Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Why I Need To Get Flu Shots

Seriously, you think I had the energy to find relevant photos? 
I took two sick days from school this week - Sunday and Monday. I had a cold and a cough, a sinus headache, a sore throat and no voice. The usual November and winter afflictions. I'm almost better today and came to college (on Tuesdays I teach in college).

It's a big hassle to take a sick day from school. Because I'm a subject teacher and not a class teacher, I had to notify (by text or whatsapp) every class teacher of groups I teach on that day (or on those days) that I wouldn't be there. Some of my groups are from 4 different classes!

I had to notify the break-duty co-ordinator and try to do a swap with someone. There were no swappers available so she did it for me and I owe her two breaks in the future.

I had to notify the substitute co-ordinator, even though I knew she'd just cancel classes where I take groups out of other lessons and tell my groups to stay in with the other English teachers if their class also had English. So then I had to try to think of what work they could do on their own without disturbing the rest of the class, and text that to the English staff. (The Head of English said she was teaching 'telling the time' so one of my groups could learn it with her group. This was gratefully accepted as all my textbooks are at school so I had no idea what to give them.)

I had to organize a sick-note from my doctor but felt too unwell to actually go in and get it. I will get it within the next two weeks but she won't see me sick so what's it worth really?

I sat with the staff contact list and my phone, and texted/whatsapped for a good half an hour to fulfill all my obligations. I was sick but not disfunctional. I wondered if I would have gone into work if I worked in a quiet office? Possibly. But I couldn't have controlled classes of lively children.

I once had real flu, about 20 years ago. The type where you basically die for a week and it takes about three months for the virus to totally leave your body. I remember that I (stupidly?) went back to school after only one week. Had I stayed at home another week to really recover I might have avoided the three months of semi-sickness. Seriously, for three months I went to work, came home and went back to bed.

Back then you just phoned the school office and your head of department and they dealt with everything. If I got real flu now there's no way I'd be able to do all that notifying and organising - I couldn't even stand up.

So I'll be going for my flu shots when I pick up my sick note. And for DD too. Because I can only deal with low grade sickness in my job.

Do other teachers have this, or is it just my school?


  1. Ah, I hate the whole sick note thing. They're totally meaningless. I usually call and leave a message for my doctor that I need a note, and she leaves it for me at the reception desk. So she doesn't even see me!!!

    1. I was trying to figure out the reason for it, besides to make it a bit more inconvenient to miss work, and probably if you needed a note too often the doctor would demand to see you before issuing the next note. So maybe it's just to stop people taking too many days off?

  2. Hope your feeling 100% recovered soon x

    1. Thanks. I went to college on Tuesday so I thought I'd better go to school on Wednesday. But I had to leave early and I didn't go in again today. I think I'm almost better though and I don't teach on Fridays so next week should be back to normal.

  3. I have friends who are teachers and more than one has said that it's so much hassle that she just goes to work unless she is dead on her feet. But then I have another friend who is a supply teacher who gets the work when others are ill.
    Flu season seems to have struck early this year - two friends are each about a week in and not sounding much better so it will probably take at least another week to get rid of it (hopefully). I have never got the flu shot - but thinking about it this year. Hope you feel better soon.

    1. Thanks I'm feeling a lot better now on Thursday evening. xxx