The average temperature outside drops in the days following Halloween. Up to that point, temperatures usually sit around 80 to 90 degrees. The temperature outside my home right now is 44 degrees.
The quick change in the weather brings two immediate challenges: ants and colds.
My classroom can be heaven for ants making it past the door. Inside the room, students leave food wrappers, candy wrappers, empty plastic bottles of drinks, and anything else that they’ve hidden in their backpacks when they entered the room. The students leave the mess and do not give it a second thought.
Even when I ask students to throw their wrappers away, they’ll immediately complain that “I didn’t make that mess.” My response is pretty direct: “It does not matter. Please pick things up.” They’ll usually toss things into sinks or hide the wrappers in drawers. Anything besides getting up and tossing the items into the trashcans sitting 4 feet away.
This is the irony in their refusal to clean up after themselves – fall arrives. Once the new season is upon us – it’s cold outside and ants head for the warmth.
For the past week, ants have found their way into the classroom, circled chairs, circled sinks, stools, and drawers. Students usually loudly complain about the ants – but continue to sneak in food, blame others, and still cannot find the trashcan.
One student had the nerve to tell me that I needed to clean up the room. I laughed. I’m not any kid’s maid. Forget that noise.
Colds and Dealing with Sickness
Fall also brings running noses. Kids come in with their noses dripping with fluids, wanting to shake your hand, after they’ve swiped their faces with their hands. It’s really appealing.
I cannot afford to constantly purchase boxes of tissues. One kid will literally stand by the box and use up all the tissue – without a thought that others might need it. They’ll also use the tissue to wipe a desk, wipe something off their clothes, or wipe off some makeup. Instead, I just out wait the weather and need for tissue.
Actually, the fun part is the students immediately demanding tissue. I don’t buy tissue for the classroom. Sometimes a roll of toilet paper sits on the front desk. That roll will sit for a long time because the kids want tissue and not a roll of toilet paper. Kids will complain about it being too rough on the nose.
How do I handle the change in weather?
Patience. The weather will change again – soon enough. Kids will stop bringing in food and leaving it in the classroom because kids will eventually get tired of the ants. Kids will want to stay inside, not stand outside. This will decrease the number of nose blowing required.
How about you? How do you handle the change in temperature?