Hot Stuff!

Does heat impair thinking? According to this study it does. If you don’t want to read all the details, here’s a quick summary: Researchers gave daily cognitive tests to college students living in buildings with and without air conditioning. The results show definite cognitive impairment in those living without AC.

The results really aren’t surprising. I’m sure you have all felt sluggish, sweaty, and mentally slow in hot weather. I certainly have. Keeping in mind that this study was done with adults, I can only imagine how heat impairs the cognitive function of elementary students, who generally have a tough time focusing on tasks during the best of circumstances. There are a lot of school buildings out there that don’t have air conditioning, and the school year often creeps into the summer months. That’s a recipe for a lot of distracted sweaty kids.

Does your school building have air conditioning? If not, how do you deal with a hot classroom?


9 thoughts on “Hot Stuff!

  1. Living in Texas I am so happy to say that YES our schools have air conditioning – otherwise, it would be unbearable. However, central admin decides when it gets turned on and off … which for the most part, is fine … except the week or two before back to school inservices begin – when teachers need to be setting up their classrooms and planning (on their own time) for the new school year. We are given dates that the air will be on and there is no wiggle room. Also, central admin turns the air up beginning at 3:50 p.m. after school starts – I know it is to help save the district money, however, teachers who have meetings, parent conferences, or work in their rooms to do are left in a classroom where the temperatures rise rapidly after the A/C is adjusted. To make matters worse, the office staff is walking around with sweaters and sweatshirts on because the offices are always air conditioned – and it gets too cold for them. When we walk through the office, it is like stepping into a walk-in cooler. While I am all for saving the district money on energy costs, I do not appreciate the inflexibility of being able to adjust temperatures if needed (by area) if someone chooses to work late OR has meetings/conferences …. we’re all professionals – highly unlikely that any teachers or staff would abuse the air conditioning privileges …. Thanks so much for the chance to have teachers voices heard!!!!

  2. Thankfully most school today have AC, but i remember a time at Plamondon in IL when we didn’t. Windows were opened but it was still very warm. I wonder if they ever installed AC as I understand the school is still open.

  3. We have air conditioning! I still bring in a fan and direct it towards my kids. The air system sometimes works overtime and then drips from the ceiling onto my class! Outside doors must stay closed to prevent this, but many people prop the doors open for ventilation, which causes the system to work harder. Sigh . . .

  4. Thank goodness we have air conditioning! My classroom has a wall of windows that the sun shines on all day long. I have to keep the blinds closed or we would be roasting! Some teachers at my school also keep their doors open while the air is on. Then they have the nerve to complain about noise! It is crazy!!

  5. My school does NOT have air conditioning. So, sometimes in September and most spring months, we roast! My janitaor comes in and opens all of my windows at 6 am, and I sometimes do so at 5:30…just to try and make the classroom cool. The wall with the windows faces out into the hot parking lot, and gets most of the sun throughout the day. I also have 2 or 3 fans blowing all at times and try to keep the lights off as much as possible. We had a member of the district office come over one day during the spring, spend 5 minutes in one of our rooms, and say “aww it’s not that bad in here. You’ll be fine.” I couldn’t believe it. We also do state testing in the spring, and I’ve had kids fall asleep, or go home complaining of a headache. I too, have left work many days during the spring with headaches that turn into migraines. I encourage my students (and myself) to drink as much water as we can during the day, to help with dehydration, but that still isn’t enough. I had a coworker one year that got one of those AC units with the tube that goes out the window…and she said her classroom finally felt cool…but the administration wouldn’t let her keep it. Admin claimed it was a fire hazard.

    We’re at a loss for how we can remain cool, and still be able to teach. Because honestly, I have a hard time focusing in that heat, so I can’t imagine how difficult it is for my students.

  6. We do NOT have air conditioning. We’re in Ohio and hot days in
    August, September, April, May, and June can be brutal. Plus,
    because of security issues, we can’t prop doors open and windows
    open only a few inches. I bought 4 fans for my classroom but when the
    room is over 90 degrees, it makes no difference. It’s more like a convection oven than a regular oven with hot air being blown around. Our upstairs classrooms have recorded
    temps in their rooms at over 100 degrees. Only the staff lounge has AC. I feel bad for the
    overheated, sluggish kids. I bring popsicles and water but it’s not enough.

  7. We, unfortunately, do not have air conditioning. At the beginning and ending of the school year, it can get unbearable. This past year, it was in the 90s with humidity. We have the windows open, the fans going, and if possible, the lights off. We encourage the students to drink lots of water, and if they want, they can bring towels to put on the plastic chairs. We are allowed to go to the gym or the library which have A/C (new addition), but that can get crowded and noisy.

  8. I am very fortunate to work in a new facility that has air conditioning but I remember all too well working in a classroom with triple digit temps. It is dreadful for the kids!

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