I Gained Nothing From My Perfect Attendance At Work
Leaders are giving lip service to self-care while upholding conditions that chip away at our mental health
Before yesterday, I had almost perfect attendance at work in my two and a half years of teaching. But I finally called out to get a COVID test after my fiancee tested positive for COVID.
Throughout the pandemic, I have been fortunate not to get sick. I show up for work every day and have been praised for it. I don’t make problems for people who have to cover my class. I am recognized as a team player who is willing to make sacrifices for the team.
When I interviewed at new schools after my first school closed down, the biggest selling point was “I show up for work every day and I get all my deliverables in on time.” Someone on the interviewing team, who I now work very closely with, said “what’s your address so we can hire you and get you to sign right now?”
Having perfect work attendance might seem like a baseline expectation.
But you’re not in my line of work as an educator. Educators, particularly in my school district, are extremely run down and overworked. Every year, it’s sad to see several people I work closely with quit. According to one story I heard, one person just said “I can’t take this shit anymore!” and walked out, never to be seen again.
At my old school, I have horror stories that would have made most people quit. One time, two students in the hallway barged into my class, got into an argument with each other, and one student picked up the desk and threw it at another student. I deflected the desk (which hurt my wrist a bit), sent those kids to the office, and used the incident to reinforce the policy that we keep the door closed, locked, and don’t open it for anyone without my permission There were times we were on lockdown because of rumors someone brought a gun to school. There were times a student got his hands on scissors and went into other classrooms to threaten another student. There were times that same student threatened kids with a razor.
I have to remind myself these were just kids, and as a new teacher, I should have been more preventative and proactive in not letting kids out of…