9 Ways to Survive When Your School Heater is the Worst

How my school feels right now.
I love my school, but our heater really is the worst. In
past years, it would be mid-morning before the whole building was warmed. This
year it decided it had had enough and started blowing out cold air only, like
an obstinate child. I posted a Facebook status about this situation earlier this
week, and was surprised to find how not uncommon it is to have not-awesome
central heating. Freezing teachers unite!
Despite my misery, I have been very impressed by the
creativity and innovation of my colleagues and I for the past week as our
heater gets fixed. I wanted to share ways we’ve learned to cope with our
little Arctic tundra.
1. Microwave a cup of water and dip your hands in
it repeatedly.
Be sure you have gloves or mittens to slip into directly
afterwards, or your hands will be in a Jack-at-the-end-of-Titanic-type
2. Print off blank Word documents and hold the warm
Sometimes if nobody is watching I hug it, too. Heavenly.
3. Hold your hands next to the projector fan.
4.  Assign a student the task of breathing on your
But good luck explaining that one to your administrator when he/she drops
5. Find someone with a class pet and ask to cuddle
The only class pet I can think of at our school is a giant snake, which I
don’t think would be warm, even after Googling it.
6.Wear a headband over your nose. Will keep your
nose warm* without affecting your ability to yell at students who are still
running in the hallways 6 months into the school year.
7. Invest in a Keurig and make a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate
every five minutes.
Or make yourself a hot
toddy! Just kidding! Wait until you get home!
8. If the heater is broken enough to demand that
you wear mittens indoors, use two Q-tips to type your emails.
It’s not as bad
as you’d think.
9. Create a bonfire in the center of your classroom
using standardized testing manuals and professional development books you never asked for.
Hahahaha. Isn’t it pretty to think so?
I hope your heater is less of a jerk than mine is.
And if you teach on a tropical island don’t talk to me.
*first I typed “news,” as in, “It will keep your news warm,”
and it is still making me laugh. MY  NEWWWWS IS KEWWWWWLD


  1. Anonymous

    My school's heater is very… nyeh. It works kind of okay-ish, we're not freezing or anything, but I'm not comfortable.

    I absolutely put my hands next to the projector exhaust. I also bring glittens (fingerless gloves+mittens) in case it's really that cold and I have to type a lot. The headband-over-nose idea is something I may have to look into, though…

    Hope your heater decides to start working again!

  2. Anonymous

    I just got busted for keeping a lamp on my a/c thermostat-kept the a/c running all day, and the room was comfortable for the majority of the time…now if you get caught doing it, they are going to fine every site $80 per classroom found with one on. I'm tempted to just pay the fine myself and leave the lamp on! LOL They have central control at the district in which I teach, so NO ONE has access to their own thermostat. Each one is set at 76 degrees…not comfortable by anyone's standards, but it saved the district over a milliion dollars last year in energy costs. I'm wondering how much money they actually saved, if kids that got sick because it was too hot or too cold in the classroom (which can act like a germ incubator during summer (Gah!!) decreased the amount of per kid money schools receive for attendance…I think I see a science experiment coming on! LOL BTW I live in the Mojave Desert in CA, where summer temps routinely skyrocket to over 100…when the a/c decides not to work during the late spring/summer months, and I have to take days off because it is too hot in my room to teach, maybe that'll larn 'em….heehee! Get it?

  3. Anonymous

    I worked in a very cold room once. I brought a heating pad to school and put it in my teacher chair. Taking attendance was never so wonderful! Also, you can bring an extra sweater (or two, or three) and use the heating pad as a warmer. Nothing like putting on a warm layer of clothes to (temporarily) kick the chills away! Ganbatte!

  4. Anonymous

    I have 3 Snuggies (in school colors) that I let students borrow. Added bonus, students race to class in order to get one. I wash these wonderfully functional blankets frequently.

    I have also found that playing the HD 3-hour long Yuletide Fireplace from YouTube on my Smartboard has a warming effect. Yes, it is psychological, but it works.

  5. Holly

    I feel your pain! If you have a temperature sensor (not sure what it is called but it is a small metal plate on the wall) put a wet paper towel over it and it will trick the thermostat into kicking on the heat. If the custodians are onto you and on the lookout to bust paper towel perpetrators, you can also slather hand sanitizer on the plate or spray whiteboard cleaner on it and it will have the same effect. Good luck!

  6. clumsygirl

    I have two classrooms (an art room and a computer lab) that I go back and forth between. One is a freezing, icicle-producing space where we have to roll the materials between our hands and blow on them so they warm up enough to actually function as intended. The other wasn't built originally as a computer lab, and doesn't have the necessary hvac to reduce the heat produced by 30 computers and 30 (sweaty) teenaged bodies. Too hot, too cold, too hot, too cold. Back and forth. I've only been sick twice as much this year, but we, too, have saved money on our electric bills in the building. Yay?

  7. Share it! Science for Teachers, Parents and Kids

    I am laughing so hard. I can relate, but I won't go into detail as our buildings guy has done his best to help me out in this area, so I shouldn't complain too much. My Mom teaches band and her "classroom" was the school's greenhouse. I think there were slow-to-heat heaters, but still an uninsulated glass building with concrete floors in January in northern New England? 'nuff said.

  8. Anonymous

    I LOVE your blog! I feel like you are writing the truth about teaching and not a school is "butterflies and gumdrops" version. What other blogs do you enjoy reading? xo another teach

  9. Anonymous

    I just HAVE to comment because my school has been freezing for the past few weeks (of course). BUT! Back in the beginning of the school year when we were doing our heat unit in physics, I had hot plates going almost all day, every day, and that room was boiling. So two weeks ago, when we were freezing in our coats, one of my students said, "Miss, get out the hot plates!" That little genius! Now I keep one by her seat and one by my seat at all times. It really works and we warm our hands over it all the time.

  10. Anonymous

    Found this blog through a Pinterest post. Love it so far, but had to laugh. I moved from Ohio to Hawaii two summers ago and boy do I love the "winter" here!

  11. Joan Wright

    I moved from a middle-class suburban school near Philadelphia to a rural school in the Ozarks of NW Arkansas in 1983. The school was OLD; its heating system consisted of a coal furnace which the custodian fired up early in the morning every school day during cold during the winter. In order to save money, the superintendent's policy was to not have the heat on until Oct. 15, regardless of the weather. My first year there, it was the 1st week of October and we were really uncomfortably cold in my classroom, When donning our outdoor clothes didn't seem to help much, I suggested to my American History class that we build a campfire and all sit around it. You can imagine the looks I got! I found a large coffee can, some construction paper (red, orange, yellow, and brown) and began to cut out"flames" and "logs". After assembling all the parts of our "fire", I had us all sit around it and pretend to warm our hands as if it were a real campfire. Of course, just then, my principal (who was also the superintendent) came to the door, looked in and stared at us sitting on the floor around a …"campfire". He just shook his head, said, "You're WEIRD!" and walked away. The kids thought they'd get into trouble; I thought I'd get fired! Nothing happened, and we never spoke of the incident. Oh, the next day, we had a warm spell and didn't need the furnace on after all!

  12. Elizabeth

    I do the second one when I print of copies of stuff … I put the warm sheets against my face if no one is around to see. It is April, and my classroom still feels like it is 30 degress … yet if I don't watch it, students will TURN ON THE STINKIN' FAN. What is wrong with them? Do they want me to freeze?

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