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cait

Teacher Question

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I know there are other teachers here, as well as others who might have ideas...

Last spring I eliminated gluten in utter desperation and was amazed at the difference it made. I wouldn't say I'm functioning at full speed at all, but I'm so much better than I was. My reactions to CC are not as violent as some people's descriptions, thankfully, but I get really tired, get headaches and brain fog, joint pain, and digestive ick. Oh yeah, and I get cranky/depressed. Basically, I feel like I've been hit by a truck, but I lived in that condition for over 10 years before figuring it out, so I'm kind of used to pushing through it.

The challenge is, I teach 4 and 5 year-olds. We had to eliminate gluten in our house because we have a 3 and a 5 year-old, and the CC from them and just from having it around was getting to me. However, I really can't make my classroom gluten-free. And the kids eat lunch there. And snack. And this year breakfast is available in the classroom as well. Is there any way I can manage this so that I'm not CCing myself constantly? I'm having kids wash their hands and faces after eating (I also brought in baby wipes so they can use those if sending them to the bathroom down the hall is not working). I clean the tables and sweep after lunch. I wash my hands as often as I can, and definitely before I eat anything, but we're at the point in the year where I really can't take breaks, so I still have to eat in the classroom, and am often helping them with stuff while trying to eat. Something got me this week, of course. Is there anything else I can do, or is this a hopeless situation?

Thanks!

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Gloves maybe? Teaching the children good handwashing methods? Thats all i can think of.

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I know there are other teachers here, as well as others who might have ideas...

Last spring I eliminated gluten in utter desperation and was amazed at the difference it made. I wouldn't say I'm functioning at full speed at all, but I'm so much better than I was. My reactions to CC are not as violent as some people's descriptions, thankfully, but I get really tired, get headaches and brain fog, joint pain, and digestive ick. Oh yeah, and I get cranky/depressed. Basically, I feel like I've been hit by a truck, but I lived in that condition for over 10 years before figuring it out, so I'm kind of used to pushing through it.

The challenge is, I teach 4 and 5 year-olds. We had to eliminate gluten in our house because we have a 3 and a 5 year-old, and the CC from them and just from having it around was getting to me. However, I really can't make my classroom gluten-free. And the kids eat lunch there. And snack. And this year breakfast is available in the classroom as well. Is there any way I can manage this so that I'm not CCing myself constantly? I'm having kids wash their hands and faces after eating (I also brought in baby wipes so they can use those if sending them to the bathroom down the hall is not working). I clean the tables and sweep after lunch. I wash my hands as often as I can, and definitely before I eat anything, but we're at the point in the year where I really can't take breaks, so I still have to eat in the classroom, and am often helping them with stuff while trying to eat. Something got me this week, of course. Is there anything else I can do, or is this a hopeless situation?

Thanks!

I'm a teacher aide in kindergarten. It is rough! I'm lucky that I don't need to be in breakfast and my teacher passes out snack. One thing we do that I like is to give each child a baby wipe after snack and they clean the tables. I make sure they get the crumbs off. I wear food gloves to sweep. At lunch I wear food gloves and from the start teach the children how to open their own milks etc. I carry soap with me to the lunchroom and after I help every child, then I take the gloves off and go wash my hands. I would suggest the gloves and see if the children can wipe their own table after lunch. I also am teaching the children how to clean the table and sweep own their own at lunch. We make it a job and rotate it. For now I wear gloves doing this, but soon they will now how to do it on their own. Good luck! We had two birthday parties this past week and it makes me want to freak out!

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Yes, soon the tables and the floor will be their job. This was only the first week. They're not terribly skilled at it, unfortunately, but this class does seem to be one that is VERY excited about helping. Perhaps their skill will grow. I'll keep the gloves in mind. Part of our curriculum focuses on environmental responsibility. It's hard for me to use baby wipes and gloves on a regular basis knowing how much extra trash that generates, and it's hard to figure out how to explain it to them. That's just my mental block though. I know if I were talking to someone else in this situation I'd encourage them to do whatever they needed to do to stay healthy. But somehow it's hard for me to do that for myself...

But yes, I get the freaking out over birthdays. Being surrounded by gluten brings up a lot of anxiety now. And we haven't even gotten to birthdays yet. Yikes.

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Yes, soon the tables and the floor will be their job. This was only the first week. They're not terribly skilled at it, unfortunately, but this class does seem to be one that is VERY excited about helping. Perhaps their skill will grow. I'll keep the gloves in mind. Part of our curriculum focuses on environmental responsibility. It's hard for me to use baby wipes and gloves on a regular basis knowing how much extra trash that generates, and it's hard to figure out how to explain it to them. That's just my mental block though. I know if I were talking to someone else in this situation I'd encourage them to do whatever they needed to do to stay healthy. But somehow it's hard for me to do that for myself...

