Monday, January 17, 2011

Never a Good Time to Get Sick

Ok, so I realize there are all of 2 or maybe 3 of you that read this blog. But I just wanted to say I'm sorry for not being more brilliant over the weekend. I have amazing ideas floating around in my head for what to write next. They're in there, rattling around amongst the mucus. They feel like pinballs. Or steel drums. Or maybe that's just the headache.

I came down with a horrible cold this weekend, the last weekend of my winter vacation. The sun was shining, we had unseasonably warm weather, even for San Diego, and the beach beckoned. But I stayed in bed. Coughing. Sniffling. Sneezing. Watching Dollhouse, whining on Facebook, and generally filling up the space in my bedroom with tissue.

It's a terrible time to get sick. For one, I lost the last few precious moments of my vacation. Also, I can't call a sub.

Do you know what it entails to call a sub?

You can't just call any sub. Ideally, it's one you have used before and trust. And you have to pray to the sub gods and make sacrifices in their honor and hope that they're available. Otherwise, if you just call the sub pool, it's a little like going to Vegas, except without the free drinks and shiny lights and scantily clad women. You always lose.
Then, once you've secured someone halfway competent to watch your class, you have to create sub plans. This may sound easy. It is not. Planning for myself can be done, largely, in my head. Planning for an unknown variable of a person requires explicit instructions, labeled photocopies, extra activities. That doesn't even scratch the surface, though, since this all has to be done either from home, (while sick, remember?) or at the crack of dawn before kids arrive (still sick). Additionally, you have to include discipline plans, seating charts, and god forbid you have them use the technology. That's not to say there aren't smart, competent subs out there. There are. I have had amazing subs. It's just...well, I've also had not so amazing subs. And unless you know for sure who will be there...
Then the anxiety starts. I'm home in bed, but what time is it? 10am? Ok, that's 2nd period. I wonder how this morning went. Etc. If you have a smartphone, you are also probably getting emails about how your classroom is burning down. And then? When it's all over? You go in and clean up the mess, read the sub notes, and prepare to make examples of students who chose to take advantage.

All in all? Not worth it.

I think that's the one thing I am jealous of people who have office jobs. To take a day off, sick or hooky, without the extra work. That would be nice.

But I am trying to remember, there is no good time to be sick. Sick during vacation? FAIL. Sick while I am working? Double fail (see above). The germy kids will descend upon me soon enough, and hopefully I've filled my sick quota for a while.

So tomorrow will be doubly exhausting. But I think I'll take the easy way out and go in.


  1. Agreed: not worth it.

    Yesterday, whilst looking for an particular email, I came across an email I sent to Andrea when I was waging that epic battle with strep in February. In said email, I waxed equally poetic about how it is just easier, even at death's door, to go in and do what you gotta do with your class than to leave sub plans. I hate sub plans.

    And ever since I was actually with you when you had that last AWFUL experience with the sub who didn't show up and then the sub that changed your plan AND bragged about it, I second the idea that really it's like Vegas but without all the good parts. It is just much too stressful. I feel better about it now, since 3/5 of my classes are AP and I can basically leave them anything, but the 2/5 of my classes that are sophomores create enough anxiety for all 5 of those classes.

    And don't even get me started on the technology. I mean, your classroom has more than mine, but even in mine, it's apparently "too sophisticated" for most of the subs I end up with. I've gotten more clear in my directions and have started leaving CD-RWs with my powerpoints on them (because trying to leave it on the local computer is WAY harder than it should be). But dear lord. It takes as much time to make ONE subplan for ONE day than it does to plan two weeks' worth of lessons in my head or on notebook paper in chicken scratch and post its.

    And especially on the first day after a break. I mean, that's a dealbreaker. You go in. You just do.

  2. I just reread this and the technology thing still gets me. Once I even left post it notes on my remote controls. "Hi! I am for the DVD player!" "Hi! I turn on the projector!" etc. Eeek.