Is this horrible?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Teaching Grace, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    Aug 25, 2009

    Reading and writing workshops are sacred time in our school. This year we have barely enough time to do both in a 2 hour period PLUS finding time for spelling every single day. Several teachers have created an expectation/rule in their rooms that the students need to go to the restroom in the morning before we start workshops. If the students ask to use the restroom (short of an emergency or being sick) they earn 2-3 laps at recess. This time is supposed to be uninterrupted work time. Well a parent complained to a fellow teacher today about how her daughter is scared to drink at breakfast in the morning before coming to school. The mother wants to stop this expectation/rule. What do you think? It's a simple consequence to not following directions during morning procedure. It is also a major deterance for interrupting during workshop time when they are supposed to be working. As parents and teachers, what do you think?
     
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  3. TeachinHicks

    TeachinHicks Comrade

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    I don't let my students go within 30 minutes of when we go as a class, after that I try to make them wait as long as they can. I do however let them go once we get started working. As a parent, I would be very upset with this rule. You're not supposed to hold it in and some students really just can't. I had a student 2 years ago who had a doctor's note that I had to let her go. She had a history of UTIs and I was not going to be blamed for another...

    I think that your team should re-evaluate. 2 hours is a long time for an 8 year old child.

    Sorry if I sound harsh, just my 2 cents...
     
  4. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    I'm just looking for opinions so I understand the harsh :) I let my kids go if they really need to. Most of them don't. I'm not sure how my fellow teacher handles this. All of my kids go in the morning before we start. The longest they hold it in my class is 1 hr and 45 min (maybe). It is so stressed to us that we not let our workshop be interrupted and as soon as we let one go... 5 others ask as well. Then if you let them go and it's not an emergency they take forever coming back because it really just turns into a ploy to miss work. Do you think that it would be a better policy that they can go but they will have to make up the time missed by reading or writing at recess for however long that they are in the restroom? I just want to make sure that they are getting their time in....
     
  5. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    In 4th grade, I told my students that they had 2 "trips out the door" each day. I have also been known to set a timer when one goes to the RR alone! If they didn't make it back in 3 mins then they owed me as many extra mins as they used.
     
  6. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I understand your frustration with interruptions and children missing instructional time but I don't think this is legal/ethical in a number of ways.

    First of all there are health issues involved. Some children can't hold it. There is the issue of drinking, especially in the hot weather we have been having lately. If a child really has to go to the bathroom, do you think he/she is paying attention to the lesson? I hope this doesn't cause any accidents/embarrassment.

    Secondly, I think giving laps is considered physical punishment in some states and in my opinion, is not appropriate "punishment" for needing to go to the bathroom.
     
  7. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    A red flag went off when I heard "running laps" as a consequence. I think that borderlines as absolutely not okay.

    Also, is there a way that if the child HAS to go to the bathroom, they can make up the extra three minutes they missed during recess? It seems like a big mess over just a few minutes. I understand its supposed to be interrupted but for two hours? I just thinks thats unrealistic and could cause bigger problems in the long run.
     
  8. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    I know I could not go 2 hours without a bathroom break. I bet if you allow it and don't make a big deal out of it, few will ask.
     
  9. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    If it were me, I would start my block 5 minutes earlier, and take a 5 minute break halfway through. It's simple brain based research-children will no, can not, remain focused and attentive for long periods of time. Think about the last PD you sat through-how long before you were glancing at the clock, wondering when the break was?

    Requiring more time might seem like the way to get things done, but in reality, smaller blocks might be way more productive.
     
  10. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Yeah, not a big fan of this rule...
     
  11. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    I think we would have a visit from the higher ups if we did not allow students access to the washroom. It simply isn't allowed at my school to deny access to the washroom or water. We make sure to take whole class breaks so we all go at once. We go often so that cuts down on individual requests.
     
  12. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Bathrooms have never been a big deal in my class. I stressed that they go during recess and they may go during independent work time and both grades that I taught (kinder/fifth) were able to handle this. Rarely I had kids go during workshop time, anyways. And if they did, then I allowed them. I think it is cruel to expect children to hold it in. Oh, and making kids run laps??? I know some schools do this and some are against it. I think it doesn't meet the "crime". To me, if you give a kid a consequence, it needs to make sense. Sooooo, if they miss class to go to the bathroom, then keep them in however long they were gone and have them finish up their work.
     