But yes, I get the freaking out over birthdays. Being surrounded by gluten brings up a lot of anxiety now. And we haven't even gotten to birthdays yet. Yikes.

I did a little searching online and found they make earth friendly "green" food gloves, you might look into that. I'll think about this situation. I'm seriously thinking of changing jobs because of all the gluten. I'm of course Celiac, but also allergic to wheat and barley.

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Cool. Will have to look at those. I'm sort of seeing this year as my test. If I can make it through without major issue, then maybe I can stay in the classroom. If not, then it's time to look at non-classroom jobs. Just sucks that gluten has to be the driver for that.

Of course, my school is moving to a new building next year. There is enough space for a cafeteria, but the little guys will still eat in the classroom. I've told them if we ever get a celiac kid we're going to have issues with that...

Poor you, having double the fun with the grains.

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HI!

I'm a special education teacher in a high school and am ridiculously sensitive to gluten. The kids eat it in my room but are fiendishly protective of me. That said, even with this age group and insane caution, I think I still get glutened at school sometimes. Sigh...

I don't envy you with younger kids and gluten. The gloves are not a bad idea; sorry I don't have much advice...

Be well!

lisa

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Beyond making the kids more responsible for clean up, maybe you could try to take foods that you don't have to touch to eat--things you can eat with utensils only like salad, or things you can drink instead of pick up with your hands like soup, yogurt, smoothies, etc. Still wash you hands lots of course but that way if you touch some gluten and forget it's less likely to get in your mouth or on your food.

That's all I can think of. I know I couldn't do you job and stay healthy but I'm super sensitive. I hope things work out for you!

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I am an elementary teacher and I am struggling with the same issues. I don't have access to a sink. I carry my own soap everywhere I go and I rotate who gets my birthday treats if children from other classrooms bring to me. I have chlorox wipes byt they're 7 so its difficult to get them to understand a swipe here and there is not enough. I sent a letter on Fruday trying to explain things to my families. I havent heard a thing from any of them, which is pretty unusual. I have been diagnosed for 19 days so this is a whole new world. I, too, am considering whether this is a long term profession for me due to the cc issues. If a child had the allergy or disease heaven and earth would be moved to ensure their safety. When I asked our school nurse if we could find out if the hand soap was gluten free, her response was "it'd be easier if you just brought your own". If anyone has any ideas, I'm all ears. :-)

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I teach middle school and have had a few issues so far this school year (we start back at the beginning of August.)

If you have to be in the classroom for eating, etc. my advice would be to create some type of "gluten-free" area that is in a small space where you can freely eat.

You probably can't eat when they do if you're having to go back and forth.

Personally, I eat in the lunchroom with kids (separate table) and I bring everything for myself. I even have a camping salt/pepper set to use instead of the one at the teacher table. I wash my hands and don't let my food touch anything that could be contaminated. I even make sure to not push my chair in before I go to wash my hands so I won't have to touch it when I come back.

If a kid needs something and I'm going to have to risk getting contaminated, I put my food away first and (try) to eat later.

It'll take awhile for your body to get used to the routine, but don't put things in your mouth unless you're sure it's OK. I know that sounds like common sense and something we all do, but in a classroom there are so many little things that can pop up.

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I have heard germ-x contains gluten but that purrell is gluten-free? I can't find any information anywhere, does anyone know?

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I know this post is old, but it made me think about some supplies in the classroom I haven't thought about.

I've had the fogginess a little since returning to school last month and I thought it was because I hadn't cleaned out my school fridge and there were some crumbs in there. While that is still the most likely scenario, I'm thinking of ways I could be slipping up without realizing it after reading the list above.

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I have heard germ-x contains gluten but that purrell is gluten-free? I can't find any information anywhere, does anyone know?

Actually Germ-X is gluten free. I'm not sure about Purell. Hand sanitizers, however, will not get gluten off your hands (or the kids hands). The only way to get the gluten off is washing with soap and water.

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For birthdays just send a letter saying that due to your celiac and the increasing rate of food allergies in children students will

NOT be allowed to bring in food related birthday treats. Instead parents can supply other non food birthday treats such as birthday hats, stickers, the oppertunity to share a favorite book/toy with the class or goody bags(without food). The birthday child will be acknowledged and sang to for their birthday during snack time. Sorry for any inconvenience this will cause you but it is a necessary precaution. Any food based treats that are sent will not be opened and will be available for parent pick up at the end of the day. Send that letter asap. Most schools these days do not allow food based parties or food based treats anyway. You want the parents to pick up the treat because children with a bunch of cupcakes or cookies may share with kids on a bus and risk an allergic reaction in another child.

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