I have Strep Because of Your Child


Can I just, can I just…

I know. It’s unfair. It angers me and it probably angers parents but, it needs to be said. I could be impartial, as I usually am, but here it goes:

If your kid is sick, I mean strep throat sick. I mean might have the measles sick, keep your kid home!

I know. You need the money. Staying home with them is something that while helps them, does not help pay the bills.

I know it’s not like when we were kids either. You can’t just leave an 11-year-old locked up for the day to sleep in bed. Things are different now. You can’t leave them alone.

I know you don’t have any sick days, because you or your kid used them already, it is February after all. I understand.

Trust me I do. I would still and still do, stay home with my kid when he’s sick.

“But Katherine, you have no choice, he’s almost 1 years old!”

Until he is in High School, I’d stay home with him. I would.

Here’s why: Teachers.

As a teacher, I come into contact with 130+ students a week. I have to touch what they’ve touched, clean up what they’ve breathed, and sneezed on.

There is not enough Lysol to cover the germs in my classroom. But as a lot of people like to say “You chose this.”

I did NOT choose to watch your child when the doctor has ASKED you to keep your child home for 3 days or two weeks. That was your choice.

Then, I bring your choice home to my 11 month old baby, and I’m sorry I can’t run home after lessons and tutoring, take a hot bath and change clothes, before I get him at daycare. Like you, I have to rush to get him before his caregiver’s closed for business.

So I touch him. I touch my husband, my own nose or eyes or mouth, and there it is.

While I appreciate the note:

“Dear Mrs. G,

Please excuse Y____ from band this next week. He has strep throat.

Thank you,
Mrs. _________

I just feel like if I cared for your son when he was a baby, and as I handed him off to you, after day care and said “Oh by the way, I have strep throat. I hope you don’t mind.” You’d flip your shit. You’d have your right.

And yet, now that you child is older, if I called that number at the end of your letter with the question, “Why did you send your son the school with this horrible infection?!” You would expect the above excuses to fly. Well, they don’t.

When I am absent without the 4 sick days I earn a year, my check is garnished around (let’s make it an easy whole number, give or take a dollar) 85 bucks. I had to be out 7 days this month because my son was sick and now I am.

My, so-called fancy, teaching job pays me $1,700 a month, take home. Now it’s going to be $1,105. But wait! That insurance I have that every one thinks is free? I still have copays, which I have now paid for my sick son and myself:

$35 a visit (baby)
$87 visit (adult)

4 baby visits and 1 adult= $227
Plus medicine for the baby: $98= $325.

I haven’t been able to get my prescription yet, but if I am lucky it will be $15 bucks. I hope.

So not only am I losing pay being out with my baby (that I cannot help but be out for), I lose the above. Not to mention, he had to get shots for antibiotics at each of those appointments. I’m probably going to pay a portion of that later too.

Oh yes, I chose this job, this lamentable “my momma said she’d never want to be a teacher,” job. Oh yes, I spend 8 hours a day teaching and enriching their lives. But what you are telling me is, I am no better than a 15-year-old babysitter to you. If your kid is sick, the sitter can refuse to watch your child. If the babies at daycare have a fever, the daycare makes you pick up that baby and take them home.

Public school? Send me your tired, your hungry, your strep throat riddled masses so I may take them to my bosom and care for them. So I may care for them, let them sleep in my class, cause even I know they should be home (even though they tell me you already know they are sick so they can’t call home). Let me hear how they “need my trash can quick!” So that I or the janitor have to physically rinse the sick out of our cans, so we get to be exposed even more. Or heaven forbid, they threw up on me. I tell them it’s okay and that I love them too. It’s alright to be sick. They say they wish they were home, and I do too.

I love your child. It’s hard-working with them every day for 180 days a year, for an hour and a half, not to love them. So understand me when I ask you to let them stay home with you, it’s not out of spite.

I’m just thinking of my own child, my earnings, my job. Contrary to my paycheck and popular belief, I don’t do this for free. Sometimes it seems like I almost do, but no, I’m still getting paid.

I know you can say the same worries circle your mind too.

So have a care, and if you can’t keep them home for the week, let’s try compromise. Family members can maybe watch them, or you and your spouse alternate days staying home with your child, or heck, I’ll alternate with you if I have to. What ever is chosen, your child needs to be home at least 60% of the week.

Respect, do you respect your teachers enough, as human beings, to keep your kids home? Do you?

I have found, many do not. As I’ve outlined above, I have many of the same problems many parents have. I can understand. If CDubs relapsed with his sickness next week, I’d be home, not just because I had no choice (daycare rules).

Just think about it.



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