  13. janney

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    Aug 26, 2009

    I think she probably meant walking laps not running....
    I agree with the idea of building a break time between reading and writing workshop for the class to go as a group to the restroom. It would be a good brain break as well. You may even see their productivity rise if they have that break time. If you absolutely cannot take a whole class break put a time limit on how long they can be gone (3 to 5 minutes) any time after that they could make up.
     
  14. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    My brother has a shirt from cross country that says 'My sport is your sport's punishment'. I love that shirt-it's true! My making students run laps as a punishment, you may be unintentionally teaching students that running can't be fun or worthwhile, but rather is a punishment. Boooooo.
     
  15. sarypotter

    sarypotter Comrade

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    Aug 26, 2009

    I second the idea of taking a class break halfway through. When I was a second-grader, I had a teacher with a strict bathroom policy and she made such a big deal when students asked that I was far too shy to even bring it up. I had two accidents in class that year and I was completely mortified. So please find a way to let them go if they need to, without having to get in trouble or cause a big fuss!
     
  16. jojo808

    jojo808 Comrade

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    Aug 26, 2009

    I don't even know how to answer this. I would never punish a child for going to the bathroom. Maybe I misread the post..

    No, I guess I didn't. I think this a terrible rule and most likely counterproductive.

    And sorry, I forget who posted this but making children run/walk laps will not get them to love it. I don't need research for me to know that.
     
  17. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Aug 26, 2009

    When do you get to go to the restroom?

    I've had kidney stones and chronic UTI's because I'm generally dehydrated - too many years in the classroom not taking care of my physical needs.

    I totally disagree with the lap punishment too for the same reason Jem posted.

    I take a 5 minute break between reading workshop and writing workshop. In the big scheme of things I don't think it's going to make or break your students' scores.
     
  18. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    What grade do you teach? The official policy where I teach is that you cannot go to the bathroom. The unofficial policy is that if it is an emergency, you must write a quick letter to the principal explaining why you need to go to the restroom and why it can't wait until between classes. Most kids who don't actually need to go won't want to write a letter.
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    In a word, yes, I think it IS horrible.

    I think it's cruel to punish a child for needing to go to the bathroom.

    Abuse of bathroom use is another thing, but the occasional need to go off cue is something that just happens.

    Also, I'm curious as to exactly how one defines "emergency."

    The high school kids I teach know that if they abuse bathroom privledges, they'll be staying after school. That said, I do not, EVER, tell a kid he or she can NOT go. And there's a huge difference between abusing bathroom use and an 8 year old who occasionally needs to go to the bathroom at a time that's inconvenient for his or her teacher.

    As a parent, I can tell you: the teacher/ principal/ superintendent would be hearing from me!!!
     
  20. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    We aren't allowed to use laps or other exercise activities as punishment. We were told its inappropriate.

    Sometimes I can't predict when I have to go to the bathroom, rarely but still. I teach 6th grade and if they have to go they have to go. I always ask "Can it wait?" if its a bad time and they know they are allowed to say "no it can't". A 5th grader last year wet his pantss because he was afraid to tell his teacher he had to go. He was humiliated.

    Seems really really wrong to me.
     
  21. SHF4EL

    SHF4EL Rookie

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    My procedure is not during direct instruction time, except for extreme emergencies. During independent work and center rotations they can go as needed. They are required to sign out/in. I tell them they have x amount of minutes and set the timer. They almost look at it as a game as rush to get back before or on time. I will monitor if I suspect abuse, and make a write up to address in the future during a parent conference.

    I say pick your battles. You can be creative with how you address the bathroom situation so that it doesn't cause so much confusion and headache for you!
     
