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How To Not Get Sick As A Teacher: 8 Ways to Avoid Getting Sick as a Teacher

Inside: Check out these tips on how to not get sick as a teacher! By following the advice in this post, you can avoid getting sick as a teacher

When I decided to go into teaching, I had no clue how often I was going to be sick. However, when you are around kids all day every day, that means GERMS. While I was student teaching, I found myself catching nearly EVERY bug that came into my classroom, my cooperating teacher called it “first-year teacher sickness.” Needless to say, I was sick quite often and came to expect that it was just part of the job.

First-year teacher sickness- How to not to get sick as a teacher

You’re in the education profession. This means you are exposed to every possible illness that enters your classroom. Kids come to school with colds and even flu bugs (and so much more). You may find yourself wondering how to avoid “first-year teacher sickness” and how not to get sick as a teacher.

Your job is to help children throughout the day, which sometimes means helping clean up their messes, desks, and little hands, all of which can be covered with germs. While you can’t always prevent getting sick as a teacher, there are ways to lessen the chances. These ways to avoid getting sick as a teacher are your first defenses against having to stay home in bed.

1) Use hand sanitizer and wash your hands to prevent getting sick as a teacher.

Even though using hand sanitizer won’t 100% protect you from every illness that enters your classroom, using a bit of Purell after cleaning up a child’s desk, shaking hands with kids or parents, or even opening your classroom door can make a huge difference in keeping germs at bay.

While sanitizer is perfect in a pinch, be sure to wash your hands whenever you get a chance, as well.

2) Leave work at school.

There are two reasons for this. First, leave the germs at school. Did you know that there was a study done that concluded teaching is the germiest job? You are exposed to germs all day every day, you don’t want to bring them home to spread to your family. 

Second, staying up all hours of the night grading papers is not good for your well-being or mental focus. 

Step away from the non-stop workload and get some much-needed rest and family time at home. The balance between work, family, and your own personal time can go a long way in maintaining your physical health.

Check out my podcast episode, “Stop Grading On The Weekends” where I interview teacher life coach Chrissy Nichols about her tips to get your time back.

3) Take your sick days when you do get sick.

Many teachers do not take their sick days even when they are sick. Going to school when you are under the weather does not make you a team player or a better teacher. It just makes you more apt to have to stay home and take more sick days.

Whether you’re avoiding sick days because of guilt, the overwhelming nature of sub plans, or giving up some control, let go, and let yourself have some time to heal before you get even sicker. When you have emergency sub plans on hand, you won’t need to worry when you do get sick.

Don’t want to take a day off because you dread sub planning? I’ve got you covered. You can grab lots of FREE sub-planning materials in my shop. You can also learn how to create a substitute binder and how to organize a sub tub on my blog.

Want even more? You can also find comprehensive and editable substitute binders and my print-and-go Ready To Go Sub Plans in my shop as well as in my Teachers pay Teachers store. 

4) Eat a healthy diet to avoid getting sick as a teacher.

Eating a balanced meal of fruits, vegetables, and proteins will help your health. If you find yourself feeling sick when you eat certain foods, it may be time to eliminate or lessen some types of foods from your diet.

Avoid greasy and sugary foods that cause you to feel run down or put on weight. It’s OK to indulge every once in a while, but bringing healthy snacks instead of grazing in the teacher’s lounge will be a healthy choice.

5) Supplement with vitamins- especially C and D.

Vitamin C is well-known for helping us stay healthy. However, Vitamin D plays a critical role as well. Many of us are deficient in vitamin D, which can lead to a weak immune system. Taking both of these vitamins regularly can help you avoid getting sick as a teacher.

6) Get enough sleep

Sleep is crucial for optimal health. Strive for at least 7 hours of sleep each night. 8 hours is the ideal amount, but I’ve found that setting a goal of 7 hours was more realistic for me. I do try to get 8 hours in whenever I can, though. Getting enough sleep can help you avoid getting sick as a teacher.

7) Find time to de-stress

Teacher burnout can actually affect your health! You need to take care of yourself so you don’t get sick.

Stress actually affects your body in many ways- and one of them is a weakened immune system. Numerous studies have proven that stress can increase the risk of getting sick. Find yourself feeling burned out? Check out these tips to keep teacher burnout at bay and practice teacher self-care.

8) Get a little exercise.

You don’t have to have a gym membership to keep up your healthy, active lifestyle. A little bit of exercise in the form of walking, playing outside with your kids, doing yoga, or having an indoor dance party are simple ways to keep your body going strong.

I also love these 10-minute workout DVDs in my Amazon storefront because they help me get a good workout in a short period of time. Exercise helps fight off illness and keep your body and mind strong.

Be prepared for unexpected sick days with sub plans and sub binders

While you can try your best to avoid getting sick as a teacher, you will find yourself getting sick. Check out these resources to help you with your sub planning! You can check out tons of ready-to-go sub plans and substitute binders in my shop. When you purchase on my shop, you will earn points toward future purchases and retain access to your purchases with emailed updates. They are all also available at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. You can learn even more from our comprehensive guide to emergency sub plans here.

Emergency sub plans are sub plans that you have on hand for any time of the year. Yes, they may not be what you had planned to teach that day, but they should be well-prepared, standards-aligned activities your students can do. Keep them in a designated, easy-to-find spot in your classroom. 

Don’t want to make your own emergency sub plans? My Ready-To-Go Sub Plans are available for Pre-K through 6th grades- you can purchase single days and up to a full WEEK or more! Bundle discounts are available when you purchase multiple days at a time! They are a great way to be ready for emergency sub days because EVERYTHING is done for you! (Besides making copies, of course!)

A sub binder has all the information your substitute teacher may need in case you catch, “first-year teacher sickness,” or anything else that may come up in a school year.  While the Ready To Go Sub Plans include the activities, the sub binder includes essential information such as the school schedules, seating chart, class list, procedures, and more! Check out the editable sub binder here! The sub binder is my #1 seller and includes templates for EVERYTHING your sub needs to know at their fingertips.

Learn how to create a substitute binder and how to organize a sub tub in my other blog posts. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite sub-planning items on Amazon that I use to put my sub-plans and binders together.

All of these resources are also available in my Teachers pay Teacher store. 

Not ready to buy just yet? Don’t forget to sign up for your FREE sub plans if you haven’t grabbed them yet! 🙂

Cold and flu season can take a toll on your body and your sick days. Here’s to a healthy school year for you, your family, and all of your students.

If you aren’t feeling well, stay home, but to keep illness away, try these suggestions for how to not get sick as a teacher.

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kelsey sorenson

Hey there, new teacher bestie! I’m Kelsey, and I created Wife Teacher Mommy just for YOU! I blog about teaching and create elementary school and homeschooling resources to make your life easier. Be sure to sign up for my FREE email newsletter!

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