Instructional Strategies

How to Survive a Day in the Classroom While Sick

First of all, if you are sick, you should probably stay home! There is no badge of honor for having the most banked sick days in history (my mother is a prime example of this). But, we all know it’s not always possible to be gone from the classroom. Perhaps you are getting over a sickness, coming down with something, or live with a chronic illness. You still must somehow get through the day.

Here are some survival tips for when you are teaching but not feeling 100%.

survive when sick
– If appropriate, you can let your students know you aren’t feeling well. You may be surprised at their compassion. After all, teachers are people, too!

Have your favorite drink on hand. This is comforting and makes school feel more like home.

Sit down. A wheeled chair is your friend. Bending over the table to assist students is a chiropractic nightmare anyway. Sitting helps you rest.

Sanitize so you don’t spread germs to others.

Keep the pace slower. Don’t be afraid to make small tweaks in your instruction to accommodate yourself. We get into the habit of cramming so much into our days anyway.

Leave on time. The grading can wait. You aren’t a warrior, you are a person. Take care of yourself.

Don’t use students’ pencils. The last thing you need is to catch something new!

Pick up a pizza on your way home. A teacher friend of mine always says, “No one wants to cook on the first day of school, the last day of school, or when he or she is sick!”
The winter illnesses won’t get us down for long! Soon, spring will be here and everyone will be opening the windows to enjoy the fresh air. Until then, keep the Airborne flowing and do your best to survive those cruddy days!

What do you do to cope with those yucky days? Any other great tips out there?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is AOEU’s Founder and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.

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