Dedication or just daft?

Yesterdays post by @rondelle10_b on the subject of teachers going when they’re ill made me think.

This was also partly because we had a member of staff this week who did exactly the same thing.

Why do some teachers feel that they have to go in no matter how ill they feel and does it happen in other professions?

I suspect that in every walk of life you will always get those people who feel that they are indispensable and that the world will grind to a halt without them. They don’t want to take time off for illness as they feel (or want t0 feel) essential to whatever their job is. I am not suggesting that my colleague is one of those people but they certainly do exist

However I think that teaching is slightly different. In at least some other jobs, if you aren’t there to do your work, it will either be done by someone else or it will still be there waiting for you on your return. Your colleagues may have to work a bit harder to cover your absence but things generally sort themselves out. As an ex insurance underwriter, I know that this can be the case.

For a teacher, with a class of children waiting to be taught, it could be slightly different. Colleagues may have to lose their precious ppa time to cover your absence or the class may be taught by a supply teacher. Sadly, supply teachers, especially those booked at short notice, do vary hugely in quality. I remember vividly the horrified look on a supply teacher’s face when I gave her the maths plan for Year 6 as she informed that she was a secondary art teacher and very poor at maths. On that occasion the TA actually taught the lesson!

There are also the classes that you know react badly to supply teachers. When you have spent the whole year working on behaviour management, you don’t want to have it all undone by a teacher who isn’t able to keep control in the same way. The prospect of what the class could be like on your return can be alarming. We care about the children that we teach and don’t want them to be badly taught or their behaviour to deteriorate.

Knowing that this situation and other similar ones can occur makes us possibly feel that our presence is more essential that it actually is. I  think that I have been guilty of it in the past but have become a bit more realistic about what I am capable of when I am ill and am more likely now to take the time that I need.

We need to make sure that we look after ourselves and our colleagues. It isn’t helpful to yourself or the people around you to come to work when you are ill.



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