Most children who wear braces will be in secondary school, at which age they are facing a number of life changes and wearing braces may be an obstacle for them. As a secondary school teacher, you can help to make the experience of wearing braces easier for your students. If you wear braces yourself, you can provide even greater support and assistance for these learners.
Teach your students about dealing with differences
When one of your students has braces put in, there will be other children who will be quick to tease or to make their classmate uncomfortable. As the teacher, you have the opportunity to help your students to acknowledge that everyone is actually different and that difference is something to celebrate.
If you wear braces, your students will take particular note, as this is unusual in an adult. The opportunity is there for you to take wearing braces in your stride and show the world that being different in an unusual way is something to be accepted, rather than something to be embarrassed, or self-conscious, about. You will teach the children who wear braces a valuable lesson and may make a point for all the other students too.
Learn a lesson from your students
One of the challenges facing people who wear braces is tolerating the elastic bands that need to be attached to the wires. As someone who also wears braces, simply empathising with your learners will encourage them to put up with this.
The elastic bands in your mouth are likely to make you feel uncomfortable and irritable, especially if you find it necessary to wear them into the night while you are catching up on marking. At this stage, you can learn a lesson from your learners who wear braces and have to endure a similar feeling. After all, if they can do it, so can you!
Offer practical help to your students who wear braces
You will know that it can be inconvenient and perhaps embarrassing if bits of food get trapped in your braces. Sometimes this cannot be prevented, and the only way to get rid of these is to brush your teeth carefully. For children at school, this can be particularly hard to deal with. They may even avoid eating at school.
Encourage your students who wear braces to bring a toothbrush to school and to leave it in a specially prepared hygienic spot in your classroom. If they get bits of food stuck in their braces, they will not have to spend the rest of the day being embarrassed, but can easily clean their teeth. You may also keep a supply of extra elastic bands, so your learners can replace any that break while they are at school.