No matter what level you teach, your students are going to infect you with some kind of disease, from the common cold to strep throat or even worse. Your first year of teaching, or your time as a student teacher, is usually the worst it will ever be in your career as an educator. The best way to protect yourself from this is mostly common sense – wash your hands –  but there are some more things you can do to stave off infections.

1. Clean the desk tops. This seems simple, but the janitorial staff does not necessarily do this. I try and clean off the desks at least once a week, using a kitchen or bathroom-grade disinfectant that I keep in my classroom.

2. Clean areas that are commonly touched, like doorhandles, phone receivers, and keyboards. I keep disinfecting wipes in my classroom for this and try to clean these off at least once a week.

3. Keep tissues in your classroom. This has a dual purpose: it keeps the students from leaving your classroom to go to the bathroom for tissue, and it cuts down on the likelihood that they use their hands to wipe their nose and then open the door.

4. If a student is sick, send them to the nurse…even if they don’t ask to go. I am not a parent, but I have learned over the years to recognize symptoms and send them to the nurse to prevent everyone else from catching whatever they have.

5. make sure you get enough sleep, eat right, and exercise. This is obvious, but keeping your body healthy will keep you from getting every little thing that comes along.

6. Be prepared. Have a lesson plan ready for a sub and if your district has a sub system, make sure you are registered now. Trust me, you aren’t going to want to do this the morning that you feel like death would be a step up.