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What do you do?

Ms. K

Full Member
I posted Friday that I was home with the flu. I've still got it and will be out tomorrow, or I could just go in and demonstrate my hacking cough for everyone in the building to share.

Anyway, I got a lovely little email from my principal that in so many words said I was being horrible for being sick and that if I want parents to have any confidence in me I needed to show my face on campus.

Here is my dilemma: What do I do when one after the other my own two children get the flu and I have to stay home with them? How should I approach this with the principal? The parents of my students understand why I have to be gone when the kids are sick and they understand the issue of having two kids that get sick one after the other. My parents also have total trust and confidence in me and let me know all the time.

So, what do you do when this situation arises?


Stay home!

Sometimes emails have a different tone than they are meant to have. Do you think she didn't mean it so rudely?

Please do all of your colleagues and students a favor and stay home. I have never heard of an administrator being so inconsiderate by asking you to go to work while you have the flu.

If your own children get the flu, and you have to stay home, then I think you need to explain to the principal that you need to use your personal or sick days (depending on district guidelines) to take care of them.


Senior Member
The more things change...

Many years ago (about 25) I found myself in a similar situation. I hate to admit it, but I often went to school sick. I certainly spread my illnesses but I knew that my principal frowned on missing too much school. I wanted to be home with my children when they were sick. (What choices families are forced to make!) Late one year I had missed a total of about 5 days due to sick children and my sensitive principal remarked to me, “It’s too bad women can’t decide if they want to be teachers or mothers.” Oh my goodness! It took me weeks to cool off. Well, I tried to patch child care for kiddos when they were sick by trading days with my hubby (very tricky!) and my wonderful parents would occasionally drive four hours to take over when things like the chicken pox arrived. It was always a balancing act. Not being there for my kids when they were sick remains my biggest regret about being a working mom. My advice to you, Mrs. K., is take care of yourself and your children ... stay home! Twenty five years from now your principal will be long gone and you will have no regrets.

c green

If your kids are sick

You need to take care of them. One of our teachers has been out a lot this year because her back is giving her problems. Another got pneumonia and was out for a bit. Both of these are excellent teachers, and I do not think any of the parents care much--they know that the class will move forward, and their kids will be taken care of.

Ms. K

Full Member

Thank you so much for putting it into perspective for me. My kids are the reason I got into teaching; so I could be close to them. I would never sacrifice them for a job. Your words meant a lot to me.

Gina TX

Senior Member
I just have to

I can't help myself. I just started this semester so I don't know about being out as a teacher, but....in my previous job (12 years as a case worker) my first boss was the best. I have a child with Asthma and I just could not leave him with anyone else when he was really sick. Even a cold had the potential to turn into something big. It still does, but he's older now. At that time he was about 2-3 years old. My bosses philosophy was your family should come first. The work isn't going anywhere. My colleagues would have to pick up what was due when I missed, but other than that, it was certainly there when I got back. Fast forward. A few years later my wonderful boss retired. My new boss was a female and pregnant. One would think (wrongly) that because she missed so much work being pregnant, had a small child at home, and was a mother herself she would be understanding. She was not. Not at all. Shortly after she started I had a hysterectomy and you think that it was my choice to be out so long. Thank God I had my co workers to depend on. They were great. She never called to see how I was or anything. She was still there when I left and still making everyone's life miserable. There was another supervisor in this building that actually told one of his employees that was single with no children that she had no excuse for being late to work since she had no responsibilities. What on earth happens to some people when they get in a position of authority? You would think that nothing has ever happened in their lives when they needed a little compassion.

Like I said, I don't know about the "rules" of being out as a teacher, but I will give my opinion. At least where I live the flu has been very bad this year and I don't want it. Like someone else said do yourself the favor, take care of yourself and your kids. That's what's most important. You know your class is ok so there is no reason for you to feel bad about it.

I hope you feel better soon!

Ms. N

New Member
be well

Unfortunatly I can relate all too well you situation.

First of all as a parent of a young child I would be angry if I new the principal of my kid's school was making a SICK teacher to comr to school and inffect a classroom of kids. That is what subs are for!

Second of all, as a teacher myself, I teach kinders and I am sick all the time! they sneeze and cough on me all day. I don't call out for a little sniffle, but the flu is a no brainner . . . stay home in bed until you are well. A doctors note might squelch your principal's unkind words.

Thirdly, yes, you are a teacher and you love your class, but YOUR own children have to come first. They are your responsibility. What are you gonna do put them in daycare sick? leave them home alone? what you you do when one of your kiddos get sick? You know you have to be with them - you are their mom - This is what sick/personal days are for.

I of course do not know how many sick days you have used this year, but if it is not in excess of what your union allows you have nothing to worry about . . .rest your little head, pull the covers up close your eyes, rest your sick body! and do not give this a second thought . . .go back to school when you are well . . .but take it from the voice of experience, take the TIME to get well, do not push it and go running back the first day you kinda feel well otherwise your sickeness will come back withe a vengence and you will be sicker than you thought possible.

take care of yourself . . . .

Ima Teacher

Senior Member
Wow! I can't imagine working for administrators that didn't understand that people get SICK! Several years ago I missed 45 days during the school year, and I got nothing but support from my school.


Junior Member
Please don't take this the wrong way . . .

I COMPLETELY understand that you are ill and I agree that you should stay home. I also know that when your kids are sick, you need to stay home with them, too. I also know that people catch germs and often parents and children are sick right after each other.

Is there any way that your husband could stay home from his job and watch the children until they are well? So often the wives are asked to stay home, but husbands have sick days, as well. More often than not, they have more sick days than we do because they work more days of the year than we do.

Teach 5

Senior Member

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to change the mind of a person that thinks the way your principal does. All you can do is call in sick & tell them who is sick and that you will be back as soon as you can.
I never regretted taking off when my children or I were sick, even though some of the principals I've had over the years had that same attitude. They get mad when we call in but they get over it. I always dreaded making the call, but really my attendance record spoke for itself. I wasn't out unless necessary, I don't know why some people feel that they have to have a bad attitude about it.
Those principals are all out of my life now, my current one is more understanding, my kids are almost grown, & they still call home when they are sick! Kids need their moms. We shouldn't be forced to choose. After all the kids that I taught during those years made it through just fine & the principals are no longer in my life but my kids are.
Stay home when you need too & don't feel bad about it!


Senior Member
contract stipulations

I don't know if you are in a public or private school but I'm public and I specficially remember reading in our news letter that a principal cannot reprimand a teacher for missing sick days as long as that teacher has not missed over the alloted number of days given for the year, in our case, that would be ten days. They CANNOT write on our evaluation anything about the number of days missed as long as the teacher hasnt used all the days.

We get these days for a reason and your principal had NO right to say anything to you. I know it is hard to stand up for yourself and I don't do it very much either but in your shoes I think I would request a meeting with the principal and discuss this matter with her directly. I would, in a nonconfrontation way, simply explain to her that you feel like she was upset with you due to your missed sick days and ask her what you should do in the future when you become ill - take doctor's note if you have one. I'd just see what she has to say because if not you are going todrive yourself crazy every time you have to miss school wondering what she's thinking and that would make me even crazier (thinking I could never miss when I was sick)

good luck to you


Senior Member

Check your Collective Agreement.
It should detail the types of absences you may take.
For example I am allowed a total of 3 days per year deductible from my sick leave bank for "illness in the immediate family." I can take sick days for myself but I need a doctor's certificate if the illness is 5 days or longer.
If you feel you are being treated differently than what your contract or Collective Agreement describes than you should contact your steward or local union.