If you’ve spent any time around kids, whether working in schools or hospitals, or raising your own, you’ve had that moment when your hand has come upon a dreaded mystery wet spot. Sometimes it’s a shoe lace. Usually it’s the sleeve of a jacket. And often times, it’s on your own pants. Is it snot? Is it slobber? Is it pee? The possibilities are frighteningly endless. And when one has encountered said nightmare substance, one scrubs her hands until the skin is begging for mercy. Antibacterial soap, hot water, under the nails…like you are prepping for surgery. This, my friends, is the gold standard of how we should all be washing our hands on the regular. And, our kids should be doing the same.
Funny story. I once had a parent share with me that her son was looking forward to homeschooling the following year because “then he wouldn’t have to wash his hands so much.” That’s right y’all, I am a hand washing freak in my classroom (and home.) We wash hands when we enter the room. We wash hands before meals, after meals, after the playground, after group bathroom breaks. We wash hands all.day.long. And we don’t just save our hand washing for flu season or world wide Coronavirus epidemics. We do it every blessed day.
Might I suggest that we all adopt these practices into our daily lives? Whether you are 2 or 102, consider making hand washing your “thing.” Make it the thing that people complain about you. Make it what your friends make fun of you for. And do it like a teacher who just touched a mystery substance.
Unless you’ve been hiding in a bunker, you may have noticed that we are in a heated election cycle. Debates, town halls, primaries, caucuses (I can’t be the only one that giggles when I say that word!)…we are fully involved in all things politicians and elections. And while I can’t tell you who I would like to vote for or who I think you should support, I can tell you what I’m looking for in a leader. I’m searching for a candidate that puts education on the forefront.
As far as I’m concerned, the state of our public education has an effect on every other part of our lives. From the future of climate science, to our children’s mental health, to our ability to compete on the world stage, it all comes down to education. And where will our education system be without the backbone of it all- our teachers?
So, this election cycle I’m paying attention. I’m paying attention to how schools will be funded. I’m listening to how politicians talk about our failing and under performing schools. Do they view them as something to avoid or defer money from, or do they have strong plans to repair them? Do they speak as though teachers are deserving of respect and living wages? Will they appoint cabinet members who actually have experience in Public Education? Do they truly get Nelson Mandela’s words, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children”?
For the sake of our kids, our schools, and our teachers, I’m paying attention. I don’t see any perfect candidate. And some of my favorites have already dropped out. But, there are glimmers that some on the horizon are starting to understand what we in the teaching world have known for a while…our country is nothing without a strong education system.