One side benefit of being a staff developer is that I get sick a lot less than I did as a classroom teacher. While I still get lots of student hugs, high fives from mysteriously wet hands, and tapped on my arm with fingers freshly plucked from noses, I guess most students haven’t reached the same “let me sneeze something slimy all over you” level of trust with me that I would have if I were with them every day. So when a teacher I work with told me that she had 9 kids absent with “either the stomach flu, a nasty cough, or pinkeye,” I felt confident that I would navigate my way around and through these germs.
So then I woke up the next day with one pink eye. “Those darn allergies,” I told myself as I flushed my eye with some water in the shower and went about my day.
The next day, it was about the same color, but now had a film on it. “I really need to vacuum the floor in here…this dust is driving me crazy.”
Today, there was a gob of goo in the corner of my now red eye that only another teacher would understand. And this made me think. I have been down this road a few times and every time I go to the doctor and say, “I think I have pinkeye,” the first question they ask is if I’m a teacher, then immediately confirm their diagnosis as soon as I say yes. “Yup, it’s pinkeye alright.” I don’t think they even really examine my eyes.
This made me think of the different diseases and bugs and viruses that I have gotten from my students. In what other profession do you get tiny, soft hugs? A warm, sticky hand holding yours just because you are walking next to them? Tears on your shoulder (and probably a trail of boogers as well)? They love us. They snuggle with us. They trust us and feel safe with us. That is a precious gift. They just drop off a few extra germs along with all of that love.
I guess a little pink eye now and then is a fair tradeoff.