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If teaching is making me sick, then what?

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If teaching is making me sick, then what?
Old 01-13-2010, 09:39 AM
 
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Long story short, I'm realizing that each year I get really sick with each new set of students. (Elementary age) I take care of my self and teach them to do the same, but only so much can be done. This year has been the WORST. I've ended up at a neurologist and diagnosed with migraines due to stress. I've had several sinus infections/ear infections and pnuemonia. Right now, I've been out of work going on 5 days because I'm on some strong medication to get rid of this infection before it goes back into pnuemonia. Everytime I go to the doctor, I noticed in big red letters across the top "SCHOOL TEACHER." I just know its affecting my health. For the past 3 years, I've used all of my sick and personal days and ended up taking days without pay due to sickness. Then of course I feel bad leaving the kids and its so hard to "catch up" when I go back.

I'm 39 years old and I know that is kind of late to make a career change, but I'm just tired of being sick like this every year. And it seems to be getting worst. Theres nothing wrong with me, its just the exposure to the little ones. What other job could a early childhood teacher with 10+ years experience be qualified to do? I'm not even looking for "equal" pay, just something with decent hours and "decent" pay, and not alot of little runny noses.

Sorry if this sounds cruel or selfish, but I'm just tired of being sick. ANy help would be appreciated.


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Old 01-13-2010, 04:02 PM
 
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I don't know what to say to help you with a new career, but I would say you are young enough to pursue one and you should do it now if you plan to do it at all.

If you just want some help on how to stay healthy... something that seems to help me stay healthy (and I am lots older than you) is to wash my hands all the time. If I collect their papers myself, I wash my hands. If I pick up a pencil off the floor, I wash my hands. If I touch one of their backpacks, jackets, or books, I wash my hands. I sanitize the door knobs, desks, and phone with Clorox Wipes. I drink lots of OJ and take Ester C. I stay out of their air space too. I know it sounds like I have OCD, but I just make sure I keep my hands clean and that I never touch my nose, mouth, or eyes if I have not just washed my hands. I learned this through the years. Of course, it does help to have kids who at least make an attmept to be polite and cover their mouths when they cough and sneeze. I teach upper elementary so they are somewhat safer than the little ones!

I hope you find what will make you happy. Take care and hope you get better soon!
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Old 01-13-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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I'm sorry to hear you aren't feeling well. Yes, sickness comes w/ this profession, and no, you are not selfish for wanting to protect your health. Here is my advice:

1.) Do you love your job? I think your first step should be to analyze yourself as a teacher. Do you enjoy your job or is it just a job? I ask these things, bc studies show that psychological factors such as stress and frustration result in different physiological ailments. That said, you may need to assess your feelings about this career.

2.) If you love your job, try the following:
Load up on vitamins prior to being sick---mainly a multi-vitamin, C, and zinc. Also, D is highly recommended in the winter. I also take Airborne. These vitamins build immunity.Have bloodwork done. You may find deficiencies in your bloodwork.
Start tracking the frequency and intensity of your migraines. Yes, stress can cause migraines, but so can other factors, such as diet and hormones. If you are experiencing migraines during the day, talk to your doctor about a prescription such as Maxalt or Imitrex. These medications can be taken when a migraine starts.
You said, "There's nothing really wrong with me." How is your overall health? What's your diet like? It doesn't matter if you are one of those people who can down a Big Mac and stay skinny---you need to be eating foods that come from one source. (I'm talking about fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meat and dairy, and whole grains.) That's it. Do you exercise? How often? You may want to consider looking to that as a form of stress relief.
How do you approach stress? Do you have an outlet---in other words do you get a facial or massage? Do you call a friend? How do you handle stress?
How many anti-bacterial hands soaps do you have in your room? Has your school nurse approved these anti-bacs? (Not all soaps are created equally!) You should have one or two in each area of the room.
Do you or the school nurse educate your students on appropriate handwashing techniques? Do you have these or pictures of appropriate techniques posted in the room? After students sneeze or cough, do you immediately tell them to wash their hands? It's like habit in our room.
Do you share your anti-bac w/ the kids? You shouldn't be. After sneezing/coughing, kids should use the sink. You should be the one controlling the soap.
Do you share tissues with the students?
How often are the desks and other materials in your room sterilized? See if the frequency can be increased.
Wash your hands constantly. My hands are raw and bloody (yes, more than you wanted to know). I wash my hands EVERY single solitary time I come into contact with something the kids have had--whether it be a paper they turned in or folder. I won't even touch my water bottle before touching my mouth.

