After ending last week on a high I was super duper excited to get back into the classroom for week five, I planned up a storm over the weekend and was feeling excited about what lay ahead.
And then I woke up on Monday morning feeling absolutely awful. Despite thinking I merely had a cold which I could work through I had the flu.
This would be quite possibly the worst time my teaching experience to get sick. Week 5 should have been getting my days of teaching practice in plus I had a Visiting Lecturer observation on Thursday so I really loathed to spend any of the week in bed when I had learning to do. In general my attitude to sick days is that I will only take time off if I have lost a leg or an arm and even then I show up to work with said limb so that my boss can send me home.
I would say I picked this habit up having worked in Asian workplaces for the last 7 years but in reality I’ve long been adverse to taking sick days. My mother still recalls me getting dressed into school uniform and waiting by the door to go to school even though I was obvoiusly sick. I blame hippy parents, nothing like tolerant trendy parents to turn your child into a nerd.
I got sent home on Monday
I tried battling through Tuesday only to have my temperature shoot up and my joints in pain. I really was sick which kept my home Wednesday.
Thursday was the day of the observation and I was still dicey. There was no way I would get through a full day of teaching and my observation was last session. I got sent home for the rest of the day so I had enough gas in the tank to do the lesson.
I needed to be on top of my game because I was teaching maths to not only the maths lectuer but the lecturer who edited the textbook. The students were so ecstatic to see me I was met with a giant group hug. Got to love teaching the juniors for that! Despite coughing and spluttering over the students and having my voice sound very gravelly by the time the observation was over, my observation netted me five ‘strong’ grades over the seven Graduating Teacher Standards.
I then spent Friday recuperating from Thursday.
However instead of feeling upbeat about an awesome report I’m feeling downcast at not getting much teaching in this week.
Part of it is driven by wanting to get up to minimum amount of full control days. Some students in my course are already up around 20 full control days while I’m currently at 8. I need to get to 16 by the end of my placement. Next Friday the school is partially closed for the World Cup which will cut things a little too close for my liking. Of course the Teaching Experience office knows that students do get sick around this time of year and stuff does come up so in reality the number of days aren’t hard and fast rules just guidelines. The reports I’ve received from my Visiting Lecturers were good and the Associate Teacher one should be good too so even if I’m short on teaching days it isn’t likely to be a major issue.
I also need to stop comparing myself to others. While I haven’t had has much teaching time, the programmes I’ve been teaching have been incredibly challenging. Managing 8 reading groups and 8 maths groups would likely stretch even an experienced teacher if they weren’t used to it. So I’m perhaps I’m being a little harsh on myself and need to keep an eye on my progress rather than worrying about what other people are doing.
I also need to accept that I’m going to get sick a lot in the next year or so. I thought four years in a Korean school during both SARS and also Bird Flu epidemics had bolstered my immune system. But nope I’m just as suspectible as any new teacher to getting sick.
Still I’m frustrated that my learning was disrupted this week due to sickness.
On the bright side I finally finished Drive by Daniel Pink and polished off Out of Our Minds and the The Dressmaker of Khair Khana during the week so all was not lost.
Despite your illness, I’m glad your observation went well!
In regards to being sick… I’m a bit like you – I hate being sick. I hate staying home when I’ve got a pile of work to do and students to teach (although, invariably, as a junior teacher, I do get my illnesses from them!).
I remember quite vividly early in Term 2 last year being sent home by my AP because I was too sick to teach. And I protested the whole time. I was in my first year and at the time (and even now) I almost feel guilty about being sick and having to take time off. BUT… I also know the opposite. You can’t teach when you’re sick – it’s not good for you and not good for the students either. It’s something I still have to keep in mind.
I hope that the rest of your placement goes well and that you’re feeling better! It sounds like you’re doing a terrific job!
All the best,,
Still got a hacking cough but I feel a lot better so back to class for me tomorrow. Love the cuddles I get from the children, they were so happy to see me.