I love my job, I really do. I may bitch and complain about it, but when it comes right down to it I love it. I love the school I work in, and I love the kids I work with, as trying as they may be. They struggle with so many emotional issues, and most of them come from very neglectful homes. I spend a large portion of my day making them ramen, hot chocolate, or oatmeal, or giving them granola bars. I give them notebooks, binders, pens, pencils and book bags, and if they need to do a project, chances are, I have, or can come up with the supplies they need to get the project done.
Every time someone in my family gets a new computer, the old one (if it didn’t die a horrible death) comes to me and I bring it in so that they have technology to use. When my kids clean out their closets and get rid of clothing, it gets brought into school and passed on to the kids in need. I’m not particularly altruistic or anything, I just know that if they’re hungry, or cold, they’re not going to be able to learn.
One thing I can’t get them to understand is the basic concept of cleanliness. For some of them, it’s a part of their disability. They just can’t seem to deal with stripping down and getting under a steaming hot shower. For others, they may not have hot water at home, or they are homeless. And for some reason, while these kids feel comfortable telling me just about anything, and often more than I want to know, they really struggle with talking about personal hygiene. They seem to think that using deodorant on a dirty body, or worse, spraying themselves down with body spray and colognes makes them smell good. I’ve got news for them – it doesn’t and the cheap assed body spray they can afford stinks worse than they do.
So I keep talking to them about hygiene, but I needed something to defend my olfactory receptors at the same time. I’m in a super small classroom (I use that term jokingly) this year with two very small windows. They didn’t provide much help this fall, and now since it’s winter, they’re no use at all. I had to figure out something I could do to cover up the smell. I’m super sensitive to perfumes and sprays so air fresheners don’t work. I was stymied. Then I found this awesome essential oil diffuser on Amazon, and my sister got it for me for Christmas. It’s amazing on so many levels. First, it emits a cool mist spray so no chances of anybody getting burned. It also has this cool color changing sequence that the kids love. It has a timer function, and an automatic shut off. That way there is no chance of me leaving for the day and forgetting to turn it off. And the essential oils are amazing. I get them from amazon as well. I stay away from floral fragrances as they really bother me. I love mixing lemon and orange essential oil. It gives off a clean scent that fills the room with a light, pleasing fragrance that doesn’t wreak havoc with my sinuses, lol. Other great oils are tea tree, peppermint and eucalyptus. All of them are cool and crisp and fill the room with a light fragrance that does a lot to mask the body odor of my students.
So I’ll keep talking to them about personal hygiene. I’ll keep buying them soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste and deodorant. I’ll keep shampoo and body wash in my classroom on the off chance that I can convince them to take a shower in the nurses office. I’ll keep stocked up on the laundry detergent so we can wash their clothes, and I’ll keep bringing in clothing they can wear. And I’ll keep buying the essential oils and using my diffuser – because I am a very tricky teacher.