I Felt Bloated on Saturday

That’s how it started. And I was tired. It was even more difficult than normal to perform the menial and tedious job-related chores I had brought home for a beautiful Saturday morning.

But my wife and I went to a benefit auction and dinner on Saturday night, as planned. No problem. And after that we went to see our friend’s band, as planned. It was in this unfortunate venue that the real trouble began.

Who’s there?
Sal who?

That’s right, folks. Salmonella. I recommend, in the strongest terms, not getting salmonella if you are able. It is a top-shelf, lower-GI affliction with all the worst your body has to offer in sight, smell and sound. But that’s not all! Salmonella also includes fever, nausea, sweating, headache, chills, muscle soreness and difficulty standing!


So, how do you think I got it?

Raise your hand if you said chicken…Yeah. Almost everybody. That’s what I would have said, too. But no. The Infectious Disease (ID) specialist thinks I got it from my son’s lizard. That’s his best guess so far. (More test results are pending.) So when I got home I put on some gloves I stole from the hospital and beat the holy crap out of the lizard. I have pictures and video of the beating, but I’m not going to show them to you. It might inflame the passions of other lizards who are already pissed off that we have been holding him in a glass box for four years without charge and shining a bright light on him.

This brings us to the real subject of today’s post:
Six Places You Can Beat a Lizard and Not Leave a Mark
Just kidding. (Anyway, contrary to what I was assured, there are only four. Isn’t that right, “Darth Veter”? What a stupid name, you moron.)

The real subject is
Why Being a Grunt in a Hospital May Be Better Than Being a Teacher

I don’t mean grunt in a derogatory way. I mean anybody who works with patients and isn’t a doctor or some top sort of nurse. You know what I mean? In mulling this over, I think it boils down to two things: 1) Importance: centrality of the task to the organizational mission; 2) Objectivity: The ease with which performance of the task can be measured.

If it’s you who keeps bringing patients to the wrong room, forgetting to deliver medications, delivering the wrong meals, producing fuzzy x-rays, or sticking needles clear through the other side of the vein; that will get picked up pretty quickly precisely because it is both of these things: Important and Objective. I’m guessing you would also be recognized for consistently doing these things correctly and efficiently. You can stand out, and you know exactly how to do it.

Compare that to teaching. Here’s a challenge for you. Think of anything we do as teachers that scores high on both of these criteria.
Clear, measurable, standards-based, engaging lesson objectives?
Turning in lesson plans on time?
Developing individual relationships with students?
Entering attendance data by 3:45?

I’m stumped.

And another thing…here’s what makes the place where I work especially disengaging and uncomfortable for teachers and causes them to flee if they are able. Most of the administrators in the building suffer from Diminished Interpersonal Capacity Syndrome or DICS. For example, I have been out all week and spent a day and a half in the hospital. I have emailed my VP/department chair twice, notifying him of my illness and HOSPITALIZATION. Nothing. Not a “get well soon”, or “some of us are hoping you don’t die” or “OK”. Nothing. And it’s Teacher Appreciation Week for Christ’s sake. He’s been my boss for three long-ass years. He hired me. It was another one of those moments when my wife’s jaw dropped as she again came to understand how much less cool my bosses are than hers.

DICS is a terrible condition for those who live and work with sufferers. Presently, there is no cure for DICS and the medical field has been slow to recognize it. Advocates note that people have probably always had DICS, but we are just now able to diagnose it.

I have been working with an advisory panel that will soon form a small group to lobby Congress for research funds to study DICS. At present, the DICS Foundation Advisory Panel is actively soliciting ideas for an organizational slogan; something to put on coffee cups and lighters and things like that. I have told them I would forward to the panel any suggestions sent in by Teachbad readers. Below are the ideas they have so far.

It’s Time to Talk About DICS
Down With DICS
Take a Bite Out of DICS
DICS Hurts
Let’s Get a Grip on DICS

Thanks for your help,

Mr. Teachbad
DICS Foundation Advisory Panel Co-Chair

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29 Responses to I Felt Bloated on Saturday

  1. kathymp says:

    I had a principal tell me, when I was 8.5 months pregnant, that I only had 4 days in my sick bank and would be terminated if I took more than those 4 days to give birth to my child. She got really ticked when I quoted the contract chapter and verse which allowed me up to one year of leave and that I was GENEROUSLY only taking 6 months.

    I also got a verbal reprimand when I was out the week of state tests because all 5 in my household (including ME) were sidelined with the Noro Virus (the one that was causing all the cruise ships to make emergency stops because the toilets were backing up? That one). I was almost admitted to the hospital with dehydration and exhaustion from being so sick while caring for an infant and two more young children who were just as sick. And I was denied tenure, er, ENCOURAGED to resign, at the end of that year.

