Bathroom Breaks - possible plan?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Chas, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. Chas

    Chas Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I had an idea over this summer that i'm considering using in September. Maybe i can get some feedback from the more experienced teachers here.

    I'm setting a per-cycle (or marking period, whatever) limit on the number of times my students can use the bathroom. I'm planning to go with 3 for the boys and 5 for the girls (i teach 7th grade). I came up with those numbers by determining that i could deal with 3 disruptions per day during my 90 minute class.
    180 days in a school year x 3 disruptions = 540 disruptions during the school year.
    540 disruptions divided by 30 students = 18 disruptions per student in a school year, or 4.5 per marking period. I upped it to 5 for the girls, and reduced it to 3 for the boys. I might further increase the girls to 6 (i repeat, this is 7th grade).

    I was also considering using an extra bathroom break as a potential reward, but i think that will send the wrong message to the students that a bathroom break is meant to be a fun, rewarding experience, so i probably will not do that. I was also thinking of letting students convert their left over bathroom breaks into rewards at the end of a marking period, like a free homework pass for two leftover breaks, for example. I think that would be unfair to the responsible students who legitimately needed to use the bathroom during the school year (plus the female students are automatically at an advantage since they start with more breaks).

    What i do plan to do though, is allow students to "rollover" their left over bathroom breaks to the next marking period.

    Feedback? Criticisms?
     
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  3. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    I'll bet 7th graders can really abuse trips to the bathroom. Still, I don't think treating bathroom breaks as a privilege is going to work. I think your plan may be sending the wrong message. It is also likely to start a power struggle extraordinaire. Parents involved, angry parents. Not a good thing.
     
  4. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    Aug 9, 2008

    Don't they get a few minutes between classes and a lunch period? I don't think that they need an actual class bathroom break if that's the case. The "rollover" idea is a good idea.

    The only thing I would change is to set it to 4 times for both boys and girls. If the girls need to go that often, then they need to start going between classes or during lunch.
     
  5. Chas

    Chas Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2008

    My reasoning for the extra bathroom breaks for the girls is that, at the age of 12, there are certain times where they really can't help it, and many of them are experiencing such for the first time in their lives, if you know what i'm getting at.

    They have no time between classes for the bathroom. They line up as a class and go together to their next class. They do have time during lunch, though. And all that said, i know there is at least one 7th and two 8th grade teachers in my school (one of whom is my mentor) who don't allow ANY bathroom breaks.

    Last year i only had one class of my own, and that class ended up using the bathroom at least 8 times per day when i wasn't keeping track (i got it down to about 3-4 per day when i started recording the trips in my book), including one girl who went every day at exactly 12 noon for two weeks until i caught on. I feel like i need to take a stand this year. This year i am likely to once again only have one class of my own (the administration like me to pull students from various grade levels out of class to work with them individually. I guess i'm happy that my school has such a priviledge/surplus of teaching staff).

    I type a lot. Sorry about that.
     
  6. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Aug 9, 2008

    Where I went to school (MS and HS), students were allowed 3 bathroom breaks per class period (6 classes daily) per marking period. There was a form in their agenda book. Some students would use other people's agendas, but it was never really an issue for any kids. The kids using other agenda's usually were the hall wanderer types and did not legitamately have to go to the bathroom.

    As for your plan, I think 3 times per week is excessive (and 5 times is way too much). If you do an amount per week, I'd limit it to 1. They are only in your class for a brief period of time. If all of the teachers allowed 1 break per week and you have 5+ class periods, that is an opportunity for each child to go everyday, plus lunch. I think that is enough.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I can tell that you've put a lot of thought into your plan! Here are some things to consider....

    Girls don't really need to go to the bathroom more than boys. They should be able to take care of things just fine during their normal breaks. In the event of an emergency, make appropriate adjustments...but don't start off with an inequity. The boys will be annoyed, and the girls will either be embarrassed or happy to get some unearned special privileges.

    I would caution against utilizing bathroom passes in your reward plan. Don't give extra passes as rewards, and don't issue grade-related bonuses (free homework pass, etc.) for leftover passes. We assign grades to show whether a student has demonstrated mastery of a subject--not to show that they are capable of holding it better than their peers.

    I really believe that 3 passes per quarter is plenty, for both boys and girls.
     
