Maybe because it came from another child’s nose? Maybe there were different colors than what he saw in his own? I really don’t know. Either way, my student was face deep in a discarded, sneezed-in tissue.
“Why are you touching that?” I said, probably in horror.
He didn’t hear me. Clearly, the tissue mesmerized him. The previous owner had emptied a gold mine of artifacts out of her nose into the tissue just seconds earlier. He was sifting through the slimy substance as if he were trying to foresee the girl’s future.
I didn’t need a tissue to foresee the boy’s future: it included him catching the girl’s cold.
As the boy was poking his index finger in the goopity goop, I swiftly made my way over to him and pulled the tissue out of his hand. I kneeled down and explained why we don’t pull things out of the trash or touch discarded tissues.
“C’mon. We’re washing our hands,” I said. I would have to also. I was holding “the investigating hand” on the way to the bathroom. Brain fart.
It’s winter and everyone is getting sick with colds and the flu. If you work in preschool, then you know how fast an illness can spread (and you know that you’ll be catching anything and everything the kiddos contract).
Hand-washing is the most effective way to prevent catching and spreading illness, even if you have direct contact with a, umm, foreign substance. In every preschool I’ve ever worked in, students washed their hands before and after every meal, after they sneezed, or after water, sand and outdoor play. Teachers were not excluded. We washed our hands every time the students did. Probably more so if you have snot-tissue investigators.
Still, it’s a good practice. Teach children to wash their hands. Oh, and to not grab stuff out of the trash can… or touch other people’s tissues… yeh… teach both of those.