Yup. It's that time of year when a quarter of the school is out sick. As flu season fully kicks off, I think it's a good time to talk about staying healthy when we see hundreds of germ sponges, I mean children, each and every day.
1. Wash Those Hands
Okay, you knew this was coming. I really hope that hand-washing is not a novel concept to us as teachers. While it might sound like a given, I think it's too important to leave off the list.
I am lucky enough to have a sink in my classroom at my elementary classroom. I take a few seconds at the end of each class during flu season and wash my hands. While I don't have a sink to wash my hands in my middle school classroom, I do make it a point to use hand sanitizer at the end of each period.
2. Sanitize, Sanitize, Sanitize
If your school has students bring in Clorox wipes at the beginning of the year, I recommend asking your teachers if they have a couple they could share from their stash.
Especially with things that are shared between students like mallets, Boomwhackers, and other instruments, it's important to sanitize them as often as possible.
3. Stay Hydrated
This is a great tip for anytime throughout the year, especially for those of us that end up singing most of the day. I have a large insulated cup that I fill up multiple times throughout the day.
Drinking water is an easy way to help our bodies be prepared to fight back when we inevitably are exposed to the newest strain of stomach bug.
4. Have Your Students Wash Their Hands
I am lucky that my elementary classroom is right next to the bathroom. I don't do this all of the time, but when attendance lists begin to look extra bleak with students out sick, I actually have my students wash their hands before they enter the classroom, especially when I know I have folk dances or passing games in my lesson plan.
5. Take a Sick Day
If you are sick, you are sick. I know it can be a crazy amount of work getting sub plans ready. I know that we have a nation-wide sub shortage. I get it. But if you need to take a day, take a day.
Let's face it, we're all gonna get sick at some point. We are surrounded by little humans, it's just part of the job. But hopefully by following some of the things on this list you will be able to take fewer sick days, stay healthy, and stop the music room from becoming the epicenter of the newest plague.
Dear First-Year Teachers,
Thank you. Thank you for pouring yourself into your classroom day in and day out. Thank you for shedding blood, sweat, and tears for the sake of our students. Thank you.
I see you. I see you taking work home with you each and everyday. I see you spending nights and weekends crafting lesson plans. I see you providing the basic needs to your students when you need to. I see you.
You make a difference. You make a difference to the students that love coming to school. You make a difference to the students who have traumatic homes. You make a difference; even on bad days.
Being a teacher is like being pulled a hundred different directions. Meetings, conferences, professional development days, and edTPES are only a few of the things we juggle in addition to teaching students. Being a first year teacher is like reinventing the wheel. Starting from scratch, and trying to be perfect.
Being a first-year teacher is one of the hardest things you will ever do. But you will make it through. You will come out the other side a completely different person, and those moments in your first year will forever change you as an educator.
Thank you for joining this thankless profession. I see you putting your entire being into being a teacher.. You make a difference in the lives of so many.
Thank You. I see you. You make a difference.
Bryson Tarbet is the music educator and blogger behind That Music Teacher.