Bathroom Breaks

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by jen12, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Feb 13, 2010

    What do you do about bathroom breaks? I had a girl ask me the other day in the middle of a test if she could go. I asked her if she could wait until we finished the test, but she came up to me 5 minutes later saying she had to go very badly.

    It's not something you can really refute. If a kid has to go, he has to go, especially the really little kids. I've heard of teachers getting in big trouble for denying kids and then the kids tell Mom and Mom comes back to the Principal absolutely furious about human rights violations or some such thing.

    But, we all know that once the first kid asks to go, it starts a chain reaction. I've tried letting only the first kid go, under the theory that he really has to and the rest are reacting to him leaving the room, but then they're bouncing up and down saying they really have to go.

    As a sub, how do you manage the real emergencies versus the kids pressing their luck?
     
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  3. WhatchaDoin?

    WhatchaDoin? Comrade

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    Feb 13, 2010

    In the younger grades, most if the classrooms have a scheduled bathroom break time. This cuts down on the "off" times, and it gives me a little more confidence to just say no after the first one or two students. Many of the other classrooms have clear cut policy, so I throw out in the beginning that I am aware of the policy.
    When I had my own classroom, I usually ran into the same scenario during the first week of school. I also hesitated to say no, but after three kids, enough was enough.
     
  4. teacherincanada

    teacherincanada Rookie

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    Feb 13, 2010

    ahhh I hate bathroom breaks!!

    I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to say "no" for bathrooms. my very first day subbing, I had some gr 2s that came in and a couple asked to go to the bathroom. A VP was coming in with them, and I asked him what the rules were for bathroom (i.e. if they had to go with a buddy, etc). And he sternly said to them "I'm not sure ANYONE needs to go to the bathroom."

    I'm still trying to figure out what to do about the situation.
    In the past, I've let the first few go, then when everyone starts asking I say "NO MORE BATHROOMS!!". Usually by then, I can also say "It's almost lunch/recess - you can wait until then." I haven't had any serious problems. I'd love to see if anyone has some strategies for these bathroom issues though.
     
  5. H.S.Eng.Teach

    H.S.Eng.Teach Rookie

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    Feb 15, 2010

    This IS a tricky thing to deal with. When I was student teaching, my mentor teacher would not allow anyone to go to the bathroom at any time. Some students eventually walked out and went anyway after she told them no. This resulted in students being suspended for leaving the classroom without permission.

    When I took over for her, I allowed students to go to the bathroom, but as someone mentioned in a previous post, I watch the clock. If it is close to passing time or lunch time, I don't allow them to go. Except at the school where I was student teaching, because they were not allowed to go to the bathroom on their lunch time (they were basically locked in the cafeteria), so I would allow the students to go after lunch but not before lunch.

    Now I do allow students to go to the bathroom while I'm subbing, but only if the classroom teacher does not have a bathroom policy. If he/she does, I follow that policy of course. I make sure students know that they have less than five minutes to get back to the classroom, and if they are out of the room any longer than that, I write the name down for the teacher. If the student is gone for more than ten minutes, I call the office and tell them that I need someone to find the student and return him/her to class. If the student is gone for 15 minutes or more, I call the office and let them know that the student is skipping class. I mark the student absent (because if a student comes later than 15 minutes to class at most of the school where I sub, that student is "absent" whether or not he/she comes to class).

    I'm not sure if this is the best policy, and I do have problems with many students going in and out of the room, but I think that it's cruel to make a student hold it if he/she really has to go.

    My favorite schools are the ones that put in their rules: "Do not issue passes today" or something to that effect. Then I can tell them that it is the school's rule that substitute teachers not allow students to leave the room.
     
  6. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Feb 15, 2010

    I teach really little kids, and I think that we often suffer the chain reaction more than older kids. I am lucky to have a bathroom in my classroom, but at times, I have half of the class in line to use the bathroom!! I made a rule that only one person can wait outside of the bathroom door. I have found that the kids who really need to go keep track of when they can get in line and those that don't get distracted.
     
  7. azure

    azure Companion

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    Feb 15, 2010

    I mostly sub in middle and high school, and I rarely let anyone go to the restroom. I always write "no passes" right under my name on the board. Some still ask. I don't even let them go if they say it's an emergency or I can't hold it or I'm going to pee on myself, or other ridiculous things. I tell them that's what passing period is for. The reason I do this is that in the 8 years I've been subbing, I have followed probably 8-10 kids out of the room when the bell rings. These are those whom I have denied even after they said one or more of the above statements. 80-90 percent of those I have followed have 1)gone to their lockers, 2)talked to their friends, 3) proceeded on to their next class (often passing right by a restroom). At that point I go right up to that child and say, "Don't ever try to pull that on me again." They looked puzzled and say, "What?" I reply, "If you really had to go to the bathroom that bad, you would have made a bee-line to the restroom and you didn't." About then they look rather embarrassed or sometimes I continue to recite where they made stops along the way.

