Germs are everywhere! As we’re heading back to school, it is time to set a couple routines that will keep you healthy.
Have Separate Pencils for Kids and Adults
|The kids can use my yellow pencils which have washi tape so they don’t walk out the door.|
|I buy black Ticonderoga pencils and I only touch those.|
Don’t Touch the Bathroom Pass
Hanitizer for the Win
The sinks at my school don’t all have warm water, so how clean are those hands? That is why it is good to have plenty for hand sanitizer available. I like to keep it by the door. I teach the kids to use it on their way out and on their way in.
Bottles are scattered around the room. I’ve noticed a popular one is the one on the edge of my desk. Kids come to conference with me or two will come over for a private conflict resolution and they’ll start cleaning their hands. It might be because it is the only thing they are allowed to touch on my desk. By the way, here is a controversial statement maybe, it is ok to sit at your desk periodically. Having your kids on task while you sit for a moment is a sign of great classroom management in my opinion.
Explicitly Teach Some Basics
In a perfect world, parents would teach their kids basic germ management. You may find yourself thinking kids should know not to pick their nose in class. But, just take a moment to teach the obvious.
At the beginning of the year, I review how to be respectful, responsible, and safe. When we talk about safety kids talk about hitting, running in the hallway and such. I bring up hygiene (even with older kids). Kids get squirrelly and laugh so I’ll use silly words when I ask the questions. These conversations set up norms and procedures so if practice is necessary it is just like any other procedure.
(Read more about the slide above here.)
What do you do if you have a booger hanging out of your nose? Where does a tissue go? Before you leave the bathroom, what do you do? Would you lick the roof? So, should you drink the rain the drips off it? How do you cover your cough? Why isn’t coughing into your hand the best choice? Do you know how to cough like a vampire?
Some years are more challenging than others. I read one first grade class a great book about boogers. Then, there was the year of the horrible gas. Eventually, we had a conversation about stepping outside if you need to cough loudly or blow your knows. Of course, that was so I could pull that kid aside and tell him he could step outside and pretend to cough or blow his nose if he had gas.
Take Care of Yourself
When flying, during the safety instructions, flight attendants will tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping to put on someone else’s. Obviously, it is the opposite of what we want to do. As teachers, we can be the worst. We put everyone else before ourselves.
Take. Care. Of. Yourself.
I’m not a health expert. Clearly, you know what it means for you. I used to get Jamba Juice Cold Busters. Sometimes I’d get these Vitamin C drops that look like a bag of cough drops. Finally, I asked one of my doctors and she suggested zinc can be helpful. She said she takes a Vitamin D bomb if she thinks she is going to get sick. You do you. But, have a plan.
My doctor at one point suggested I avoid sick people. I laughed. She suggested wearing a mask when I couldn’t avoid them. Hopefully she was kidding.
I bought an air purifier during the wild fires. Where’s that been all my life?
But, seriously, just rest. If you are starting to get sick, don’t bring anything home to grade or plan. Watch the world continue the next day.
At one point I had more than 370 hours of unused sick leave. Don’t be like Mercedes. Mercedes was stupid.
It. Is. Ok. To. Stay. Home.
Really. Don’t judge yourself. A day without you is probably going to do less damage than a week with you at half strength.
Don’t judge yourself when you are sick and you want to flop into bed when you get home from work. You do so much. Just get some sleep. Honestly, you deserve it.
First, check into your insurance and disability situation. Every place is different but I’m California, teachers can’t have social security disability. We have to buy our own. Lots of new teachers don’t know that. Best case scenario, you get pregnant and get partially paid for the time off. Worst case scenario with disability insurance, you get a long term illness and you still have some income when you can’t work.
Just a Couple of Habits
In the end, just a couple of habits can make all the difference.