Do teachers get bathroom breaks?

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by Artyst, May 6, 2013.

  1. Artyst

    Artyst Rookie

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    May 6, 2013

    A few days ago I was subbing in an elementary school. In the morning I had introduced myself to the neighboring teacher and I asked her about how this particular school handles bathroom breaks. She told me to call the office because teachers are not allowed to step out of their classrooms, not even to go into the hallway. In this case, to "keep an eye on" a neighboring class. She said that teachers may loose their license if they are caught doing this. I told her I was surprised and that I didn't know.

    Anyhow, I have IBS, and I will spare everyone the nasty details. I called the office,and asked for coverage for a bathroom break and the receptionist said that she couldn't find and administrator to cover for me because certified office staff cannot cover for certificated employees. To top it off she said, "We don't have extra people floating around for those things."

    Needless to say I waited another 45 minutes feeling nauseous and miserable and questioning whether teaching is really the profession for me.

    For elementary teachers, how does your school handle this issue?
     
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  3. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Our school is designed with sets of two rooms connected by a door. If I really need to use the restroom, I set my kids up doing something independent (like watching a Brain Pop), open the door between the rooms, and let the other teacher know.

    We are lucky, though. I've been at other schools where I'm not actually sure how you'd be able to take a restroom break...
     
  4. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    One of my teammates and I share a door that connects our classrooms. If we need to use the restroom, we'll watch each other's classes. Really based on our schedule though, if I didn't have that option it wouldn't be a big deal. The longest I'm alone with students is about two hours.
     
  5. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    May 7, 2013

    Regardless of where I sub I typically can only use the restroom during lunch (and sometimes not even then because I have duty or lunch detention). It's definitely not healthy, but I don't drink any liquids before or during work.
     
  6. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Bathroom break? At my school, it's during a prep or lunch. Some teachers call the office & try to get someone to cover for them. Or grab a teacher walking in the hallway.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 7, 2013

    I have a 40 minute prep plus an hour duty free lunch every day...I tend to take my breaks then, although I'm a bit of a camel..we also can do the 'stand between so classes' thing if needed.
     
  8. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    2 days a week, I am with my kids bell to bell. I usually go at lunch- I ask another teacher in the cafeteria to watch them for a minute while I run to the bathroom.
     
  9. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    This has always been a hill I was willing to die on. Thankfully it's never been a major issue.

    I will use the bathroom when I need to...simple as that. Especially during my period, which I don't feel the need to pretend doesn't exist...yeah, I'm going to the bathroom.
     
  10. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

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    May 7, 2013

    This is one area high school teachers have it easier. I can typically just go when their is a class change. (about every 55 minutes)
     
  11. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    May 8, 2013

    Really? Whenever I'm subbing in high or middle school, there's always a few students that take a while to leave and then a few other students in the next class that show up a little early. There always seems to be a kid in the classroom. :(
     
  12. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

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    May 8, 2013

    Your not allowed to walk out of the room during class change if students are in your room? I did it all the time, maybe it was just the school I was at. I saw other teachers in the bathroom while I was in there, so I wasn't the only one doing it.
     
  13. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    May 8, 2013

    In my district we're not allowed to leave any students alone in a classroom. :( Arguably it's a good rule because the kids tend to steal or do other mischief.
     
  14. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    May 9, 2013

    Technically, we aren't allowed to leave the kids alone, per the district.

    Fortunately, my principal recognizes that teachers *actually* human beings with bodily functions. We also have windows in the walls, so we just let another teacher know and they can watch our class from their room.

    I usually scoot out a minute before the bell.
     
  15. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Jun 6, 2013

    On two occasions, I have had no choice but to run outside and leave the kids alone.
    The first time I left the room I was fortunate to see an aide near the door so I told her to watch the kids.
    There was only one restroom for the men, which was occupied when I got there, so I was lucky to find a child come out of the nurse's bathroom before I had an accident.

    The second time I had to go across the school and just made it to the mens' room.

    Restroom options are sometimes limited for male subs, which is nerve wracking due to my unpredictable GI tract.

