Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Managing The Sickness Season, Part 2

Amy's wonderful post Oct. 22 on students and illness brings us to another issue of illness...our own health. As someone who has had two distinct stomach viruses and a cold during the month of October, it is important for us to remember to take care of ourselves. I strongly suggest you stock up on the following, and keep them readily available in your office:

1) Tissues where students sit. If a student starts to cough, I remind them of the tissues by mentioning that I have nice, soft ones, unlike the scratchy kind provided by the school. They usually get the hint.

2) Hand sanitizer. I use some as soon as a new student walks in, and offer it to them as well.

3) Disinfecting wipes. I try, my best, to clean off the area where my students sit with disinfecting wipes at the end of the day. Realistically, it doesn't happen that much because my desk is usually covered in papers, but some cleaning is better than no cleaning. 

4) Instead of a candy bowl, I have a cough-drop bowl. A big bag of cough drops is a cheap as candy when purchased from one of the big-box discount stores, and they can keep students from coughing on you and your desk. 

My last piece of advice is for you, not for the students. Take time off if you are sick. You are not doing students any favors by coming in when you are sick. You may hear some grumbling when you are not available at the students convenience, but most students are very gracitous when you cancel office hours because you are ill. If you teach a class, think about using an online module as a make-up class, or give students the opportunity to make up class in a non-traditional way. You may sacrifice some coverage, but three weeks of groggy lessons because you didn't recover from illness is less helpful than canceling a class and only missing one week of coverage.

Stay healthy, ASPers!

(RCF)

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