The reality of catching Covid as an elementary teacher.

First of all. I know that every single day that a teacher gets up and goes into work their risk for catching covid is HIGH.

The amount of pressure that weighs on us is unreal.

It’s easy to worry about our students, about our health, while thinking of ways to keep the world that is our classrooms spinning. All while trying to meet our students in the middle. Imagine being 5-11 years old in an elementary setting, dealing with a world wide pandemic? You’d be a little all over the place too. (I know I am, and I’m a full blown adult.)

So… after a very much needed holiday break…

I went back to work optimistic, mask on, ready to tackle on the spring semester. I BARLEY MADE it 3 days. When it hit. At first, I thought, it was just sinuses, allergies, but the more I payed attention to my symptoms, the more I realized it was something else.

Over the break my husband had spent HOURS going from pharmacy to pharmacy looking for at home tests and brought home the last 3 boxes he could find.

So… what did I do?

I took an at home test. I held my breath, and when my husband said it was positive, I LITERALLY burst into tears. And not even because I was sick, but because I immediately started thinking about work and all the hoops I’d have to jump through to get days off and not leave my kids and team hanging. Work, that was the first thing that came to mind. (I’m shaking my head admitting that.)

The first few days were the HARDEST.

I was fighting a never ending fever, a ferocious cough that made my chest rumble. All this while I’m trying to get a rapid scheduled with my district, find subs, and get things in place for my team. Not to mention getting in touch with benefits and HR per covid protocols all while trying to “get better”.

The texts were off the charts, school updates, covid plans, “when are you coming back?”, it was never ending. It sucked.

The pressure to bounce back and get through it is unrealistic.

Teachers are dealing with a very real, sub shortage. An unprecedented time, with a rise in unrealistic work expectations and risks. I’m still not 100% and I’m getting ready to go back, and my once fiery, wide eyed gaze of teaching is disappearing day by day.

I think about all my fellow teachers, having to use their own sick days to cover the days they’re out. Or the angry emails from admin asking why they can’t come in. Or the students that are being split into bigger groups because we have no subs. All of it, it’s hard, and I just know there has to be a better way. There just has to be.

In the meantime…

I’ll use the last few days of the weekend to try and rest, and force myself to not worry about lesson planning or catch up work. I still feel like crap, but what can we do?

To my fellow teachers, I’m rooting for you and also hoping for something beautiful and absolutely necessary to happen to our field of work, praying for better days and understanding.

If you need me, you can catch me watching Encanto, singing “we don’t talk about Bruno…” and doodling.

<3 you.

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