First Year Teacher Illnesses

I think we can all agree that being sick is the worst.  Take, for example, last weekend in Victoria.  It was gorgeous and sunny and full on summer…and I was sick on the couch with a fever for the majority of that 30 degree day.  Enter one of the worst things about our profession – constant barrage of germs.

Unlike Meaghan, I cruised through the first half of this school year unscathed by students’ germs.  I began to wonder what this “first year teacher illness” thing was about, because it sure had not been a problem for me.  Then one fateful day, around early January, a scratchy throat came on.  This day marked the beginning to my first year teacher illness escapade.

I am an exploratory teacher and I teach dance/music at two schools (middle and elementary) which means I am physically active for 100% of my teaching days.  Let me tell you, teaching dance/music when sick is not good times.  Last weekend when I was sick I had to book myself as “unavailable” for one of my TOC days.  As I logged in my sick day I noticed an interesting pattern on my account; the last time I booked a sick day was right before Spring Break, which occurred, incidentally, with the rotation of new students.  At that moment a little light bulb went off…”DING! New rotation of students = new germs = Mrs. Alleyn is most likely going to get sick.” Case closed.  A new rotation of students means my energy levels need to be through the roof.  It’s not always easy selling a dance class to Grade 8s, but I’ve found that if I am totally engaged in my dance classes, then my students will be quicker to buy in.  This means I am warming up and doing conditioning exercises and leaps, turns, jumps, and choreography for all six blocks for at least three consecutive weeks.  Fewf.  No wonder my body tends to crash and burn during these rotation switches.

The elementary side of things is different.  My music job is still fairly active, but I swear the germs manifest and mutate at a more rapid pace in elementary school because kids are still picking their noses and coughing into  the open air (or their hands).  And then they want to hold your hand while you walk them back to class (inward cringe).  Let it be known that I am not the teacher or person who denies a child a held hand in the hallway; however, I definitely stop at the washroom on my way back to the music room to scrub my hands vigorously while singing “Happy Birthday”.  So. Gross.

I’m still new to this, so I’m curious about:

– what preventative health methods do you use to keep your body healthy and your energy levels up while sickness roams the halls?

– does one’s immune system ever strengthen and balance out in the teaching world?

peace&love (and health!)


I have been known to sport this attractive fever-busting look in public. Here I am on a train in Germany, trying to enjoy my vaca, but really not enjoying it at all.