    • ImDaTeacher says:


    • Chillalackey says:

      Your situation sounds exactly like my former situation. Idiotic. I was in and out of the hospital for a month and the DAY I came back I was told my contract would not be renewed and I had to resign or it would show as a non-renewal. Then the administrator bad mouthed me and I couldn’t get a job for years. Teaching is such a frustrating profession that if it wasn’t for the kids I would have never continued. I’m thankful that I have an AMAZING school now that is what education is supposed to be!

  2. Rebekah says:

    I am so interested in this disorder. Do you think it could be like other syndromes that can be carried for years and show little/no symptoms for long periods of time??? I ask because I believe I work with a few people who have the beginning stages of this syndrome. :) :) :)

    I hope you feel 100% very soon in spite of working with DICS!

  3. ImDaTeacher says:

    glad you didn’t die… your written reprimand for not leaving sub plans would have been buried with you! i work with a teacher who will earn her admin degree in a few weeks – – she has a full blown case of DICS without *even* being paid to be admin yet!

  4. crazedmummy says:

    Nah, DICS is definitely one of those contact contagions, everyone who hangs out with a victim eventually gets it. And there seems to be no immunity buildup. It’s particularly virulent when spread via the nasal membranes from the fundament (look it up, I did).
    How about Avoid DICS – keep your nose clean. You could print it on tissue boxes.

    Since it was teacher appreciation week, your administrator did not (a) terminate your contract, (b) terminate your insurance coverage, (c) send a message saying “die, scum, die” . This was a step up.

    And finally, do not piss off the lizard. any animal that can produce poo the size of its head deserves respect.

  5. disgusted says:

    Oh yes, I believe DICS is not only common, but spreading. I had a co-worker who was reprimanded for poor attendance after taking time off to have chemotherapy. In her rebuttal to the improvement plan, she said her principal wasn’t fit to interact appropriately with human beings. Maybe we should hook her up with the lizard?

  6. Sean says:

    Lost my father early in the school year, took a few days off for the funeral……I still am waiting for an administrator to tell me that they are ” sorry for my loss.”
    As a matter of fact I was told by a Asst. Principal I should I have only been off 3 days for bereavement leave. I told him ” Go to Hell, I have enough personal days to take the remainder of the semester off.”
    Something happens to people when they go to the “office” and it ain’t good…..

  7. Maura says:

    That sucks. I’m sorry you were sick and that you have to struggle with DICS, too. It’s a rough world out there. Happy Teacher Appreciation day.

  8. reks says:

    Okay. now I know who you are Mr. Teachbad. You work in my school in Henry County, Georgia.

  9. Miss Crabtree says:

    YEP. Salmonella is carried by several kinds of reptiles. Very important to wash one’s hands after handling lizards, turtles, snakes, skinks, etc.

    On the other hand, you need not worry about salmonella from Komodo Dragons because their bite is so deadly–their saliva is so filled with deadly bacteria that their prey usually dies within 24 hours from infection. Nasty business. Good thng that your kid did not have a Komodo Dragon. Hunh?

    I wash my hands so often at school that they become red and raw in winter.

    Sorry to hear about your bout of Salmonella–it is pretty disgusting and very debilitating. Hope you are better and better every day. BTW: DICS suck.

  10. Miss Crabtree says:

    One more thing. Research shows that Kool-ade has been associated with DICS.

    In my district, becoming an administrator is known as “drinking the Kool-ade” or “going to the dark side.” It has happened to people who used to be respected colleagues. No one is immune.

  11. Mr. J says:

    I would like to put forth an additional theory, one which ImDaTeacher’s anecdotal evidence may support: When one contracts DICS in the early years of teaching, it causes the infected to suffer a schizophrenic break with reality, in which they believe that after only two or three years of being in the classroom they have the necessary experience to warrant promotion to an administrative position. In this situation, the sufferer often obtains a cheap “educational leadership” degree from a third-rate on-line “university” which acts as a catalyst to quicken the development of DICS.

    • libaryteacher says:

      Hey, I knew a teacher who after one term made it to Assistant Principal and when he truly messed up in that school, got transferred to a school at the other end of the district. He spent one term there and , lo, became our principal. He lasted there 3 months, just one testing session (it was a practice one) and then got demoted back to AP-to the old school.
      Incompetent as- I don’t know what.

    • Not a Dog and Pony Show says:

      In my experience those “cheap” educational degrees are actually cheap in quality and not money. Which might be what you are referring to.

