Sorry, sorry. Let me just get a tissue for my nose. Hang on. I’ll be right with yo-


Oh dear. Let me see if I can’t wipe that off your glasses for you. Sorry about that – you’re all smeared.

So anyway, I have been gravely ill for the past couple of weeks. Alright, not ‘gravely’ exactly but it was touch and go for a…ok, ok I had a bit of a cough but that is definitely not the point.

The point is that teaching when ill is a bloody nightmare so it is. Hell, teaching when not ill is a bloody nightmare some of the time so teaching when ill is a nightmare, wrapped up in a nightmare, wrapped up in a snotty tissue. Now pass me that Lemsip…no I don’t need the kettle boiling because I’m going to snort it.


‘Scuse me.

So what’s the best way to combat the lurgy? Not setting up shop in a verifiable germ factory would probably be pretty high-up on the list. However, that’s where most of us work so there’s little choice there unless we can want to try to do a dramatic reading or extol the virtues of SOLO in full hazmat gear. I guess you could walk around with a bottle of hand sanitizer but I suspect that it wouldn’t be enough unless you bought in bulk, rigged up a pressure hose and went nuts on every single person and surface in the place.

Mason, did you just sneeze? Don’t lie to me Mason. Have it Mason! HAVE IT! HAHAHA!

There might be frowns.

It’s not the type of job where it’s easy to take time off. In fact, it’s sometimes easier to stick it out even if your temperature and general lethargy originates from a zombie bite because you know that by the time you go back (with an insatiable hunger for human flesh and a slight limp) they’ll be three times the amount of work to sift through. There won’t even be time for a light lunch of a Year 8.

So you’ll become patient zero in a planet-wide apocalyptic scenario. So what? It’s still better than marking cover work.

I’m not good at being ill. Not only do I find it desperately unpleasant it goes against my teaching style. I’m fairly kinetic, I like to make jokes, I like to move. Being ill makes this difficult – carrying on as normal would probably lead me to getting more ill and with half-term on the way I say to hell with that.

So I stayed at work and reigned in my usual style, expended a bit less effort, strove to be a bit more still, a lot more slow and made sure never to act as if I was suffering from any ailment whatsoever for fear of being thinned from the herd by the ever-present sharp-toothed predators, or ‘my Tuesday group’ as they like to be known.

I became a spaceship with all non-essential systems shut down. I ran silent until my body finally decided to stop taking the huff and start to cooperate with me again. Economy of effort became key.

I’m better now. To be honest, it wasn’t actually as bad as all that. In fact, I learned that it’s ok to slow down sometimes. The world doesn’t end if you’re not firing on all cylinders and the things you do to get by might well be of use when you re-enter the realm of the well.

Now you’ll have to excuse me, I’m on sanitizer cannon duty this lunch time.

Oh, goodness me, bless you.

You’ll have to watch yourself – there’s a lot of that going around.



  1. whatonomy

    I have my students wheel me around in one of those oxygen tents. I’ve actually written a book called “100 Tips for Teaching from an Oxygen Tent”. (I’m sorry, both those sentences were lies. Sorry). [shuffles off]

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