Today, was our first snow day of the year…sigh… and for me it was much needed. I came down with a nasty cold yesterday that took over my nose and head–ugh. I was constantly sneezing and blowing my nose, and I felt like I couldn’t even hear properly. I was really in need of a day of rest.

That brought me to that familiar spot: the sick day dilemma. See, as much as my body needed to spend a day resting, my classes were blazing forward in student-driven discussions of novels. My missing a day would break the momentum of the work. I’d have to plan something appropriate for a substitute. I’d be wondering who would be with the kids and what would be happening in my absence. I’d have one less day to get where I want to be in the curriculum by February break. Often, being absent for a day means you come back to an extra hard day of work catching up on whatever you missed. And I’m not Thaaat sick, am I? Do I really want to use up a sick day for this?

But I’ve had this difficulty since I was little. In my mother’s words, I “run myself ragged” doing everything I believe I need to do–often revolving around the needs of people or entities other than myself–and then I often neglect my own basic needs. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not the martyr type. I mostly run myself ragged for things I really enjoy. I just find it hard to slow down when I need to.

And then, the heavens opened up and dumped ten inches of snow on an already stressed NYC plow system. Bloomberg closed the schools, thus solving my sick day dilemma.

I do think, more than in many other professions, teachers are hesitant to take time off. We muscle through ’til we arrive at our vacations. Sometimes this is admirable, sometimes it’s just ridiculous to think that the world is going to end if we are absent for a day–and sometimes, though incredibly rarely, it snows.

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