Aside from, “Good job!” the words I utter most in a work day are, “Don’t pick your nose. Do you want a tissue?” Snot is just a part of a teacher’s life, and I’m beyond being grossed out by it. I imagine this is how doctors feel about blood.
A couple of weeks ago, I’d reminded a student not to pick his nose and handed him a tissue box, when he said brightly (as if this alternative to tissues might be the most brilliant idea he’s had all year), “Oh, sometimes I just like to pick my nose and wipe it on my pants.” Sometimes efficiency isn’t a good goal.
The next week, I asked a student if she could do some drill work. “No,” she said firmly, “and the reason I can’t is that there’s a giant booger in my nose.” We took care of that right away. She wasn’t kidding.
My all-time favorite snot memory (and yes, there are a lot) happened last year. I was reading aloud and paused to correct a child, “Don’t pick your nose.” He’s generally compliant, so I was surprised that a few seconds later, he’d started again. I corrected again, more firmly. He held evidence up for inspection, and defended his actions: “I was just trying to put it back!” Lesson for the day: some actions can’t be reversed or undone.