Talking about hygiene with your students is never easy. Trying to throw hints never works because they can’t smell themselves and sometimes have no idea that they smell. Every year, teachers ask me to address this issue with specific students.
Although I don’t mind having individual conversations with students who are missing the mark on good hygiene, I like to start off with a group discussion. I’ve struggled with finding fresh new ways to address this issue with students. This year, I decided to turn my discussion points into a game that students can play in small groups.
My goal is to use humor to break the ice and make it easier to have those tough conversations. The discussion cards have real world advice to get students to start thinking about their own habits.
However, sometimes hygiene issues arise due to reasons out of the student’s control. For instance, the family may be struggling to pay bills and they may not have water to take a bath. There might also be a medical issue causing the odor. I would be sure to contact the parents and find out what might be the cause of the hygiene issues. Finally, it’s important to be direct with the family and the student and just be there for support. Offer assistance if needed. Your school nurse is also a great asset for these situations.