Maybe you frown upon the people who plan their lessons, make copies in advance, arrange for an exquisite sub via handshake, and then at 5:45 a.m., call in sick.
Maybe you say, “It’s more work to get a sub than to come in myself.”
Or, “It’s not really a sick day—that’s dishonest.”
Or, “We’re prepping for an AP exam and can’t miss.”
“STATE TESTING IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER!”
“My kids need me,” you say.
Like water, I’m sure. Mother Mary and Patron Saint of your Classroom, I’m calling you out.
Consider it your yearly physical. Sure, you aren’t projectile vomiting or bleeding out, but it’s time to run some tests. Prevention. That colonoscopy of sanity you’ve been putting off. You’re catching yourself in stage one instead of stage four metastatic emotional breakdown.
Oh, wait? You don’t even have time to get an actual yearly physical? Well then… It’s time for a mental health day and a sick day for a doctor’s appointment. Not a combo.
Your kids will be okay. In fact, they might appreciate having their teacher back after she has read some magazines for pleasure, gotten a pedicure, slept in, and eaten something that didn’t come out of the vending machine in the cafeteria.
Go on… call the sub-finder. Watch a movie you actually want to see. Go to lunch with a friend who works in an office and doesn’t grade papers while simultaneously gulping down a Campbell’s Soup at Hand. Eat on a plate, for god’s sake.
You can do this. You need to do this. If you can’t do it for yourself, that’s fine. Do it for the kids.
Just like everything else.
Jessica Eddings-Roeser is a writer with several years experience teaching under-privileged students in the Texas public school system. She’s taught English, Language Arts, ESOL, Creative Writing, College Reading, and Spanish levels 1-4AP at both the middle and high school levels. She founded and ran an adult ESOL program for her church, and contributes to the AVID program at her former high school. Currently she is at home with her baby and writing during naptime, but dreams of volunteering to teach creative writing in the Texas juvenile prison system. Maybe she’s crazy… she has an MFA in fiction.