Put a “lotion station” on your desk
If you’re wanting another way to connect with your students, try adding a small box of lotions to your desk or wherever it might fit best in your classroom. Male English teachers (all five of you out there) can try this, too! Find a couple of macho-scented moisturizers you like, buy those, toss in a few women’s versions, and jump in!
I’ve always been a big fan of hand creams and lotions. Some of them can be a real pick-me-up throughout the day, especially when they have an aromatherapeutic fragrance. In the past, I kept my hand creams to myself, but this year I decided to stock a small collection in a recycled red box on my desk. Bath & Bodyworks is a favorite source.
I cycle new bottles and tubes in occasionally, and I added some holiday “flavors” for the Christmas season. Although it’s difficult to find men’s lotions or moisturizers, I did discover Vaseline Men’s Healing Moisture at Target and threw that one into the mix as well.
Having my lotion station has been a positive in my room this year for this reason: it gives students and me something to connect around other than school.
At the beginning of class, as kids are settling in for the hour, a couple of them will go to my desk to try a new lotion after they turn in their bell work. That’s when I’ll hear comments such as…
“Mrs. Yung, you should get more Wild Madagascar Vanilla. It’s almost out!”
“This one smells so good, Mrs. Yung.”
“See, Mrs. Yung… try this one.”
Trying on and talking about the lotions also provides a tiny little time to talk. That’s helpful during a tightly scheduled school day. For instance, kids have about fifteen minutes to eat breakfast and socialize before their eight classes begin each day. Lunch lasts for 25 minutes, which also includes an eight-minute recess.
At the end of the day, our buses depart as soon as the kids leave last hour and exit the building. There is little opportunity to talk with any student during a normal day.
And because my class periods are usually fairly structured, time to talk one-on-one with students during class is limited. Having a lotion station gives students a reason to mingle and talk briefly with me or others nearby. Obviously, if the extra talking becomes a problem, I simply say, “Okay, make it quick and have a seat.”
So far, the lotion station has not been a problem or a distraction at all. In fact, I will definitely continue keeping my lotion box stocked and would recommend it to anyone who needs a quick, easy way to foster better relationships with your students.