December 2, 2004

it never fails

This morning I woke up with a splitting headache. I opened my eyes and for a moment I thought this week-long headache that I have been entertaining was gone, but as soon as I started to raise my head off of my pillow the pounding began.

It is one of those headaches that has set up its residence in the middle of the forehead and right behind the eyes, with some tendrils of pain that stretch over to the temples. Every light you look at sends a searing burn scorching through your retinas and into your brain. Every noise shakes at the foundations of your conscious thought. And you find yourself almost hoping that your head would just explode so you could be done with it.

It is one of those headaches.

Now, some people would succumb to the ever-enticing "sick day!" They would call-in. Then they would drug themselves into an unconscious stupor, and relax on the couch while they watched Dr. Phil. But not me.

I am not saying this to brag, but since I have started teaching I have only called in twice. Once, when I was puking my guts out and the other time when my grandmother had died. The only award that I ever received in high school was the attendance award, and I got it almost every year. After high school, I spent several years doing warehouse work, and other than the time that I was taking some classes at a community college and I ate some nearly raw squid in a zoology class, I don't think that I ever called in because I was sick. (Now I may have called in a couple of times for sick family members, but I don't think that I ever called in for myself.)

It isn't that I am super-tough or anything, but I just don't like to miss. For me there is almost nothing worse that trying to get caught-up. And as a teacher that is amplified because when you miss, not only do you have to get caught up, but you have to get all of your classes caught up. Sometimes you end up having to rewrite all of your lesson plans, and change test dates, etc.

So I would rather just tough it out and go to school.

But the same thing happens every time I do this. I begin the day by planning how I can simply teach the new stuff and give them something to work on during class time. I hate to admit it, but my whole goal is to arrange the class time in order to be able to sit down at my desk. But on these days, nothing ever seems to work out. I usually end up having a class that can't understand anything in math, they have suddenly forgotten everything! So instead of sitting down, I spend the entire time answering questions. I mean, you just can't not answer their questions. That is a bad, bad teacher!

So there I am, head pounding, nose running, eyes blood-shot, trying to explain to the same child what x equals.

Isn't God good?