By Teachers, For Teachers
Using classroom management to keep a healthy classroom isn’t just about keeping yourself and your students physically healthy, but it’s about keeping them mentally healthy as well. While it may be hard to avoid being exposed to germs and viruses, you can take actions to reduce the chances of you or your students from getting sick in the classroom. In addition to that, there are a few classroom management suggestions that you can mentally do to ease the everyday stressors in your life as well. Here are a few classroom management suggestions on how to keep students healthy.
The custodial staff is usually pretty good about keeping the classrooms clean both before and after school, but when school is in session, it is up to you to keep it clean. You can contain the spread of germs by keeping desks, countertops, and sinks clean. Wiping or spraying down doorknobs and other objects that are constantly being touched by students will help, too. It’s wise to wipe down any pieces of technology that you may have as well, like your class set of tablets or computers. If these items are in constant use, then there’s a good chance they’ll have germs on them too. Try using a disinfectant spray that kills bacteria and germs that are both airborne and on hard and soft surfaces. Lysol and Clorox are more known to be effective in killing germs on the spot.
It’s also important to send students to the nurse when they are sick. This will help the spread of germs in your class. If you see a child coughing or sneezing, be sure they know to cough and sneeze in their arm or to use a tissue. It’s also a good idea to encourage parents in the beginning of the school year to keep their children home if they are ill, because when they send their child to school sick, they are just spreading their germs to everyone in the classroom.
One of the best things that you can do to help maintain a clean and healthy classroom is to teach your students about health and hygiene. You teach them about everything else, so why not teach them about how not to spread germs? Proper hand-washing is perhaps the most important habit students need to learn when it comes to health and hygiene. Germs are spread through our hands more than any other way, so it’s essential that regular handwashing is a must. Handwashing will also reduce the chances of a widespread infection in your classroom. It may be hard for some young children to understand the concept of germs because they cannot see them. To help them understand this concept, you can show them what bacteria looks like under a microscope. This may give them a better idea of what it looks like and how important it is to keep their hands clean.
It’s also important to discuss how eating right, and getting enough exercise and sleep is also essential to their health. Be sure to reinforce the value of eating their daily fruits and veggies, getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, as well as getting 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. In addition to that, remind students that drinking enough water per day is also a great way to keep themselves healthy.
As you may know, stress is known to have a negative impact on your health. So the best way to be mentally healthy is to eliminate any mental stressors that you may have. For some students, gearing up for a big classroom project or presentation can be a major stress factor. For others, simply missing a homework assignment or missing a class can be the thing that gets to them the most. Teach your students how to destress by giving them a few quick techniques to do when they aren’t feeling good mentally. Have them try mindful meditation where they sit quietly and allow themselves to be in the moment, listening to their breath as they inhale and exhale for a few moments. Another great way to destress is to have students do a few quick yoga poses each morning. All they have to do is stand in mountain poise and inhale and exhale and let their worries go.
Maintaining a healthy classroom doesn’t have to be a chore, it can be done and should be done. Dealing with classroom germs is a team effort between you and your students. By asking students to follow good hygiene habits both inside and outside of your classroom, you can keep your room free of infectious diseases and germs this school year.
What do you do to help your students stay healthy? Please share your classroom management strategies for keeping a healthy classroom in the comment section below, we’d love to hear your thoughts and idea in this topic.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.