Teachers and Health: We Get Sick Too


It hit me.  The faintest hint of a scratchy throat during the second week of school and then, BAM!  I had a full-fledged cold replete with sneezes and a runny nose.

There goes my weekend, I thought, and now I have to try and nurse myself back to health.  Folks don’t want you to take off a day at work unless one of your body parts is hanging off, because they have no reasonable plan for teacher absence.

Some say it’s a weather change thing (hello Fall!) and others say it’s really a virus invading your immune system while its defenses are down.

Either way, this post is about teacher health, as I’ve already seen a few other teachers sniffling.

With large class sizes, we are working in environments that are a breeding ground for viruses and illnesses.  With custodial teams short-staffed (overworked and underpaid), a lot of us are working in schools where they mop the floors twice a year…and that’s about it.  (In my school, I’m lucky if the trash bag is changed and not simply “emptied” to be used again the next day.)

Keeping your classroom environment healthy and clean is an absolute must if you want to guard against anyone getting sick.  Nobody seems to be taking our health seriously so its up to you to provide hand sanitizers, spray the tables and commonly used items with bleach, open windows to circulate fresh air, and teach students about cleanliness.

Below are some websites that can steer you in the right direction.  They have information, lesson plans, and resources that will help you kick-start your mission for this to be the first and last work-related illness you experience this academic year!

How to Manage Teacher’s Health in the Classroom

Health Teacher

PBS Teachers Health and Fitness

United Federation of Teachers Health Benefits

New York City Department of Education Health Benefits



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