I teach health. This year, one lesson I have planned for my 8th grade classes is about the importance of good oral hygiene. I plan on soaking teeth (animal teeth that I collected during fall break) in Coke for a week to show the results. But that’s not all. I have other ideas for demonstrating the importance of brushing your teeth.
At the beginning of the year I decided to not wash my tea mug. (Yes, I know that the word “cup” goes after the word “tea” and that “coffee” is followed by “mug” but this is a coffee mug that I drink tea out of. I don’t drink coffee. So it is a tea mug.) I have averaged one drink of tea a day for every weekday since sometime in September. Let’s guess that it has been about 70 cups of tea. Without washing. When I walk around with it I get strange looks. It is disgusting. But that’s the point. You don’t clean something and it stays dirty!
I just sat back down in my office after grading some tests and was horrified to see my months of hard work… scrubbed clean!
I had another of my first world problems in a third world country.
The cleaning lady had come into the office and cleaned everything. My mouse pad is sliding under my hand on my sterilized desk, the soccer ball I prop my feet on is moved, the dry erase board is spotless. And my mug of “don’t let your teeth look like this” is now beautifully clean. But the lesson is still there. Unless, of course, these kids have their cleaning lady brush their teeth.