The 6 Stages of Writing Sub Plans When Teachers Wake Up Sick

The 6 Stages of Writing Sub Plans When Teachers Wake Up Sick

Teaching can be a pretty amazing career. We are tasked with teaching little humans, who will one day be our future. No day is ever the same, so there are no Mundane Mondays to contend with. It’s also socially acceptable for teachers to have an unhealthy relationship with flair pens. However, one of the downsides of teaching is writing sub plans when we wake up sick.

Here are the stages teachers go through when they realize they’re going to have to put together an emergency sub plan in the middle of the night while their body is falling apart.

Cue internal (or external, you do you, boo) screaming.

Stage 1: Wake up at 3 a.m. feeling like you were hit by a bus

Unexpected illness is a major life event for teachers. Unlike other professions, we can’t just call in sick, go back to sleep, and worry about catching up when we feel better. Calling in sick means we must write sub plans, one of the most dreaded parts of being a teacher.

Stage 2: Internally argue with yourself about calling in or not

Do we call in and write sub plans or do we bring a barf bag and suffer through the day? Which would be an easier option? Surprisingly, vomit bag vs. writing sub plans is actually a really tough choice. 

Stage 3: Decide teaching sick is easier than writing sub plans

Even in perfect health, writing sub plans that are easy to read and follow takes roughly the same amount of effort as a grad school dissertation. This is why so many of us, teachers would prefer to just drag ourselves out of bed, peel ourselves off the bathroom floor, or wake up from our fever dreams, down a bottle of Dayquil, and go to school.

Stage 4: Accept defeat and start writing sub plans from the bathroom

But then you realize it’s kind of hard to teach from the bathroom. It’s also not ideal to write sub plans while sitting on the toilet. Nobody wants to do anything but die when they are having bathroom issues, but when you’re a teacher and realize you can’t make it to school, you have to write sub plans no matter how dire the situation. 

Stage 5: Fight fever for a coherent thought

Ever try to focus when your temp is through the roof and your head feels like cement? It’s kind of hard, right? We have to plan for the unknown, 87 different scenarios, and explain in extreme detail what to do when so-and-so does this-and-that. We’d much rather just go back to our fever-induced dreams, but we have to force ourselves to be lucid enough to consider a hundred possible scenarios. Then explain it all in written form to someone who doesn’t know our students and probably doesn’t have much experience in a classroom.  

Stage 6: Cry when you find out no subs were available after all that work

We submit the sub plans, get back into bed where we can’t really get the rest we need because we’re worried about our students, only to find out no subs were available. Instead our classes were farmed out to our colleagues. When we do all that work while literally dying and there is no sub available, we want to scream (except we can’t because we haven’t gotten our voices back from our yearly laryngitis).

Writing sub plans is, perhaps, one of the absolute worst aspects of being a teacher. When we are sick, need a mental health day, or simply would like to take a personal day to binge-watch Netflix and eat our weight in popcorn, it’s like an act of Congress to take one measly day off. One thing we are grateful for, however, are subs. You lovely angels from heaven are so incredibly appreciated right now and forevermore. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


The 6 Stages of Writing Sub Plans When Teachers Wake Up Sick

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Katie is a 3rd-grade teacher. She loves buying décor she doesn't need for her classroom, long and repeated walks to the refrigerator in search of Ben & Jerry, and collecting stacks of books she never has time to read. When she is not in the classroom, she is practicing the great art of writing procrastination. Sometimes she actually writes stuff.
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