I’ve heard a lot about essential oils lately. I’ve been interested in learning about their application in the classroom, so I reached out to a friend of mine who is very knowledgeable and experienced in using oils. (If you’re familiar with Young Living Essential Oils, you’ll know my friend by the name Lucy Libido. She’s written essential oils books for women and babies/kids) She connected me with a few teachers who use oils in the classroom. They have agreed to share their experiences with oils in a few guest posts. So here’s the first post about oils, written by high school teacher, Tamera. Click here to get started with your own oils kit!
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve likely heard the buzz about essential oils. What are they? How can I use them? Do they really work to support my health? For educators like me, I wanted to know how I could use oils to support my students’ learning and possibly alleviate toxic stress. This began my research into how essential oils support students who have experienced trauma. I spent a lot of time researching just a few single oils to use daily.
Morning: Lemon and Peppermint combined is a great “pick-me-up.” Many students reported that they felt more alert and they loved how good my classroom smelled. It wasn’t uncommon for my students come back to my classroom throughout the day just to sit and breathe, enjoying whatever was in the diffuser.
Afternoon: My students and I engaged in frequent guided meditation. During the 13 minute meditation, I used lavender in the diffuser and their mood and focus changed dramatically. There were weeks where sometimes I’d forget, but my students were quick to remind me, “Miyasato! Where’s our meditation?” They’d even remind me if I forgot to fill the diffuser.
Studying/Test-Taking: Another oil that I found useful in my classroom was rosemary. We diffused it when we were preparing for tests and because scent is tied to memory, I was sure to diffuse it on testing days, as well. While I didn’t collect data on whether it helped improve scores, it definitely supported my students’ focus and concentration.
Disinfecting: Finally, I was never without my bottle of Thieves Cleaner to clean desks and chalk boards. The day janitor used a popular brand of disinfectant down the halls, but we kept our door closed when she came around. Yuck! My students loved the smell of the Thieves and I felt confident letting them help me clean because I knew that it was safe for them to handle.
Administrative Support: I was grateful that I was able to integrate essential oils into my classroom routines to support my students. However, not all schools will allow teachers to use them. So I have to stress the importance of administration approval. I was lucky that my administration was already supportive and open to new ways to support our high-needs school. In fact, after observing the positive changes in my classroom, I provided our principal with information about using the right oils and how they are used to support many body functions. He was so intrigued that he hired an aromatherapist to come in and provide professional learning for our whole staff!
If you are interested in trying them, I strongly encourage you to look into existing policy to make sure that your school does not prohibit the use of essential oils. If no such policy exists, request a meeting and be armed with research! The important thing to note is the quality of the oils, because not all essential oils are created equal.
About the Guest Blogger
Tamera Miyasato is a Learning Specialist with Technology & Innovation in Education in South Dakota where her work is focused on cultural proficiency, Oceti Sakowin language and culture, and ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). She was formerly a secondary ELA teacher at Pine Ridge High School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where she grew up. She currently lives in Rapid City, SD with her husband, son and two cats.
Note: Content on this blog is not intended as medical advice.
I would be super careful about this. There are some oils that kids can have allergic reactions to and you would not want to send a student to the ER because you used the wrong oils around them.
I absolutely agree. It’s important to know your students and get parent input first.