So, today was my first non work day of the summer! My children are still in school...one of the advantages of teaching in a different county than were we live and my lovely wife was volunteering to get up and get everyone off to school because as fat would have it I am sick!
I had a doctor's appointment later in the day so all that I needed to do was sleep and sleep I did. If I stop to think about it I have spent probably 40 of the last 48 hours asleep. Not my normal pattern. But about two weeks ago I started to fell bad...really bad. You know the swollen glands, sore throat, pounding head ache kind of bad. The kinda of bad that when you add it to the fact that my teenage son had just recovered form a very rough bout of MONO equals one sick daddy! The problem though is that 2 weeks ago we were just entering our high stakes testing window and the only excused absence for missing work during testing would be a note from the undertaker being delivered by my poor widow! So instead of laying out and resting I pushed on! And I made it. Sailed right through testing week like a kite through a tornado....no worse from the wear. Then we were down to the last four days. Four days! Anyone could buck up and make it four more days...and I did! I finished all of my grading, report cards, packed up my room and was ready for summer break...or more immediately a doctor....but my doctor was unaware of my situation and decided it would be okay to be out of town until the end of the month! Really...and teachers have to much time off!
But never fear, I go to an office with multiple doctors just so I can avoid such delays! So when I called Friday Morning I was given their next available appointment...ON MONDAY AT 1:15! Man did I feel sick....Of course my worst fear is that I have Mono....and the only treatment for Mono is to let it run its course and gets lots of rest. SO rest I did. I went to bed at about 2:30 pm on Friday and woke again sometime on Saturday. I took lots of naps and laid around when not napping that day. Of course it was my son's Junior prom so mom got to do the running around. I did manage to go and collect him at 2:30 in the morning since I had been sleeping all day. Sunday, I made my best attempt to trick myself into believing that I felt good enough to head to church. But, after a shower, shaving and getting dressed I needed a nap! So I took one...a long one. Let's just say it is a god thing that Sunday is called the day of rest because that is all I did.
Finally Monday was here. I am not sure what I expected from the doctor. After all, I already knew that if I had mono that I was doing everything that was to be done....rest! But, I wanted a confirmation so that I at least knew what was going on. But instead I went to the doctor. was seen right away! Even had a thoughtful nurse to send me down for blood work before the doctor came into see me. In the lab the swabbed my un-sore throat to check for strep and took blood to do a mono check. Then I went back and waited. To my surprise I did not have to wait long. The doc came in and reported that both tests came back negative...at which point I want to ask her about why I am sick...if I am not sick....but she went on to say that she was going to have the lab run a more in depth test to see what is going on. And with that I was sent away. Still feeling sick and knowing no more than when I first entered the doctor's office.
So in retrospect I really am looking at this doctors appt like so many of the required test we give our children in the educational field. Just like anyone who has worked with me in the last 2 weeks can tell you I am not well...something has to be wrong. That is the same thing we say about our struggling students. We know as educators that they are not getting it. But instead of trying to look closer and more in depth about why they are not getting it we simply keep moving on and continue to shake our heads and not understand why theses students are lagging behind.
We need to be more like my doctor was today. She did not look at me and say that I just needed to buck up and quit acting like I don't feel good. She empathized with me and decided that a closer, more thorough look needed to be taken to determine the cause of my trouble. This is what we need in education. It does no one the least bit of good to acknowledge the problem without understanding the cause or planning a solution. We can not wait for the morticians report to find out the cause of the problem. We must stop where we are, take a thorough examination of the problem and proceed with a strategic treatment plan that will move our struggling learners to the next level. Then and only then will we be meeting the needs of our students.