The cost of illness

It seems like an age since I’ve posted anything, but I have a perfectly good excuse (I always do) – I’ve been ill. Nothing serious, but enough to knock me out of contention for the best part of a week.

During my convalescence I got to thinking about how much it must be costing the school in terms of cover. A supply teacher costs around £150, or so I imagine, which meant that my 3 days would have cost the school close on £500 – about as much as an iMac at the prices we got over summer. Imagine how much better the classroom would be with one more shiny new Intel iMac and one less antiquated G3 iMac (think low-end PIII)!

On the other hand it would have meant me dragging myself into school when I was clearly in no fit state to manage my learning environment and doubtless ending up dragging out the illness to a fortnight or more. I could still set reasonable cover work and I even managed to use Moodle to IM my two Y11 GCSE classes (although this may have been more of a distraction than a help).

I forgot (albeit temporarily) that the whole point is to help the pupils to learn things. If we don’t have a suite full of the very latest kit, but we do have a teacher who is capable of standing out with breaking into a cold sweat then that must be better than a state-of-the-art classroom with a teacher who is unable to manage the behaviour and guide the learning, even if it means the odd cover.

My conclusion? If I’m ill, I’m staying at home. Hardly world changing but it’s one more area where teachers often don’t get the balance right. I know a couple of people with long term illnesses who are too afraid of letting the kids down by taking time off to recover. Trying to convince them they’ll be hurting both themselves and their charges more in the long run is as futile as trying to convince a Y9 pupil that Gantt Charts are not just important, but cool.

And anyway, I managed to get caught up on my Dilbert backlog so the 3 days weren’t entirely wasted.

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