Bad Breath: I remember having teachers who had bad breath and I would rather not know how to do something than ask them for help. So, I try to make sure after lunch that I have a breath mint. If I’ve eaten something really strong (I really love things with garlic!), I warn the class about it and tell them I will try not to overwhelm them with my breath if they need help. I even tell them if it is so bad, I will let a peer try to help them.
Unzipped zipper: During the first week I tell my class that this happens to everyone and if they see me with my fly open on my pants, to PLEASE tell me about it. I do not want to go through the whole day like this and realize that no one told me about it. I also will do the same to them and hopefully none of us will feel too embarrassed about it. I would rather a momentary embarrassment rather than wondering how many people saw me like this!
Inside out clothes: I once wore a solid colored shirt inside out and didn’t find this out until lunchtime when finally another teacher asked me if that was a new style. Again, I mentioned this to the class and asked them to let me know.
Static Cling: Have you ever gotten something out of the dryer to wear and didn’t know that there was another article of clothing clinging to it? Then you wear it all day with that “hitchhiker” along! I wore a pair of washable pants with a clingy sock hanging out of the pants leg and didn’t notice it until it finally fell off at the end of the day. I ask that someone just tell me! Everyone knows how mean kids can be so save me from the hallway snickering and giggling please!
Wearing shoes of two different colors: I have this style of shoes that I really loved and bought two pair: one black and one blue. I didn’t want to wake my husband up since I get up so ear ly and I got dressed in the dark. Luckily I saw them before school started and called my husband to bring me another shoe. Of course he asked me which one and I told him that it didn’t matter because it would match either one. I couldn’t believe I had done that. Unfortunately I had to wear the mismatched shoes to first period so we had a lesson in observation. We played a five minute observation warm up. I gave them 60 seconds to look at me and then put my coat on as I sat behind my desk. I asked the to write down everything I was wearing. We turned this lesson into using descriptive words and observing details. Finally I stepped out from my desk and took off my coat to show them the two different shoes. We all had a good laugh about it too and I also stressed about when getting dressed, make sure you look in a mirror before you leave home!
I’m sure these are only a few of the stupid things I’ve done but it definitely helped my relationship with my students. They had an opportunity to see me as a human being and I was able to model how it could be handled. These things happen so it is important for a teacher to have a sense of humor and be able to laugh at themselves.
Can you think of any other “sensitive issues” that a new teacher should be prepared for?