  22. stargirl

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    Yes, I think it's horrible.
    I also don't understand the rationale behind having to write a letter to the principal explaining that it's an emergency. If it's an emergency, the child won't exactly have time to sit and write out a letter explaining the situation. I think that is a horrible way to deal with the bathroom situation, as well.
    My class has a couple of scheduled bathroom breaks. If a student asks to go individually, I let him/her, just tell them they are using their free time since we did have a break, so will have to sit out for a couple of minutes of recess. Sometimes, the student will think it over and say he/she can wait. Other times, they choose to go and then it probably really is an emergency. Then at recess time, I don't make a big deal out of it. Usually, the student will remind me and I will have them sit out for just a minute, two at the most. (I feel bad about taking the recess time but it has been the most effective at cutting down on "emergencies". It is rare that a student will ask me now, but they know they have that option if needed and they don't have to worry that I will refuse.) This is in fourth grade, by the way.
     
  23. glitterfish

    glitterfish Comrade

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    I don't really think this rule is horrible. I mean, running laps isn't a horrible thing, is it? It's not as if the child is being forced to do some demeaning or embarrassing task. However, there do seem to be a few problems with this, as others have mentioned. First of all, it's seems kind of random. Why would they run laps for going to the bathroom? What purpose does this serve? Second, our district has a wellness program and we encourage running. My old school had a running program during recess for the entire student body. If we want kids to incorporate more physical exercise into their lives, why we would we use this as a punishment?

    On the other hand, I do think students should be able to wait for 2 hours (typically) before going to the bathroom. If they were doing a fun activity, such as watching a movie or playing, I doubt they would find it so necessary to go. And it sounds like they have plenty of other times throughout the day to visit the restroom. I really do not think this is asking too much of students. I teach 4th grade, so I know this may not work equally as well with the youngers, but I give students 5 bathroom coupons per month. They can use the tickets whenever they please to use the restroom, but when they're all gone, that's it. They also can go during recess, lunch, before, and after school without using a ticket. I have only had 1 child who had an issue with this at first, but I altered the program for him at first and eventually he adjusted. The majority of my students use no more than 1 or 2 tickets (some don't use any) and can cash them in for a prize at the end of the month. (By the way, I do encourage a lot of water drinking in my class and students have water bottles at their desks. Still not an issue.) A colleague uses this with her 2nd and 3rd graders as well.
     
  24. tiffharmon2001

    tiffharmon2001 Comrade

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    I have mixed feelings on this . I really think that two hours is a long time to wait for some kids. I understand that you want to preserve your teaching time, though.
    Are you really instructing whole-group for two hours straight? If not, I would say that those who are not working directly with you should have the option of going as needed. I think you'll find that the less you make a big deal about it, the less it will be an issue. After the first few days, it will mostly be just the students who truly need it who go. I used to find this was true for my students who needed water bottles at their desks. I allowed everyone to have them knowing that they would cause a distraction at first. After a week or so, I noticed that fewer and fewer were bringing them and that the ones who did, really used them and didn't play with them. It's a fun game at first, but it doesn't last long. Same with the bathroom.

    But, unlike those who say they have never refused a child the bathroom, I must admit that I have. I teach PreK and my one big rule is that no one leaves the room during rest time. We all go and take a break together (everyone must go in and "try") and immediately get on mats for rest time. I feel that they should be able to make it one hour without going. And, I know that some kids will do anything not to take a nap (especially when they are tired but trying to stay awake). I can usually tell by watching a child for a minute or two if it truly is a HAVE to go or a WANT to go. I do make exceptions if they really seem to HAVE to go. Usually, I have them be the last ones to get up so that they make up their time.
     
  25. Budaka

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    Even during my college class last night our professor gave us a break after an hour and ten minutes. Two hours is a long time for anyone! I also teach an English class with a majority of students who have ADHD. I can't even begin to imagine making them do a reading or writing workshop for even an hour. And I have much older students. Why can't you do one workshop for an hour, take a five minute break, and then start the other workshop?
     
  26. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    My kids have to wait about the same length of time. It is also seriously discouraged to have students taking restroom breaks. Normally I only let kids go if it is a serious emergency. I don't punish them, I ask if they are willing to flip a card (I don't make them flip one, just ask if they are willing to). We take a break as soon as our block is over. I can relate to the OP. Not saying I agree, just saying I can see how administration can stress things like this.
     
  27. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Speaking as a parent, I would be beating down the door to the principal and superintendent's office if my child were in a class with this policy. It's wrong on so many levels.