      My principal has a specialist and EdD from a school that’s about to lose, or has already lost, accreditation.

      I swear, there are others in my school that must’ve fallen and hit their head when they were walking to the stage to get their degrees because, otherwise, I just don’t see how in the hell they ever got a bachelor’s degree, much less a higher level degree (and sometimes a HS diploma, but hell, we give those away for coming to school 45% of the time).

  12. DICS was rampant in my school; several faculty members were also infected with it. It usually appeared in the faculty when teachers began grooming for their move to the Dark Side after their extensive three years of experience in the classroom. The Dark Side appealed to them because it removed them from the classroom, they could sell their souls for a bit more money, and move slightly higher up on the food chain. Stay healthy!

  13. justateacher says:

    As a new teacher, I was subjected to a series of assessments throughout the year whereby the principal would sit in during a lesson with a checklist. The lessons were fine.

    Towards the end of the year, I was surprised to hear the principal opine that he had concerns about my teaching methods. He was worried that I was not motivating the students to complete their work.

    The evidence for his opinions was based on conversations with a few students; most notably, from surveying the poorest-performing students.

    These students had spewed the same lies to him that they tell to their parents. These are the students that do no work in the classroom, ignore the teacher, chat, and so on. Then, to their parents, they play the victim card. They are just innocent students who want to learn and are being denying their education by the bad teacher.

    I’m not surprised that parents are fooled by these Jekyll and Hydes, but for my principal to be suckered in by their ruse is really pathetic.

    So much for objectivity. Long live hearsay!

  14. Tracy says:

    OMG Sean! When my mom passed away after a long illness (the principal was actually very good to me w/ scheduling, etc) while at the wake an AP said to me, “The Party’s over, be ready for observations.”…..Can you freaking imagine? AT THE DAMN WAKE!

    • Sean says:

      Tracy, it makes me wonder about these people…..all they care about is looking “good” for their next job up the administrative food chain, and don’t care who they hurt on the way up….
      You know, you had more restraint than I would have had, I would have hit that AP in the jaw…..

  15. Miss Crabtree says:

    Sounds like the old “good cop–bad cop” routine to me. One admin plays warm and fuzzy while the other slams and jams.

    Hey, Tracy. I do not see what is so objectionable. The party = the wake. It was near the end of the activity = it’s over. Classroom observations are the currency of the day–this is certainly no surprise. Plus, the admin was just reflecting on all of that cushy down time you must have had during your mother’s protracted illness. He/she was just gently reminding you that it was time to get back on track, down to business. Just being helpful. Could be that you over-reacted,…

    This is why I often go home at night and scream at the walls: “I hate these fucking people.”

  16. ForReal says:

    Do they teach this behavior in “Educational Leadership” degree courses? Why are these people so fucking stupid? I had an admin do a walk through the day I returned from a week out of town for my father’s death & funeral…2 of those days were spent driving. I made sure to “document” this dipshit!

  17. Here’s my slogan suggestion: “Lick your DICS!”

    Here is the actual quote from our principal at the beginning of this week–“The funds didn’t work out yet. I’ll appreciate you all next week.” Sigh. Stay tuned.

    • gilda says:

      Dear TW/SATP-
      Your slogan is the best, by far, to date.
      And your pithy post sums up Appreciate Week beautifully.
      Thanks for both.

  18. mrteachbad says:

    I like it. The Panel thanks you.

  19. Miss Crabtree says:

    A group of medical professionals from the NIMH in Washington, D.C. have recently issued a white paper on Dimished Interpersonal Capacity Syndrome, or DICS, as it is commonly called. The team has come up with a number of recommendations and is initiating a public service announcement campaign, including plans for PSA’s for both TV and radio, billboards, and signage on public transportation. During a brainstormng session earlier this week, consultants came up with several worthy messages to get the campaign off to a good start: Handle your DICS with care. Reach out and touch a DIC. While DICS can be a real problem, size does not matter.

    Their most important message: With proper identification and a combination of therapy, appropriate medication, and some carefully selected yoga training most DICS can be licked.

    • gilda says:

      Address of our local branch please-forthwith-I have 2, no, 4, no, 116- in immediate need of treatment. And of course the head DICS-that would bring the total to 117. Do you think there’ll be room?

  20. I hope you’re feeling better, Mr. Teachbad.

    As for the nasty case of DICS, I’m afraid I have bad news… the virus stays in the bloodstream and can be spread orally even when there are no visible outbreaks.

  21. Miss Crabtree says:

    I gotta get her book! That Elden woman is damned funny. No stick in the mud there.

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