Wednesday, July 11, 2007

New Germs

It started on Friday with a scratchy throat. I thought I just hadn't been getting enough sleep and/or water. Nothing a trip to the beach couldn't cure. (My Guadeloupean host father told me that "the ocean cures all ills" and I have put 100% faith in that ever since). I'll attribute the fact that I woke up on Sunday feeling worse to the fact that I didn't actually go in the water and not to the fact that my host father could have been wrong. By Monday I was forced to locate and make a trip to Whole Foods for some Traditional Medicinals teas, the only thing I trust to actually relieve a sore throat. Yesterday during class I felt like a ping pong ball (a very congested ping pong ball) bouncing in and out of my seat to go get more tissues.

Today my cooperating teacher (the guy whose class I'm student teaching in) relayed this little gem: "Most teachers are sick for the majority of their student teaching and first year of teaching." Makes perfect sense--new germs spread by the 100+ students you teach everyday; all that touching of desks, papers, pencils; not to mention the completely debilitated immune system because all your energy is going into making sure you don't ruin anyone's life.

On the upside, in two years I will have developed some immunities of super human proportions (oh, so that's why teachers seem invincible). Even better, the teaching never stops--just like I'll challenge my students to grow and develop, I'll challenge the viruses and bacteria to mutate into more powerful versions of themselves. Hmmm... is that an analogy I should be trying out with my students?


Jen said...

I think they might crack up if you give them the virus analogy and then challenge them to mutate. ;-)

Hope you feel better!

And yes, boy is that gem correct. The Emerson middle school actually shut down for a day its first year and we had to "de-germ" it, because we'd brought in more kids and the viruses kept... multiplying. We had more than 30% of our whopping 38 kids and 5 staff members out, and by MI law, we had to shut and detox. LOL.

beth said...

Yeah they *say* 1 year, but don't be surprised when it's year 3 and you still get more colds. Heck, don't be surprised when it's YEAR FIVE and you get norovirus....yeah that was a blast. Remember, hand santizer doesn't increase bacterial resistance. Use it liberally.

Emerson actually closed my second year when 35% of the whole school and 40% of the faculty got some pukey flu on Valentine's Day. I remember administrative persons going around saying, "Are you vomiting? Do you feel like you're going to vomit?"

Linda said...

Let me add that I saw both of those closures AND I have witnessed many, many new teachers and they all got sick more than they ever had before. They even get new germ to meet and greet when they change jobs. Isn't that a wonderful thing to contemplate. I would like to tell you that it might be safer in high school than in K-5, but I am not so sure that is true. It is the same reason you get pick up things when you travel.
Drink lots of fluids. Keep warm. Try to get plenty of rest. Feel better.
(P.S., I am not sure I agree with Beth. In my years in the school office, on the front line of vomiting, sneezing, and sniffling, I never used hand sanitizer or wiped down my phone, yet I was the one who got sick the least often. Do wash your hands long and hard. That helps.)
Get well soon so you can try some other germs on for size.
Love, Mom

SWE said...

Ah-welcome to the CA germ pool. :( The good news is that working with students ought to get you exposed to everything a lot more quickly, so maybe you won't spend the ~entire~ year you're here getting sick...

Roni said...

Sorry to hear about the beginning of your illness season (aka teaching career).

I just wanted to say that I've had pretty good luck with the obsessive hand-washing strategy: scrub vigorously at every break, especialy before consuming anything (including tea/coffee), coupled with sleeping in on the weekends to charge the batteries. I had to work hard to break those bad little habits like pinching my bottom lip/touching my face when I was thoughtful, confused, etc.

The washing chapped the hell out of my hands and knuckles but greatly reduced the number of colds and sniffles I came down with. I skipped the hand sanitiser and got a bottle of hand lotion to store in my desk.

Hope you're enjoying your teaching experiences! And seriously, remember to get your rest. :0)