    There is one school I go to a couple times a year that has a unisex restroom with six stalls.
    It is one of the few schools where I do not have to stress about restroom issues.
     
  16. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Hahaha, I'm 7 months pregnant and I need to pee about every 90 minutes now. There are also people, like the OP, that have medical conditions that necessitate leaving the room to use the bathroom when other people could "hold it." Having a full bladder can trigger false contractions in pregnancy--and has done this with me several times. Either I pee or I have to go home and get the contractions under control. Fortunately, the bathroom is directly across from my room. I can have a neighboring teacher just listen out or step in the hall while I take 60 seconds to pee.

    I did the same thing when I was puking every 2 hours the first 23 weeks of my pregnancy too. The other option was to puke in front of my students.

    I wouldn't allow bathroom issues to keep you from being a teacher. You have a documented medical condition and they cannot strip your license for using the potty when you have a documented medical condition. If they are going to have such strict rules that a neighboring teacher cannot stand in the hall b/w your two rooms, then they NEED to have personnel to handle "these things" so you can go.
     
  17. frtrd

    frtrd Rookie

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    Jun 7, 2013

    HS Subs (and teachers) -- can't you shoo the students out of the classroom and lock the door so you can use the restroom?
     
  18. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Jun 8, 2013

    As far as I know non certificated staff and even parent volunteers can watch over the children in a classroom for thirty minutes if they have gone through appropriate security checks in the state of California.
     
  19. mkbren88

    mkbren88 Cohort

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    I either wait, or take my class on a whole class break and use the staff bathroom that is right by the kids bathrooms.
     
  20. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I go during recess, my prep or lunch. Once I had to go during class and I really wait, but luckily there was an EA in the room so she watched the kids.
     
  21. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I'm teaching summer school right now and we don't have any kind of break in the 3.5 hours. We don't have other teachers close by enough to watch two classes (the rooms are spread far apart). I have to make sure I don't drink anything all morning so I don't have to go!
     
  22. Mommyserenity

    Mommyserenity Devotee

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    Jul 3, 2013

    My public school experience: I go during morning planning while the kids are at specials and then again at lunch. If I have to go outside of that we can grab a neighbor to stand at our door and watch the classes since every classroom has a "partner class" that is literally next door and can easily be seen if you stand right in the middle of the doorways.

    Private school experience: We had to grab our nearest neighbor or we were at the mercy of if the secretary was busy and could come cover someone.....if she even would answer us when we called up to the office! (but that's another story! :lol:)
     
  23. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Jul 3, 2013

    Yes, federal law requires that employers give employees access to restrooms when needed:


    http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=22932


    In light of the standard's purpose of protecting employees from the hazards created when toilets are not available, it is clear that the standard requires employers to allow employees prompt access to sanitary facilities. Restrictions on access must be reasonable, and may not cause extended delays. For example, a number of employers have instituted signal or relief worker systems for employees working on assembly lines or in other jobs where any employee's absence, even for the brief time it takes to go to the bathroom, would be disruptive. Under these systems, an employee who needs to use the bathroom gives some sort of a signal so that another employee may provide relief while the first employee is away from the work station. As long as there are sufficient relief workers to assure that employees need not wait an unreasonably long time to use the bathroom, OSHA believes that these systems comply with the standard.
     
  24. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    So, by extension, schools which have been discussed on here that prohibit teachers from getting someone to monitor their kids while they use the restroom are in violation of OSHA standards? That can't be good.

    Update: Now that I am 8 months pregnant I pee every hour now. Glad it's summer break or I'd be aggravating my colleagues for sure.
     
  25. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    My planning period is at the end of the day. There are times that I have to ask the teacher across the hall to watch while I go. If there are teachers in the hall (or principal /vice-principal)they'll watch them while we go.
     
  26. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    My kids don't change rooms because they are self-contained, but they know if they get to my classroom and I'm not there to line up in the hallway, and they did the two times I got back from lunch a few seconds late.

    Otherwise, I can call the office but I try not to abuse it.
     

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