>Germphobia, Virtual School style

>I’ve used only 1 1/2 sick days this year: one for cataract surgery and one half for an appointment. That’s a new record for me. March? No influenza? No sinus infections or even colds or coughs? I used to get almost paranoid about germs. Illness for a classroom teacher can be overwhelming: sub plans, catching up, staying in touch, hoping that all goes well for the substitute.

A few neighboring districts have cut their teachers’ sick days to the bone. My district still maintains 10 days per year. One neighboring district even told their teachers they couldn’t schedule non-essential surgery during the school year, no matter how many sick days they’d accrued. I planned my cataract surgery so that I’d only miss one day; all worked out well.
In a classroom full of children, I kept my own pencils and pens and even scissors. There was a stock of extras for students to borrow; they never touched mine, and I never touched theirs. I kept hand sanitizer in my desk and rarely touched the germ-collecting doorknobs. Still, I got sick. Cough drops and Airborne had a drawer in my desk along with Tylenol and my own, yes my own never-to-be-shared box of soft, name brand tissues. Teachers attempt to stay hydrated, but within reason because we can only use the rest room when we’re not with students.
Teaching online is different. Earlier this year, I offered ten tongue-in-cheek reasons to enjoy teaching online. Now, in the final days of winter, I offer ten reasons that teaching virtual school has been good for my health.
  • I still have my own tissue box – with a Green Bay Packers dispenser.
  • No one borrows my pencils and pens. We all have our own.
  • We don’t get substitutes, eliminating the need to come in and spread germs while leaving sub plans.
  • No one else uses my computer or my phone.
  • I have my own phone, too.
  • My coworkers and I are meticulous about cleaning the lunch table before and after eating.
  • Hydration is easier; there’s a water cooler in our supply closet, and (drum roll) I can use the rest room when I need to without waiting for a recess bell!
  • I still take vitamin C and eat oranges with my lunch.
  • The box of Airborne in my desk is the kind that gets added to a bottle of water.

And finally, a major reason that teaching virtual school is good for my health:

  • I sincerely enjoy my job. I go to school eager to get started every day – even on Mondays.

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