“What? I’m not cold. It’s hot outside!” If you’re a teacher, I’m sure you’ve crossed paths with this student. The one who refuses to wear long pants and a jacket, despite the temperatures either approaching or falling below freezing. No need for a hat and gloves because as he already mentioned, “What? I’m not cold. It’s hot outside!” Usually a boy ranging from 7 to 12 years old, this little guy will stick out like a sore thumb on the playground. He’s the one dashing around the field and playground, full of vim and vigor, looking like a streaker in comparison to his slower-moving, chilly, yet well-bundled peers. Honestly, upon observing this phenomenon, year in and year out, I just can’t seem to get into the mind of such a student. Is he actually hot? Does he THRIVE on people telling him how CRAZY he is for thinking it’s hot out? Is it all for attention? Is it childhood machismo?
Recently, during afternoon carpool on a cold and windy day, I felt one of my first grade boys staring at me. As I surveyed the rest of the students I could sense that he was looking at me in way that begged me to notice him. Immediately, upon making eye contact with him, he blurted out in rapid fire, “What Coach? I’m not cold. It’s hot out here! Why do people keep saying it’s cold?” It was like his mind had been programmed. His only response to any question would be the same. Teacher: “Do you have your homework in your backpack?” Student: “What? I’m not cold. It’s hot outside.” Teacher: “Do you need to use the restroom?” Student: “What? I’m not cold. It’s hot outside.”
Maybe there are sensory issues involved? Perhaps he doesn’t like the feeling of fabric on his arms and lower legs. Or, he really IS comfortable in his shorts and t-shirt and DOES get overheated with a jacket, hat, and gloves.
At least in my mind, the mystery continues. Have you experienced this child? I would enjoy learning about your experiences with this phenomenon! Now, as I prepare for school, I’ll need an undershirt, long sleeved shirt, hooded sweatshirt, winter jacket, ear muffs, knit hat, wool mittens, thermal socks, boots, scarf, and hand warmers. What? I’m cold! It’s FREEZING outside!
Side note: I realize parents should probably, at least, make sure their kids pack a jacket on sub freezing days. I also understand as a teacher I should make sure my students are dressed appropriately for frigid temperatures. But, honestly, I’ve never been a stickler for making kids wear a jacket and pants. If they’re running around, having fun, and more importantly, don’t appear cold, then so be it!
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