Stay home sick or go to school?

In terms of myself as a teacher, I pretty much go to school unless I am too sick to move.  I rarely take sick days, but just muscle through it as best I can.  It’s a lot of work to prepare for a substitute, and I am rarely happy with what is done in my absence.  One sub performed magic tricks rather than hand out the assignments this year.

However, now that my children are school age, they seem to need more sick days more often.  I don’t mind taking a family sick day to stay home with a sick kid.  However, it’s tough to tell if a kid should stay home.  Today, for example, my son woke up with a tummy ache.  I finally gave him some warm milk and that seemed to make him feel better.  Then, as we are walking out the door, he throws up.  Sigh, I decide to stay home.

However, once he throws up, he seems to be feeling better.  It’s been two hours since then, and he seems fine.  Should I have sent him?  Is staying home the right idea, just in case?  How many parents of my students debate this sort of thing?  I know I have students who come to school looking like they are about to die, but others take random sick days here and there, but never seem to have any lingering illness the next day.

It’s tough making these decisions.  And it’s hard missing a school day here in the final weeks of school.  Grr.  I probably did the right thing, but I keep analyzing my decision as I sit here.

I am the language lover and these are my thoughts.



  1. Scott Erb said,

    May 21, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Yeah, we play it by ear. Look at total behavior, other factors (e.g., eating a lot of junk, tired, congested) and make a call of whether or not it seems serious. I think you made the right call — wake up with a tummy ache and then to throw up after warm milk could signal a real illness. And sometimes I like it when I stay home and ultimately the child feels great — that’s a free day of play for both of us!

  2. May 21, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Thanks, Scott. So far, he seems to be ok. It’s nice to hang out, though.

  3. gls said,

    May 21, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    I felt I was reading my own words: too much work to prepare for a sub and to little return.

    Subs are a strange breed indeed. I wonder: why is that? Are the standards for hiring substitutes that low? Is it a job that simply draws certain types? I’ve had very few good subs, and the one gentleman that I know will do exactly what I ask him to do with the class is never available — everyone else has noticed that as well.

    “Substitute teacher” is an oxymoron anyway. Teaching is more than just taking a sequence of steps, enacting them, and collecting the results. Relationships are so critical to good teaching that only an in-house, full-time sub makes sense.

  4. May 21, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    That’s why I’ve never understood how some teachers leave actual lessons to be taught by the sub. Most times, I leave instructions that a trained monkey could follow and NEVER have the sub actually teach anything. At most, they should be called placeholders and at best babysitters because they are just filling a slot until the teacher comes back to the room.

    I know that in our school district, we have very little in standards because we are so desperate for enough subs. However, if enough bad reports come in, we do ban subs from the building. They can sub for other schools, but not ours. So, that’s encouraging anyway. I’d take a lazy sub over a bad one any day.

    Wonder which kind I had today…

  5. gls said,

    May 22, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Oops — re-reading I saw my own little mistake: too much and too little.

    That blasted, sticky “o” key!

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