  8. Chas

    Chas Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2008

    It's not per week, it's per marking period. Basically it's the same as it was in your MS. The "per day/per week" thing relates to me; i want to limit the number of total bathroom trips to about 3 per day in my class, which equates to 4.5 trips per student per marking period.
     
  9. Chas

    Chas Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2008

    You make a great point. I really should make the numbers equal for the boys and the girls, and just make adjustments in case of emergency. The only problem is, i just know my girls will discover that they can just tell me EVERY trip is an emergency! Can you help me with how i could make the emergency adjustments without turning the system into a subjective mess?

    By the way, I mentioned the rewards just so those reading would know that i already thought about it and rejected it as a possibility, so everyone would know that this isn't just a passing thought of mine.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't keep track of how many times a student uses the bathroom. It doesn't seem to be much of a problem for me, and I only write 2-3 bathroom passes per week. (I had 150 students last year.) Here's my secret:

    When a student asks to use the bathroom, I say, "No problem. I'm busy right now doing XYZ, so could you remind me again in about 10 minutes so that I can write you a pass?"

    They almost never ask that second time. It tells me that either they didn't really need to go or they missed the rendezvous they had planned at a particular time.
     
  11. dbelmo

    dbelmo Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2008

    From my experience as a middle school teacher for 10 years, I know that 7th graders (and other middle school students) are just like Pre k students, they are self centered and the world revolves around them. By letting the girls have more than the boys that is just not FAIR in thier eyes.

    Having said that, I allow them 6 times in the marking period to leave my room. They do not rollover, but if they have all 6 left they are able to earn extra points on the last test/quiz of the marking period in that subject.

    dbelmo
     
  12. MsTeacher98

    MsTeacher98 Companion

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    Aug 10, 2008

    Boys have emergencies, too (diarrhea, etc). You will get a lot of bad feedback from the parents of boy students. If a student says its an emergency, treat it like an emergency. If it becomes an issue, you can address the student with real concern. "I really think I ought to talk with your parents. You should really see your doctor. They will want to know that you had emergencies on...." Have emergency dates, times, etc documented for such a purpose. More than one "emergency" should be seen as a cause for concern- three times should be plenty.

    Anyway, that's my two cents.:2cents:
     
  13. MsTeacher98

    MsTeacher98 Companion

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    Aug 10, 2008

    That was a major issue for us last year! Kids will definitely plan times to "hook up" if they can!
     
  14. adellesmama

    adellesmama Companion

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    Aug 10, 2008

    I just got done taking a grad class in which we discussed a topic very similar (just hall passes in general)...so I'll tell you an idea I took out of that...

    Basically, all students (this was a school-wide endeavor) were given a hall pass coupon book (in their planner, I think) with a set number of coupons in it. Students would present this book, if they wanted to go to the bathroom or whatever. The teacher would sign it, no questions asked, and the student would go on his merry way. The thing was that if students refrained from using their hall passes, each coupon left over got entered into a drawing at the end of the quarter or the end of the year for different prizes (including a Nintendo Wii!). The teacher said that this was VERY motivating for the students and that the hallway traffic and students leaving throughout the class became less of an issue.

    This idea seemed like it could work, but I'm sure that it would have to be adapted if you were to use it in just one classroom instead of as part of a school-wide system.

    And I teach second, so I can def feel your pain when it comes to bathroom breaks...mine do have to go an awful lot at their young age, though some more than others :lol:
     
  15. kstar03

    kstar03 Companion

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    Aug 10, 2008

    Good plan Cassie!


    Something I did during student teaching when I was having an issue with extra bathroom/water foutain/nurse issues (and the fact they would interrupt my during my lesson to ask to leave the room was annoying!!!) was tell my students that they would only be able to go the first 5 minutes and the last 5 minutes of class (my cooperative teacher had this policy in her other classes as well). It cut down the extra trips and the "meeting up" high schoolers like to do.
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Weird! I have the exact opposite policy! I don't let students leave in the first 15 minutes or last 15 minutes of class. Students who know that they can get out of class right away are much more likely to arrive unprepared, having spent their 5 minute passing period socializing rather than retrieving supplies from their lockers. Students who leave in the last 15 minutes seem to struggle with finding their way back to my room....

    I only allow students to leave the room during work time. If I'm up at the board presenting a lesson, my response is always, "Now is not the time for that."
     

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