During the past couple of weeks, I've been disgusted more than usual with my students. It's not their behavior; I actually have classes this semester that behave better than usual. Instead, it's the fact that I've recently been unable to see my students as little more than Ebola monkeys, carrying their personal collection of communicable diseases with them wherever they go.
This is normally just a hazard of the job. I take a few days off each fall and again each spring with strep throat or some other fever-inducing disease brought on by my time spent closed up in small classrooms with the revolting progeny of other people. I can't get sick now, though. More than a month ago K and I made the reservations for our two-night stay in Charleston, SC, for this weekend. If I get sick now, we'll miss out on a fun weekend I've been looking forward to for weeks now. My pestilent pupils have already robbed me of some of my enjoyment of a stay in Savannah last fall. The lingering symptoms of pneumonia left me winded after even short walks through the historic district.
My students, however, have no respect for my plans. They still come to school with diagnosed strep throat, or hack, wheeze, and drip their way through the school day. They stand too close when they ask for a note to the nurse so they can call home sick for the day, and they're not faking for once. I just hope my immune system can hold off the hordes of microscopic barbarians long enough for me to get through this weekend. After that, I'll be perfectly happy to suffer a little fever and congestion to be able to skip a couple days of school.