    In elementary I follow the teacher's instructions restroom breaks, which is usually one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I always tell them that "this is your only opportunity to use the restroom until lunch, so go even if you don't have to right now." There are always a few who don't go and then come up 1/2 later and ask. I just point out that they should have taken the opportunity when it was given.
    Of course, if someone has a pass from the nurse I honor that. But I am very strict about this bacause there have been many instances where kids were caught in the RR using their cell phones, or kids from two different classrooms actually make a plan to meet in the RR at a certain time, or any number of other nefarious schemes.

    Same goes for passes to the nurse. They have to be dripping blood, throwing up, or feel feverish to my touch before I let them go. I don't buy "my head hurts," or "my stomach hurts" garbage, unless they have meds in the nurse's office for migraine or something like that.
     
  8. Toak

    Toak Cohort

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    Feb 15, 2010

    No the first time, yes the second. otherwise, the whole class will need to go every 15 minutes. Also, I pay attention to the ones I said no to and if it appears they are uncomfortable I let them go.
    Last I subbed I had one kid who refused to work until I let her use the restroom (teacher had even left me a note warning me to be very strict with rr breaks). Ten minutes later she hadn't returned so I sent another student in to get her. She came back almost as soon as the student entered the bathroom so she clearly wasn't going - and though I gave her a way out, she rudely snapped back that she wasn't ill, so I wrote her up for the teacher to deal with. You would think 12 and 13 year olds would know to lie and say they were sick when they know the teacher is angry at them for taking so long in the bathroom, but I guess not.
    In most schools the kids know to run out of the room and ignore my yelling at them, if it is truly an emergency. They can argue the case with the principal (or me) when they return. Though there is one school I sub in that I wouldn't dare tell
    them that or they'd all run out of the room immediately.
    When I was in second grade, my teacher only ever took us to the restroom right after lunch, and wouldn't allow any one to go at any other time of the day - accidents were common (can't recall a single kid in the class that didn't go in their pants at least once, and some several times throughout the year) but that never encouraged her to change her bathroom policy. I definitely don't want to end up being the same kind of teacher she was
     
  9. IAMdoneSubbing

    IAMdoneSubbing Companion

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    Feb 21, 2010


    I am smiling as I read all these posts because I went through the same thing. Once a kid asked for the bathroom break, then there is a chain reaction. After a few, I'd have enough and strenly say, "No more BB break!"

    It is re-assuring to hear all these experience fellow subs go through. Made me feel not alone:)
     
  10. CD1980

    CD1980 Rookie

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    Feb 22, 2010

    If you don't feel comfortable saying no to RR breaks, you could try setting up a sign-out sheet. Let the kids know that you will leave the record of who left and when, as well as how long, for their teacher.

    The problem with being substitute teachers is that we don't always know who to trust, who tries to leave the room at every opportunity, etc. If we did, we'd be in a better position to make these calls.

    I once did a long-term subbing job for a teacher who let his 5th graders take RR breaks CONSTANTLY (the other teachers confirmed this, so I knew they weren't just trying it with me). I wasn't going to deal with that for several weeks, so I gave them a talk reminding them of all the opportunities they had to use the RR (when switching classes, lunch, etc.). After that, I just started saying "no" to requests. At first the kids were a little shocked, but they soon learned to stop asking.

    For day-to-day subbing, my general rule of thumb is "No RR during direct instruction, and only one student out at a time." (I don't say this, because I don't want to put the idea of RR breaks in their heads. I just enforce it when it comes up.) And no drinking fountain!
     
  11. ms.

    ms. Comrade

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    Mar 5, 2010

    I allow students to go to the bathroom, there are 1 1/2 hour class periods at the middle school I sub at. However, I try to follow the teacher/school's policy as closely as possible. If I have a suspicion that the student just wants to wander around the halls I tell them if they don't go directly to the bathroom and back they will receive a lunch detention. I peek out the class door to confirm they go directly the restroom, this tends to cut down on bathroom requests. I say no if it is close to the end of the class, and I only allow one student to go at a time.

    I think that it's important to be careful about not letting students go to the restroom ever. I know of a sub who wasn't re-requested at a school because they didn't let anyone use the restroom (including a student who had a medical condition.)
     
  12. teachbugz

    teachbugz Rookie

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    Mar 13, 2010

    3-13-10


    I sub at middle and high schools for a major school district.
    My philosophy is this: I am the teacher for that day and my bathroom policy is king. The student must spend 5 minutes after class with me and I don't write late notes. Yesterday, I subbed at a high school which conducted tardy sweeps throughout the day. After I announced my RR policy each period, I had very few requests. Case closed.
     

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