Picking Battles in HS

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Kaley12, Jun 11, 2014.

  1. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Jun 14, 2014

    The examples you cite from others really isn't fair to the student I explained. Why should a student have to loose participation points or suffer detention because the schedule made up by the school puts the child in a precarious position.

    I understand that you have decided to not stretch the rules of your school's bathroom policy (not sure if you follow all of the schools rules and policies with such vigor), but the point that the exceptions cited are fair for this student wouldn't seem accurate to the student or the parent of the student. She didn't have a medical issue. She had a school created time constraint. Granted, in your school she would probably have to see administration and have them walk her schedule to prove her point. In our school the administration would probably support the teacher if the student had 1 minute to spare. 1 minute is not sufficient to use the restroom for girls at all times, especially if you get there and the stalls are filled.

    No rule lends itself to all situations. Sometime exceptions just have to be made.
     
  2. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Jun 14, 2014

    Pick your battles wisely is my mantra.

    Never fight a battle with a child you can't win. ESPECIALLY if you can't enforce a punishment.
    And, ESPECIALLY if Admin won't back you up.
     
  3. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Jun 14, 2014

    Several years ago, I had a student who had behavioral problems (I teach sped mild.) Everyday he would come in and talk about having to pee, etc. and whine about it. (He was 15.)I couldn't let him go to the restroom alone without standing outside the room. It was getting annoying. Anyway, I asked my admin for a suggestion and was told that I needed to let all students go even though it took at least 10 minutes out of my class time. (His whining was taking that long anyway.) The other students didn't have to go so we would all stand in the hallway (about 8 kids) while this student used the bathroom. We did that for about a week and then I began to wean off about. Incidentally when I would ask for help with this student I was told to deal with it. When his behaviors began to show in all his other classes as well as the hallways, something was done and he was sent to a behavioral class.
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jun 14, 2014

    Our students get 10 passes a quarter. This amounts to 40 a year. If there is some problem that is causing the student to consistently use up their bathroom passes, then they need to get their parents to write them a note, or they need to seriously think about the usage of their break time. We get both lunch and brunch. Lunch for us is fairly close to the end of the day as well, so I understand that our circumstances may simply be different. Our school is not very large spatially either, and we have a lot of bathrooms, so it's fairly simple for student to make use of the rest room during passing periods.

    Rather than exceptions being made to the rules, it is more effective to plan for these contingencies (i.e. award more bathroom passes, work with the admin to increase passing period or change her classes so that she doesn't have to walk as far, etc.) so you can keep exceptions to a minimum. Though exceptions will in all likelihood still be required in special cases.
     
  5. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Jun 14, 2014

    Also, what do you do if you tell a child "no" but that they can call the office and the office does not back up your "no" decision?

    Do you let every child call the office when you need back up in enforcing school wide rules?
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jun 14, 2014

    Why would I say "no" and then tell them to call the office? If I say, no, that means no.

    What I tell them is that our school policy dictates that in order to use the restroom you need to have a bathroom pass. If you don't have one, and you feel that it is an emergency, you need to contact the office and have them give you permission to go. I cannot.

    This gets me around the circumstance if it really is an emergency, but still allows me to hold them to the bathroom policy. As a2z said, there needs to be some wiggle room for exceptions. But you have to keep the wiggle room tight, in my philosophy.

    The student calls the office, explains the situation, the student gives me the phone, the office gives me the go ahead, and they go.

    Most students want to avoid calling the office at all costs and avoid the back and forth. If they don't really need to go, they will refuse to call. If they really need to go, they will make the call.

    If it happens too frequently that they want to call the office (hasn't happened yet) then I will conference with their parent and explain the situation. We will come to a solution then.
     
  7. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jun 14, 2014

    The bathroom thing is just not a hill I'm willing to die on. Our kids get three minutes during passing periods. The bathroom is all the way across the building, so most can't go in between periods. I will either say yes or ask if they can wait five minutes. If they say no, I let them go. We had a student nearly walk out on a teacher who wouldn't let him go when he desperately had to go. I don't want to be in that situation.

    Our admin is amazing, but it's just our P, so he's very busy! The bathroom is never something I'd bother him about unless it's a specific student who's not allowed out without notifying our him.

