story is... the teaching community is always there to help a fellow teacher in trouble so use them (secret: teachers love being asked for 'help' and seriously.. trying to stop them giving advice is pretty hard!) so let them help. You won't regret it. Teachers rock!

Thank you to everybody that contributed suggestions for this blog post. If you have a suggestion that we have overlooked, please leave it in the comments box below.

I'm on the mend.. I promise.. and next fortnight (positive thoughts) it will be business as usual.


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