WARNING: THIS REALLY IS ABOUT GROSS!
You can't be an elementary school teacher and not have a high GTL (Gross Tolerance Level). The type of gross you deal with depends upon the grade level you teach. In my humble opinion, pre-school, kindergarten and primary teachers are saints. The level of gross they deal with each day is daunting. My classroom is right next to a Head Start pre-school room. Not only do those teachers get to wipe runny noses and brush toddler's teeth, they get to change diapers too. That's right. Pre-schoolers don't have to be potty trained to attend public school. Yuck.
First and second graders are all about holes and fingers. Fingers in their ears. Fingers in their noses. Fingers in their mouths. And they like to use their sticky fingers to poke the teacher to get their attention. Thank goodness they're cute. You can forgive a lot when cute is involved.
Gross takes on a whole new meaning once boys reach 3rd and 4th grade. Out-grossing one another becomes the goal. Recess can be quite an educational experience. If you notice a huddle of boys in fits of laughter in the corner of a playground, it's a good bet there's gas coming out one end or the other.
You haven't lived until you've been cooped up in a hot classroom with a group of 5th or 6th graders who just came in from gym or recess. The smell is unbelievable. You can try to talk to them about personal hygiene, but please know that you will lose them at the mere mention of the words "body odor." Uncontrollable laughter will ensue. You'll be lucky to get them to hear they must wash before they put on deodorant. It's a preventative, not a cover up... HAHAHAHAHAHAH...
Lots of people get tickled at gross. My mother-in-law would become incapacitated by silent, gut-wrenching giggles at the word fart. She would laugh so hard she couldn't breathe, and then she'd snort and start all over again. One Christmas someone, probably one of the sisters, got her The Book of Farts. She laughed so hard all day that her sides hurt by dinnertime. I miss that lady.
My mother would not laugh at the word fart. No. Instead, she would tilt her head and raise an eyebrow at you. She probably didn't dare laugh since it would only encourage my dad and brother to raise the gross ante. They're pretty good at that.
If you're wondering why in the world this topic came to mind, you can blame Lisa Yee and her facebook entry from yesterday. That's right. Lisa's facebook entry began: "Regarding snots and boogers, which ones are hard and which ones are soft?" So far 57 people have chimed in with an opinion. Thank you, Lisa, for some very vivid dreams last night.
I'm done with gross for now. Really, I am.