Working through the Pain


I admit. There were days when I taught and I was not 100%. Probably not even 70%. Still, unless I was physically unable to (and there were days), I made it to the classroom.

Now, before you start thinking I was one of those teachers who showed up everyday because of their commitment, you’d be wrong. Sure, that was part of why I showed up consistently, but there are other reasons. Need the pay check. Didn’t feel good abandoning my assistant to working with a sub. I didn’t have any sick or vacation time.

Still, I don’t think that many people realize that teachers work through pain. We work through pain. And, during my teaching career, there have been three consistent culprits.


These are the worst. Walking around feeling like someone bludgeoned you with a mallet. Unable to stay balanced when walking. Noises and light pierce your senses like javelins. Migraines are no fun.

It usually starts with me waking up with a headache. Then, taking a brief assessment, I have to decide whether this will be a full blown migraine or something manageable. Sometimes, I would call in sick. The rest of the time, I would show up to work and either 1) aggressively drink water, rest during breaks and the headache would be gone by noon or 2) the migraine would become full-blown and I would be gone by noon.

Noon is make-it or break-it time for me.

Injured Ankles

I rolled my ankle 2 or 3 times over my four years of teaching preschool. Every time it happened, it was because I was playing outside with the kiddos. Tag. Freeze Tag. Ugh… pretty much the games where I was running. Guess I don’t have the best of balance.

One time, I rolled my ankle so severely, I was required to go on disability for a few weeks and walk around with a cane. I thought to myself “Wow, I need a cane?” in disbelief. But then I thought, “I’m gonna put flames on it like House.”

Back Spasms

I’m a big guy working in a room with tiny furniture. Whenever I sat down in the tiny chairs, that last foot or so before my bottom hit the seat ended up being a controlled fall. Add to that the constant getting up and down off the floor and bending over to speak with kids, back problems are sure to follow.

Some mornings, I would wake up, try and sit up in bed, and there would be pain. My face would grimace and I fell back down on my pillow. I reached over to my phone, called the school, and left a message saying I wasn’t coming in. Back spasms.

So, there it is. Working through the pain. Since changing positions, the back spasms and ankle rolls have been reduced. Ahh, but those pesky migraines endure!


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