That pesky obsessing over pesky bathroom breaks

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Backroads, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    So I have been given not quite a criticism, but definitely an expression of my school norm: I work with some people who are really weird about bathroom breaks, and they're driving me to the point I'm afraid to let my students go to the bathroom. I'll get comments about "Li'l Jimmy was walking to the bathroom again!" and such n such.

    For me, bathroom breaks are really something I don't want to make a huge deal about. Go to the bathroom, don't create chaos doing so, and I'll probably ask you to wait if it's during a lesson or close to a break.

    I also have two students with ADHD-like symptoms, if I may be so bold to venture an armchair diagnosis. They are by far my most frequent bathroom seekers. They're fairly timely with their bathroom breaks and there is no complaints about them behaving badly in the halls... just comments about the fact they are going. I have heard and seem some anecdotes about ADHD students needing more bathroom breaks for whatever reason. Yes, I try to be reasonable about it and I do ask if it's an emergency.

    But, golly, I really am not comfortable with the idea of being so controlling over a little kid's bathroom needs. Especially these two, who I think legitimately need either the actual bathroom attendance or just the mental and physical break of the walk. Besides, these are first graders and I do believe not all of them have mastered the bladder.

    For better or for worse, my school is quite conscious of instructional time, which I personally respect. I think that might be part of the "Mrs. Backroads, did you know Li'l Jimmy went to the bathroom?!"

    Well, that's my rant. Does anyone have a good argument for being so fussy about bathroom breaks?
     
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  3. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I honestly get frustrated by bathroom breaks because I have so many students that want to go to the bathroom all the time. In my 2nd period class, I have about 15 students asking to go to the bathroom out of 33 and lying about it being an emergency. In my 3rd period class, I have about 10 students out of 27 students asking. I also have students asking during the lesson, which I find obnoxious. Two of my students call out to go to the bathroom. I have been asking kids to wait 5 minutes and that has helped somewhat, but I still have too many kids out of the room. My friend has a policy where you don't ask and just take the bathroom pass to go but I don't really like that. I wish I could use bathroom passes or something of that sort. I know I probably need a better procedure (maybe a hand signal) for the bathroom but I'm not sure what it should be!

    Honestly, if it was just two kids, I would let them go and not make a big deal out of it if they are not disruptive...especially not in 1st grade! I don't see why your colleagues care...
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
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  4. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Why are your colleagues obsessing over whether a student is going to the bathroom? Do they work so little that they have time to obsess over non-issues?

    Hypothetically, and this wouldn’t happen where I work, but if a colleague of mine were to say that I would promptly say, “And?” Then, I would return to my work.
     
  5. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Considering teachers are often mentioning how they are frustrated about not being able to go the restroom whenever they want, and we're talking about 9/10 year olds (or older/younger, depending on the grade one teachers) who are still learning their bodies (or going through lots of changes!)...it really shouldn't be a big deal.

    On the first day of school, we talk as a class and do some math about how even one bathroom break every single day during class leads to 3 missed days of school (assuming a 5 minute break -- we're in a portable), which leads to meaningful discussion around using the breaks (recess / lunch) as much as possible.

    That said, if a student is constantly going during instruction time, we have a 1-on-1 talk about that, and work together to try to aim better (don't go there...ha) for the breaks rather than in between the breaks.
     
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  6. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    This is more or less how I've replied. It's weird. Colleague will march in and say "I saw Jimmy heading to the bathroom!" in the same tone as if Li'l Jimmy were spray painting bad words on the playground.
     
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  7. miss-m

    miss-m Habitué

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    If they are going quickly and not getting into trouble, I'd probably respond with an "Ok. Thank you for letting me know." or "Yes, I'm aware, thank you for your concern." and continue doing what you're doing.
    First graders have to pee ALL THE TIME (I am learning that this year with my firsties). And the kids who have the hardest time paying attention are the ones who do ask to go the most. Some ask to go a lot and I let them, because they're fine to just take a break if that's what they really need. I have another couple who ask to go a lot and I do not trust them at all because they're gone for 5-10 minutes at a time and have been escorted back by teachers on several occasions.

    If you are sending these kids a lot but not having issues other than nosey teachers reminding you that they're going to the bathroom again, I wouldn't worry about it too much. They probably do just need that little bit of exercise.
     
  8. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Who are these people worrying about students that are not theirs? Are they hall monitors? How do these people have so much free time that they notice such things?
     
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  9. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Right? WHY DO THEY CARE? It's not like the kid was peeing on the walls!
     
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  10. MissCeliaB

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    I teach at a high school, and there are a handful of kids who always seem to be out of class. All the time. They aren't particularly disruptive. But they clearly aren't learning anything. So I guess in that way it could be seen as a problem.
     
  11. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Tell them "next time I'll have them stop by and ask your permission before they go."
     
  12. TeacherNY

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    Good idea!
     
  13. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Haha, I love this!
     
  14. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    These people exist in EVERY SCHOOL! Every time I've moved to a new site, I always wonder how long it'll take me to find them!
     
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  15. Teacher234

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    I like to call the excessive bathroom breaks "the revolving door". If you have ever seen a revolving door, you should know what I mean.
    When I begin to realize that students are excessively going to the bathroom for non-urgent reasons, I say "The revolving door is locked". This applies to locker trips and mysterious "I will die without water" water fountain trips. That phrase means nobody should ask to leave. (I have been teaching long enough to identify when an emergency is an actual emergency.)
    "The revolving door is unlocked'--during downtimes/when I am not annoyed with the bathroom breaks
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
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  16. alp123

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    I teach 2nd grade and I would rather that students use the bathroom then have an "accident" in class. No one can tell if they really need to go, especially at that age. That conversation with the parent would not go over well trust me. I know who my repeat offenders are and I tell them that they have 2 minutes. Our admin. complains all the time that too many primary students, K,1, and 2 are using the bathroom too often during instructional time and she insists that they take a buddy with them? I've found that 2 always take longer and play around, so I stopped sending pairs out. You're colleagues should worry about their own students. ;)
     
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  17. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Why would the solution to this be having more students miss instructional time? I teach middle school but my kids would love to take a buddy with them! LOL
     
  18. alp123

    alp123 Companion

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    Exactly! lol I'll let her explain to the parents why little Johnny had an accident in class too. :)
     
  19. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I think you are much too sensible for the people that you work with.
     
  20. CherryOak

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    I have a relaxed policy. It drives some of my colleagues nuts!
     
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