Well summer is here!
We all love the sunshine but throw in a warm classroom plus 30 children or teenagers and it’s a recipe for a very fraught end to the school year! Not quite as bad as a hot classroom but school offices can be sweltering too – lots of windows and not many schools with air conditioning – especially older builds!
So how can you stay sane and cool (or cooler!)
- Water! Water helps cool you down and stay hydrated. Fill your bottle up half way, stand it in the freezer up right all night then in the morning fill the space up with cold water and it will stay colder for longer. Do a second one fully frozen that can defrost as the day goes on. This one can also be used to keep your fruit cool too! There are other ways that water can ease the heat. A few cool drops on your wrists and the back of your neck can help lower your body temperature. Alternatively, keep a spray bottle on hand and give yourself a nice mist every hour. Perhaps don’t encourage students to bring water guns though 🙂
- Make sure your students are doing the same amount of drinking as you – they need to be cool too and dehydration makes grumpy tired children even more grumpy. Do the daily mile, get them moving! The heat makes us move less so fight it!
- Get a good nights sleep- we have to adapt to this heat to sleep well. Try filling a hot water bottle will iced water and touching it on your knees, ankles, neck etc. Use cotton sheets, shower in tepid water before bed. If you have a fan put a bowl full of ice in front of it. Not very romantic but if you have a spare room- don’t sleep next to your partner- two bodies rare twice the body heat! Give your students advice about how to stay cool at night too.
- Wear light clothes! Sounds obvious but some people have not changed their work wardrobe. It’s unlikely anyone will have a problem with you wearing slightly more relaxed work wear in this heat. In heat both lightweight and light-coloured clothes are best for surviving the heat. Natural fabrics such as cotton, linen and silk are best because they absorb sweat, and its evaporation will help you stay cool. Artificial fabrics such as polyester and rayon tend to be heavier and aren’t so absorbent. While dark colours absorb light and heat, lighter colours reflect it Have a similar sensible approach to school uniform- i.e. no jumpers or tights etc!
- Get your exercise in early – at the moment even the evenings are too hot. The coolest part of the day for an outdoor run or walk in between 4am and 7am so make the most of the light mornings and get your daily mile @_thedailymile done and dusted
While a breeze is always nice, all you’re doing by opening the window is letting in hot air, unless it’s significantly cooler outside. Even worse, if you’re in an air-conditioned classroom or office then you’re letting the cool air out. Take a tip from the Mediterranean! Keep curtains and blinds closed (at home and at school) to keep out direct sunlight – this really helps keep rooms cooler!
6. Get a fan if you can- schools are running out of these but you could always get your own.
7. If you work in a school office & its upstairs- remember heat rises! You may want to grab a lap top & camp out down stairs instead.
8. Eat smaller meals- that nice warm feeling that comes after a big meal is real. Try to have small snacks throughout the day instead of larger meals and you’ll feel much cooler. Caffeine also increases your metabolism so keep tabs on that too. Frozen fruit is a good healthier choice-pop some watermelon or pineapple slices or some grapes into the freezer and a few hours later you’ll have a sweet, cold and healthy treat
9. Phones, tablets, laptops and other devices are all made of metal, which absorbs heat. Worse than that, portable devices all have batteries that can overheat, especially in the summer. Try to keep your devices in bags, away from your skin and out of your pockets. If you work on a laptop, try using an external keyboard. Otherwise, the components most likely to overheat will be right under your fingertips.
10.Take the pressure off yourself- we are not set up for prolonged heat in this country so be kind to yourself, don’t expect too much and try and have realistic expectations. Students are tired at this time of year too so be kind, smile, relax a little. The end of term IS IN SIGHT! Holidays bring a different set of concerns for some children and young people- try opening these conversations up before the last day so there is time to put support/strategies in place. 6 weeks is a long time.