Headaches. Irritability. Fatigue. Difficulty concentrating. Craving snacks. These symptoms of dehydration often manifest well before feelings of thirst, and can have a negative impact on our classrooms. Our bodies are mostly water, and not drinking enough can cause a slew of problems.
Sure, there are quite a few factors that have caused me to feel irritable and tired during the school year, but having a few sips throughout the day is an easy way to feel better. While as many as 75% of adults are not drinking enough water, teachers are especially prone to dehydration. Drinking several cups of coffee, a diuretic, can cause us to drink less water and lose fluids.
But drinking the recommended amount of water throughout the day can be logistically difficult. We cannot just run out to the water fountain whenever we want, and we also can’t leave to use the restroom whenever we want. My first year of teaching, I intentionally didn’t drink water. I was a floating teacher and I barely had time to get to my next class during class change, let alone stop to answer the call of nature. It was a bad move that I’m sure affected my health. I’ve now made connections with other teachers in my building, so I can ask for a few minutes of coverage if I can’t hold it (and I happily return the favor).
Throughout the years, I’ve developed deliberate habits to make sure I get enough H20. I now keep a one gallon dispenser on my desk. In the morning and during lunch I fill it up with cold water from the fountain. I keep a cup at my desk, too, and fill it up and sip throughout the day. I’m less tempted to grab a soda during lunch, and it’s a nice little refresher. I especially love having water nearby after delivering direct instruction or spending a period doing a lot of talking. My students love grabbing a cup every now and then, which I fully support given the effects dehydration has on them as well.
If I’m feeling fancy, I use a water infuser, too. It feels downright luxurious to sip water infused with mint and lemon (and it’s pretty cheap, too). I just load it up before heading to school and use my dispenser to refill throughout the day.
So, even if you start by drinking one more bottle of water a day, do yourself a favor and make an effort to stay hydrated in the classroom. Water is awesome, and so are you.