Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Dreaded Sick Day

Those dreaded words, you have to take a sick day. Those are words that many teachers don't like to hear, myself included. You realize that the students will not be able to complete the same work as if you were there and that in most cases the substitute won't be familiar with your subject area. In my 8 years of teaching, I have rarely taken sick days for those reasons. However this week, I had no choice after being diagnosed with a kidney stone and dealing with the severe pain associated with the stone.

Thankfully, my sick days did not turn into lost instructional days for my students. Why you ask? With my classroom set of Chromebooks, I could easily create assignments for my students to complete in class knowing that I could collaborate with them on the assignments. In addition, I created a discussion board on Google Classroom where the students could ask me questions about the material and I could respond to their questions during class. Even though I was not in the classroom with the students, they knew that I was a click away from them. 

The students responded very well to this system and my substitute was very appreciative of my availability to the students. I think this system may be a game changer for me in terms of taking days off. No more days of movies and video notes. Knowing that my students and I can be connected through Google Apps for Education no matter where I am is awesome. I know that my students are learning and the students know that I am available to help them. 

Days off and substitute lesson plans no longer need to be dreaded. Just think of it as an online learning day for the students and yourself. While it might take some time to adjust to, I think you will find that leaving your students with a collaborative assignment and knowing you are available to help is much more effective than a movie. 

So what are your thoughts on sick days and lesson plans? I'd love to keep the conversation going. 

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