Being sick is a nightmare. Being sick when you’re a second grade teacher is so, so much more of a nightmare. If you’re not to sick to stay home, the nightmare is making all 17 of them keep their voices down, their questions to a minimum, and their demands at zero. All you want to do is put your head down on your desk, turn the lights off, and fall fast asleep. But instead the tissue box on your desk is repeatedly depleted as you rasp out answers and instructions to 17 kids, none of which are actually listening to you.
Being sick enough to take a day off work and stay home in bed is a nightmare too. There aren’t enough hours in the day to get the necessary sleep to recuperate enough to come back. Plus, you have to worry about what kinds of shenanigans and trouble your kids are going to get into with the substitute. On top of that you have to let the substitute know all your plans for the day, the location of all the materials needed for said activities, and the entire schedule that the kids need to follow in order for hell not to freeze over. As an after thought you also have to tell the sub all the details about what the kids are like and which ones are going to cause the most trouble. And then, despite being able to spend the whole day in bed, you spend the entire day agonizing over what your class may or may not be doing at that given time. Will the classroom still be there when you return? Will the bookshelf be burnt to a crisp? Which child will have died by choking on a small toy, and which will have died at the hands of a classmate?
While all this rushes through your head perpetually, the worst thought of all is this: tomorrow, you’ve got to go back and face it all again.