Unprofessional Profession

My wife is an elementary school teacher. She’s currently in her 12th year of teaching in our county. Before that she was a preschool director and a Child Protective Services (CPS) social worker. Clearly she loves helping and guiding children. It’s one of the (many) things I admire about her.

I’ve seen an evolution over those 12 years of teaching. Some due to her being more confident in her abilities and knowledge, some due to changes in the field of education. I could seriously devote an entire series of blog posts to some of the crap that teachers have to put up with from the school districts, from the school board, from the administration, from the parents, heck even from society. It’s ridiculous.

But one of the most ridiculous things about the profession “teacher” that I recognize is when a teacher takes a “sick day”. Not a planned personal day in which they have time to prepare to be out, but an actual sick day in which the teacher doesn’t feel well and decides to stay home for their health and the health of their students.

If you’re not a teacher, think about what happens when you’re sick. For most of us, we just call/text/email the boss and/or our teammates and let them know we don’t feel well. If necessary, the job finds somebody to cover you while you’re out or just deals with being short-staffed by one person.

Now think about what a teacher has to go through (from my experience in this county). First is the call/text/email to the administration, then one to the teammates asking for immediate help covering while a substitute is found (*if* one can be found). Then you have to enter your sick day into the HR system that will then list the request for a substitute. Then you have to either modify your existing plans or create new “substitute” plans that somebody can follow; consider that many substitute teachers are not or have never been trained in education. All the while you are likely answering texts/emails from your team and/or administration to answer to the immediate needs or schedule changes or whatever else pops up. Now consider that you’re doing all this at 0500 in the morning to give people as much time to prepare for the day without you as possible. Also consider that you’re doing all this while you DON’T FEEL WELL. Whether you’re running to the bathroom, have a fever, or whatever other ailment is bad enough that you would rather go through all this hassle and stay home when it would just be easier to go in.

It’s ridiculous. I don’t have an easy answer, but I see the problem and can only shake my head at how bad teachers have it.

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