I think my job is killing me. I don’t mean this in a metaphorical, “pity me because my job is so hard” kind of way. I’m pretty sure that the toxic fumes being pumped into my classroom through the ventilation system (from the giant vat of tar below) are actually filling my lungs with enough carcinogens to cause me any number of deadly and painful cancers. I’m pretty sure I’m breathing in the equivalent of two pack of unfiltered cigarettes a day, and considering how much I detest smoking, this really, really sucks.
My school is undergoing a massive construction project. We are going to expand to almost double our size over the next two years. I knew construction was going to cause problems. I just didn’t realize they would be so hazardous to my health. Or that I’d have so damn many. From the pool of stagnant water filling my trashcan (from the leak in my ceiling that no one has either fixed or explained to me) to the puddles left in my classroom from said leak (and the half a dozen times I’ve almost slipped in them) to this latest fume issue, I think I have the most dangerous room in the building.
For the last three days I have had a constant headache, which only goes away about thirty minutes after I leave the building. Yesterday I started getting dizzy at unexplainable moments. I was putting my attendance into the computer and couldn’t focus on the keyboard because things were spinning. Today it happened while I was standing in front of the classroom talking to my students and then again when I was trying to pull up the website for our scavenger hunt. I’ve also felt slightly sick to my stomach for the past two days. On top of all this, yesterday around third period, my lungs started hurting. It feels a bit like someone is either sitting on my chest or like I’ve been punched in the lungs. I’m not sure how that’d be possible exactly, but that’s what it feels like. It goes away after awhile, but if I have to go back in my room, even for a few minutes, my lungs start aching all over again.
At first I didn’t want to mention it. I figured everyone’s room smelled. Plus, I’d already complained about the leak in my ceiling. Our administrators have been stressing to us that we have to deal with the construction and that their are generally bigger concerns than ours. I try to be a team player, so I let it go the first day. The second day was much worse, but I didn’t want to be a whiner, so I kept quite. It wasn’t until a vetran teacher (who uses my room for a short study period) complained, that I voiced my concerns as well. By the end of the day yesterday, I realized I couldn’t teach in my room. I was having trouble focussing, confusing my words and just generally wanted to go home and cry.
Today I spent less than two hours in my room (one of them during open house) and I thought I might have to go to the hospital. I’ve found other classrooms I can use to teach it, which is great for my lungs but sucky for my teaching as I’ll have to find a way to cart all my materials around the building (I’ll be in a different room each period). I know I’m going to forget my materials and not be prepared and I really, really hate that!
Construction really sucks!