Hope this advice works. Take care of yourself first---that's important!
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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I understand where you're coming from. When I was teaching (12+ years) I was sick ALL the time, used up all my days and then some. My doctor was always joking with me about it. I would get VERY sick sometimes, and catch EVERYTHING the kids have, even though my room was VERY cleaned, and my aide and i would sterilize it frequently, and washed my hands all day long.
But I got sick of being sick (among other things about teaching.) A year and a half ago I quit teaching and became a nanny. And I have not even had so much as a cold or a cough since then. Seriously!
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Old 01-14-2010, 01:25 PM
 
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I second the Ester-C. I was very sick all of the time the first two years I taught. Then I started eating healthy, exercising, and taking vitamins. Here is what I take: Vitamin D + Calcium, Vitamin C, Omega 3/6/9, and a Multivitamin.

I notice when I forget to take them. Almost without fail, when I feel the little tickle in my throat that tells me I am getting sick, I remember I haven't taken my vitamins for a couple of days. Usually, if I start taking them again I get better. I have only had a mild cold once this year.


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teachers changing careers to .... ?
Old 01-15-2010, 05:57 AM
 
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Thank you PPCD for the "nanny" idea. Thats what I was hoping to get, some other job ideas.

I do keep my classroom clean and wash my hands and exercise and eat a pretty good diet, I take vitamins....I just keep getting sick and I can't help but think its because I'm around a room full of 3 - 5 year olds. (There must be a reason the doctor always comments about it, too)

I have to admit there are other things that I am growing tired of as well with the teaching profession, but right now, at this point in time, I am tired of being sick and using all of my sick days and personal days and having to take days without pay. I feel like its only going to get worst if I don't change something.

I'm feeling really down right now, because I'm an educated woman with alot of experience, time and money invested into teaching. Yet, if I knew of another job that I could do and be happy that would pay my bills and allow me to spend time with my family, I would make the change in a heartbeat. I just feel that I'm not qualified to do anything else. I know that can't be the case, but I'm just drawing a blank. I live in a very small town. As much as I would probably enjoy it, I don't think "nanny" would be an option, here. Does anyone know of other teachers that have made changes? What type of jobs did they go to?
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Old 01-15-2010, 07:19 AM
 
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What about working for an education consulting company, or a company that makes teaching materials, Scholastic, etc.? Do you have a management system or curriculum you particularly love? See about working for them.

I'm sorry about your being sick all of the time. I know how depressing and disheartening that can be.
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What about an upper grade?
Old 01-25-2010, 09:54 AM
 
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OK, I'm physically feeling better and have had some time to think. So I'm wondering, has anyone changed grades from PreK/Kindergarten level to another grade with older children and noticed that they didn't get sick as often? I'm just wondering if the older kids might take care of themselves a little better? Does it matter?
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my class makes me sick
Old 03-13-2010, 06:18 PM
 
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Changing grades to the older kids could help. Prior to this year I taught 5-8th grade for 3 years, I would get a cold maybe once. This year I was moved to 2nd grade (NOT BY CHOICE) and I have liturally be sick the entire year. I have always had allergies, but I can't tell if its allergies a cold or both anymore. If you move up to teaching the older kids, alot of the time if they are sick, they're parents will let them stay home. With the little ones, the parents send them to school sick because THEY can't afford to take time off. SO, you end up sick over and over and over. The nurse won't send them home if they don't have a tempurature, but that don't mean they're not contageous. I have been out of work 12 days this school year and I still have 2 1/2 months to go. I will be leaving this profession to substitute for a while so like you, I can gather my thoughts about what the next carrier move will be for me. If you love teaching, try moving up to the older ones, if you don't like it, don't waist any more time. Personally, I have accepted the fact that I hate it, and it is time for me to go.
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Stress From Teaching Making Me Sick
Old 03-08-2012, 03:20 PM
 
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When you are given a class that can really curl your hair, the stress will make you ill. From headaches, body pain, acid reflux etc. These kids are the cause of teachers getting ill. I'm so sick of teaching.


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My Students Make Me Sick
Old 03-08-2012, 03:25 PM
 
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I have taught for over 20 years. Students are getting ruder and more disrespectful than ever. I feel physically ill most of the school year. It takes summer vacation for me to heal the damage the stress has done to me. Andrew Cuomo, come teach for a year in my class. You couldn't do it.
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