    Peregrin, does your school have trouble with bathrooms? I've known some schools where bathrooms are locked except at certain times due to gang-related issues. Thankfully we don't have any go that where I am now.

    Our kids' passes are limited I suppose but they get 60+ per quarter. I've never seen anyone run out.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2014
  8. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jun 14, 2014

    I realize yesterday was Friday the 13th/Full Moon/Solar Flare day, but all this snipping is quite unnecessary. Different schools have different policies. The individual teachers cannot control those policies. If you think a policy is stupid, that's fine, but it's not okay to bash the teacher who enforces those policies. Nor is any other type of direct attack against other forum members acceptable.

    I have now moderated over 30 posts in less than 24 hours. Those are just the posts I have moderated. There are other mods. This is far past any semblance of acceptable. There has already been at least one member put on a temporary gag. Please don't make me do it again. It's not fun.
     
  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jun 14, 2014

    We have three office staff, plus two office aides each period, in addition to our principal and VP, so it's not a real drain to do it. In addition, I probably only have a student decide to call perhaps twice a quarter in total from all of my classes.

    We don't have too much trouble with bathrooms, but the potential is always there, and the kids in our age group would take the chance to waste instructional time by hanging out in the bathroom or do worse. I've pulled all of the bathroom passes from a student who was wasting time in the bathroom, staying in there for more than 20 minutes to get out of instruction.

    I don't want to get in the situation where a student just walks out as well, which is why I offer them the option to contact the office. It works for our school and our kids. If it gets to be a problem, we'd change it.

    But we do want the coherency of the school as a whole and the feeling that all of the teachers take the rules seriously, so I feel it's important to do my part in upholding the school policy. In addition, it's good for the student and the rest of the class, as more time is spent on instruction, and we have very few bathroom related distractions.
     
  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jun 14, 2014

    That's very interesting. We don't have many problems with our policy, which is probably why it's so lax. We are a very tiny school. I've only had one student gone for a long time, and it turned out he was sick. I did notify our secretary who had our P go and find him.

    We did have some graffiti trouble towards the end of the year. Those individual students' passes were limited.

    I find it so interesting that there are so many different policies on something that seems so simple. We have a teacher who would like us to not deal with passes at all and just have the kids go when they need to in order to give them more responsibility. I'm not a big fan of that plan.
     
  11. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Jun 15, 2014

    I see.

    I don't think I teach a population of kids were having them call the office would be a good idea. Ever. And I know, my Admin would see this as me not being able handle my business. I've never taught in a school where this would be ok.

    Glad it works for you.
     
  12. 12Souza

    12Souza Rookie

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    Jun 17, 2014

    This has always been kind of a stupid thing to fret over. The only reason 1 teacher follow it is because it is status quo with no real purpose. They have to use the restroom, a fundamental function of our bodies that can cause harm to their bodies if not tended to.

    Let them go, one at a time with permission and a sign out sheet, but do not stop instruction for them. If they are falling behind in your class then you can call the parents and you have the signout sheet as a record.

    I shall add: its our job to facilitate a positive learning environment, so unless it affects that learning environment, I repeat: let them go
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
  13. GeetGeet

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    Jun 19, 2014

    I relate to this. I figure that as long as the student is doing their work, acting respectfully to me, and is generally behaving responsibly, I will let them go to the bathroom even if it is every day (as long as they aren't gone for more than a few minutes). When I was a student, I just couldn't sit still for a whole class sometimes. I did all the work and really cared about what I was learning. I just needed to move. I appreciated it when a teacher saw that I was not trying to pull something--I just couldn't sit still that long. So I look at this issue from that perspective. If a kid is gone for more than 5 minutes, they get a look and a comment from me. If it happens often I will not let them go anymore.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 19, 2014


    It's not a stupid thing to fret over when your admin comes down on you for allowing too many students to leave class and when those students are not leaving for legitimate reasons but to behave inappropriately without supervision.

    At my school the school-wide bathroom policy is more than just the status quo. It has a very real purpose, mainly student safety.
     
  15. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jun 20, 2014

    Agreed, Caesar. There was a period when our bathrooms/hallways were shut down because of vandalism and fire alarms being set off. Students got their act together and it stopped. Then we were able to resume our normal bathroom policies.
     

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