(The Administrator can move this post to “Family and Children” if necessary.) In the previous forum we had a thread about people who come in sick to work and act like martyrs while at the same time infecting other people. As a teacher in a learning center, I’m getting sick of parents who send their ill children to the center rather than keeping them home to recover. This is not fair to the poor, sick child, and it’s not fair to those who work at the center, who are exposed to the child’s germs.
The other day one of my pupils, an eight-year-old girl whom I’ll call Sally, came in for her scheduled session. Sally is a bright girl, though inclined to be bratty. I saw at once that her cheeks her flushed; I asked her if she was sick. She answered yes, she had the flu. She also told he she’d been suspended from school that day. (I didn’t pursue this topic further, as it’s not my job to do so.) I asked why she wasn’t at home, resting; she told me her mother had made her come in that day. I was annoyed, but went on with the lesson plan. If she should start feeling worse, I told her, tell me, and I will ask Miss J. (my gushy, somewhat flaky boss—see under “Time for a Coffee Break”) to call your mom (as I have no authority to call the parents). While Sally worked, I decided to write up an index card detailing my concern (this is what we teachers are instructed to do if we have concerns) that Sally had been sent in with flu.
Well, Sally did hold up admirably to her ninety-minute session, though she was coughing (I urged her to cover her mouth), looking flushed, and (during the last fifteen minutes) could barely keep her eyes open. It did just occur to me that Sally’s mom might have thought it a form of punishment (for having been suspended) to send Sally to her session even though she was ill.
But am I unreasonable in expecting sick children to be kept home? Or is it just too much to ask of today’s working mothers (Sally’s mom’s in the military, though she is here and not overseas)? Do you think I could have handled the situation any differently? I’d like to emphasize that a learning center is a place for children who have trouble with their school subjects—it’s not daycare. I’d like also to say that if children do miss their sessions, their parents are simply asked to schedule a make-up; it’s not a huge ordeal.