Hazard Pay

I sound like Bob Dylan after he’s gone a three day pot-smoking bender.  In the exhaust pipe of diesel 18-wheeler.

In a traffic tunnel.

In downtown Mexico City.

My normally low voice is somewhere between folk-singer nasal and Demi-Moore-gone-whip-it-crazy husky.  I have, at best, one functioning nostril (apt to change at any time), a pounding head, and my limbs weigh about as much as one truckload of bad educational policies made by idiots who don’t work in the field.

Not really sure if that last metaphor made sense.  And now, a word from our sponsor:
Today’s shitty writing… brought to you by DayQuil!”

The real killer is that I’m only two weeks from freedom.  Fresh air, clean hands, and all the anti-bacterial soap a girl could want.

Or maybe the real killer is that this is my second head cold in three weeks.  Three weeks!  That has never happened in my decade-plus teaching in the swarmingly full petri-dishes of public education.  The minute I quit hocking up loogies into Kleenex and breathe a sigh of relief, I feel that tell-tale scratchy throat coming on again.

Are you kidding me?

And so this year, I dedicate the end-of-the-school year rant to Why Teachers Should Receive Hazard Pay.

Why Teachers Should Receive Hazard Pay 
(the short list)

1.  Germs
2.  Trainings
3.  Weird shit you can’t even imagine
We’ll start with germs, since that’s where my head is now.  Or, rather, that’s where they are, now.  In my head.  But to explain this particular aspect of the teaching profession, I’m going to need you to use your imagination a bit.  I’d like you to lean back, close your eyes, and think about Victorian lace and rosy-cheeked babies in old-fashioned, white nighties.

Because kids at my school are dropping like flies from  the Whooping Cough.

 Whooping cough?  I thought that had gone the way of smallpox, polio, and saying things like “we had to send mother off to a sanatorium for we fear she has the consumption,”in a vague British accent.  (Oh, and by the way, by “dropping like flies”of course, I mean that they’re out for huge chunks of school at a time.  Not that they’re dying.  Though my absence list is beginning to make me wonder…)

Here’s a little description of whooping cough from the Mayo Clinic:
Thick mucus accumulates inside your airways, causing uncontrollable coughing.  Severe and prolonged coughing attacks may provoke vomiting, result in a red or blue face, cause extreme fatigue, or end with a high-pitched “whoop” sound during the next breath of air.

Mmmm…yummy…so that’s what I hear going on in my classroom.  I suppose that’s better than a friend’s school which actually had to close during the school week due to a “particularly virulent stomach virus.”

Nasty.  Nasty, nasty, nasty.

Any of you who have had small children know how easily they get sick.  Cram a bunch of kids into a small space, add in their less-than-ideal hand-washing and food-sharing techniques and voila!  It’s a family practitioner’s dream.  And don’t even think it’s limited to just the younger kids.  My current snot-o’-riffic bug came from a darling junior, who I adore.  Usually.

“Hey, Teach,” she said, snorting up a nose full of mucus and walking up to my desk.  “Can you help me with this packet?”

And then she coughed in my face.  No turning her head, no covering her mouth with her hands, no grabbing a Kleenex, oh no, just one big open-air hack, six inches from my eyeballs.

“Wait…Emily…did you just cough in my face?” I asked her, a bit mystified due to the fact that she’s seventeen years old and thus (in my mind) should damn-well-know-better.

“Um…oops?  So anyway, about this packet…”

Gimme a cubicle, folks.  As long as it has four walls, a bottle of hand-sanitizer, and a door across which I can string a police line do not cross tape, a little solitary confinement is sounding pretty good right now.

Or maybe some extra compensation to pay for my new DayQuil habit.

Please excuse the delay in completing this post.  I just ran out of Kleenex.   #2 and #3 of Hazard Pay List coming soon.  

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3 Responses to Hazard Pay

  1. Christy says:

    I love this blog! It's so funny and rings true with the things that happen in my own classroom. The only thing is I wish you would write more, Teach! Believe me, I know how time-consuming teaching (not to mention blogging) is but still, I feel like every time I open this page there aren't any new posts. I would love to read more 🙂

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