Coming back to work may sometimes not be easy, especially when it comes to teachers, who in summer have the opportunity to forget about the problems which will be waiting for them in the new school year. However, this text is referred to all those of you who don’t know when to say it’s time to go, and sometimes it’s really not a bad idea.
Will it be then a text of a depressed person? Why should you know when it’s time to go? Of course, it won’t be anything like that! I come from a family, in which we go to work to the last, until we simply can’t. No matter whether we have a runny nose, or a strong cough, or the way we feel sucks a big time. As we say what youth is used to, age remembers. I must admit that, there’s something in this saying, and at least in my case it’s applied well.
Since I started working for the state schools, which was exactly 6 years ago, I was on the doctor’s leave twice, oh sorry … now the situation has changed a little bit, as my organism has also given out. Does it mean that I’m indestructible? Maybe I’m a woman of steel? I regret to say that, but no. I was brought up in a way that I feel guilty when I need to miss work due to illness. It has happened many times that I treated common cold and cough for three weeks, and having fever in the evening, but waking up without raised temperature in the morning, I decided to go to work anyway. I also went through blurred vision, when the light in the classroom was purple and I saw the kids as if they had been under the surface of the water. It was quite silly, as not staying in bed when you suffer from flu or cold may have a detrimental effect on your body. Unfortunately, as long as we are not struck by something for good, we count on dumb luck or we hope a given problem won’t concern us. As I’ve already mentioned, I was twice on the doctor’s leave until now, when I had a high fever at work and I decided it was high time to take care of myself, and once when I had chickenpox, which I couldn’t ignore. Last week my voice stopped working well, and to some extent it was caused by not a very wise change in Polish education system. Secondary schools accepted mass amounts of graduates from both primary schools and junior high schools at the same. The classrooms are overloaded, the lessons last until late afternoon, and after reaching my home I need to prepare myself to work. No one will tell me, as many people think, that teachers work 18 hours per week, as there’s nothing more deceptive. It’s a kind of work you can never get out of. Since the beginning of the new school year is usually quite intensive, unfortunately it happened that I didn’t sleep long enough, not to talk about resting after work. My organism, when it’s overloaded, becomes prone to all kinds of illnesses and infections. I’m not able to cope with them at that time, and what surprises me the most, during summer, when it happens that sometimes I get cold, my body is rested and strong enough to overcome everything on its own.
As I’ve mentioned before my voice stopped working well last week, and it’s the main tool of work for me. It started gradually, however the workload occurred to be so big, that I got hoarse for good. That’s why, waking up one morning and not being able to say a word, I finally decided to go to the doctor. Of course, in my case it wasn’t the end of the whole story. I went to check into the doctor, getting up early in the morning, unfortunately the first available visit was possible after 10 am, and I started lessons a little bit earlier, to make matters worse my day at work was supposed to last till late afternoon. Having no choice, I called the office to report my indisposition, which was difficult to hide via the phone, as my voice sounded at least like after a good boozy party. I was patiently waiting for the hour of my visit at the doctor’s, suffering agony, imagining that I won’t get the doctor’s leave, as I wasn’t dying yet. Maybe, I could still say something in the classroom. I was testing my voice, making strange sounds similar to the ones produced by not well tuned violins. I had a fear of not getting my doctor’s leave to such an extent that I even didn’t drink warm tea in the morning, as the tea would make me speak with beautiful and crystal voice again. So it turned out that at 10 am I didn’t get my voice back and I wasn’t healed in a miraculous way, just on the contrary, I had to whisper, so that my doctor could understand anything. In my small, yet smart head, I figured it out that I’d get 2 days at most plus weekend and since Monday I’d be a marvelous teacher again, straining my voice at work. I was really surprised with the fact that I got a much longer leave which was supposed to last the whole week. I was diagnosed and it turned out that I had laryngitis. The warmth of my home, peace and quiet, as well as not straining my voice did real miracles, and all in all, I could speak freely again next day in the afternoon. Of course, I started feeling guilty, as I was not dying, and I had a few more days to stay at home left. Luckily, as I have already mentioned before, I’m not a totally brainless person, sometimes I even experience some moments of enlightenment, sparse, but quite spectacular. I was struck with such a thought: ‘Natalia, you can speak only because you are resting your voice now. Otherwise you would strain it even more, not to compare it with using old socks, which should be thrown away a long time ago.’
Remember that everyone can be replaced. One day you will be fired or what’s even worse you’ll simply leave this world and you’ll be quickly forgotten at work. If you think differently, many of you are mistaken. No one will appreciate your work more, because you decided to come to your office despite the fact that you are ill. You’ll also not get the Nobel Prize for sure. So my question sounds as follows: is it really worth it? Without health there’s no work, no life, that’s why you need to respect it. Because of this article I keep humming a song by Agnieszka Chylińska, which I’d like to quote as a way of summing up my today’s text:
‘When I know it’s time to go
And I know it will happen soon
When I want to leave this world
Then I know, I won’t wait for you, no
I’ll leave in silence, like I want
And I’m sure you won’t be around
Nobody will remember me
And I know that I’ll be all alone (…)’
See you around!