    As a teacher, if kids ask me during workshop time to go to the bathroom, I tell them to sign out and go. I mentally keep track of who asks often, and if I feel certain kids are playing me (or trying to; I teach seventh grade, after all) I have a conversation with those kids. If I am in the middle of the mini-lesson or share time, I simply ask the child to wait five minutes or so. If they really have to go, they go when the lesson is over with. Also, the idea of using physical activity as a punishment is as abhorrent to me as using writing as punishment. If we are trying to get kids to be more active, why would we teach them that it is a bad thing?
     
  28. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I once had a Senior who "needed" a drink every day during my Precalc class. After 3 or 4 days, I warned Rob that he would need a doctor's note if it continued. He responded that he was being tested for diabetes. Knowing that thirst is one of the signs, I gave him Carte Blanche. When I checked with guidance, they didn't know anything about it, but said they would check in a week or so when the results were likely to have come in.

    A few days later, I called Rob's mom to let her know that graduation was in jeopardy. (Not merely because of the water; he had been sliding for quite some time and was likely to fail the final exam by a huge margin.) As an aside, I asked her how Rob's diabetes testing had gone. There was a pause, then "ROB'S testing???? My HUSBAND is being tested, but ROB is perfectly OK."

    Needless to say, Rob had a visit with the dean that afternoon, stopped missing class time, and even graduated with his class.

    I think that all we need to stop kids from abusing bathroom/ water privledges is to pay attention.
     
  29. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    I teach 3rd graders (8 years old) so if they feel that they can do anything to get out of reading and writing workshop if they don't like it ... then they do. I am sorry if I said running, I did mean walking. They walk 3 short laps that are around our soccer field then they can go and play. With my students, if they see 1 go, they all have to go and it soon turns into a huge mass of pepole interrupting small groups, conferring, etc to ask to use the restroom. I'm not sure about the rest of you and how lond you have to wait but I have to wait almost 3 hours to use the restroom every morning and I'm pregnant.udents are good about letting me know if it is an emergency and I let them go if it is. I have also relaxed the rule enough to let the go if they ask because now, if they ask it really is an emergency. However, I do have some who hate reading and writing and love playing in the restroom.
     
  30. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 27, 2009

    I generally let kids go when they need to. If it's an 'on the carpet, I'm teaching' time, I ask that the kids try and wait if they can (they kind of learn when is a 'good time' to go). I let them go during their independent work time...the rule about no bathroom during the 2 hour literacy block seems harsh to me and the running laps consequence is not related or relevant to the 'offense' (really, my bladder tends not to follow such arbitrary rules either!!)

    Better to keep track of the 'abusers'...who are the kids who seem to go every time there is work to do, or go with a friend, or is gone a long time- those bathroom behaviors may be worth addressing but I still wouldn't have them run laps as a consequence.

    Did your team ever consider the health issues associated with 'holding it'? Holding your urine too long can snowball into health issues including: infections, urinary reflux, and kidney problems.

    Yeah, I'd say this was a 'horrible' rule.
     
  31. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Aug 27, 2009

    I treat my kids like people. They are allowed to use the bathroom and water fountain, as long as they don't abuse it. It really bugs me when teachers ban the bathroom in their class. It just makes the kids go during their next class, usually mine. We need to treat our kids with respect, if we expect them to respect us, refusing bathroom use for 2 hours is disrespectful. If this teacher was in my department she would recieve a stern talking to by me.
     
  32. tiffharmon2001

    tiffharmon2001 Comrade

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    Aug 27, 2009

    If you feel that kids are asking for the bathroom because they "hate" the reading and writing workshops, perhaps some reevaluation of what is going on in the workshops would help.
     
  33. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    Okay, update. I really had not thought about it from the perspective stated of the other posters. I am letting my students go as they ask. So far I've only had 2 or 3 ask in the last couple of days. Thanks ya'll for helping me see the error!
     
  34. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Keep track of who is going. If someone seems to be abusing the priveledge, tell him you're going to call home. Then so so, asking mom whether there's a legit medical issue or whether he's using the bathroom to avoid doing classwork.
     

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