Restroom - "But I really have to go"

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by ayotte04, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Ok..here's a pet peeve of mine. Figuring out how to deal with restroom policies.

    How do I take care of it? If I tell kids "only if it's an emergency" then they all take advantage of it and all have emergencies. I think it's so disruptive to let them go.
    1) they're interrupting me and I like to limit questions like that

    2) it interrupts the class, everyone has to watch Jonny get up from his desk, walk out the door, listen to it slam....

    3) there are always the ones that use it almost every day in class...

    Thing is, I don't want to deny students if they really have to go. Sometimes in between classes you DON'T have enough time to go. And there's always the "girl trouble".

    There are teachers that allot a certain number of passes to each student per quarter/semester.

    What do you recommend?
     
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  3. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    It is a tough call. I am a little more lenient than most in my school because I am close to the bathroom in a quieter area of the school. I am required to keep track and limit bathroom use so I do have to to an extent. (Every once in awhile they will mention at faculty meetings that there is too much traffic during class to and from the bathrooms and I think I am one of the culprits they talk about...)

    When a student says it is an emergency, I usually ask a question to pry a little more ("Emergency as in you'll need to run to make it on time?") When I use a little humor like that they usually laugh and say they can wait. My girls will tell me very graphically WHY it is an emergency. I am surprised at how unshy they are about girl issues. The ones that are shy about it usually tell a friend who speaks up and whispers it to me.

    As far as interuptions, you could do a hand signal for the restroom and just nod to the student if it is okay. This saves all the verbal talk that disrupts students who are working or an ongoing lesson.

    just my :2cents:
     
  4. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    This is a tough one.

    I believe that there is no way to justify to a parent a refusal to allow their child to go to the bathroom. I believe I can ask a child to wait their turn, or for a few minutes, but I don't believe I have the right to deny a child a chance to go to the bathroom. (that being said, if it becomes an issue with a child, a discreet question about whether they are ill? should I call their mom? usually takes care of it)

    I used to spend a lot of time thinking about this, coming up with passes and whatnot, and I finally said - Self, this is crazy. Just let them go. What's the worst that can happen? If its nuts, you can always whip some system back out.

    So, I talk to the students at the beginning of the year. I explain that I know they are people, and that people have basic needs - water, bathroom, etc. I tell them I will be happy to let them meet their needs on their own time - which means when they are working independently. Not when I am lecturing, showing a short video, or anything else that is whole class.

    There are two codicils to this:

    1) When I ask if there are any questions, they are never, never to ask if they can go to the bathroom. It's disrespectful.

    2) They cannot ask to go to the bathroom "before class starts" because class starts the second they walk in the door.

    Other than that, if they are working independently, they can go one at a time to the restroom or get water.

    Believe it or not, it isn't a problem. Since they aren't asking in front of the class, and while folks are working on their own, it doesn't disrupt, nor does it start a line.

    It works for me! and no additional work for me!
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I plan to do things the way ancientcivteach does.

    I don't think we can legally deny a student the right to use the restroom except for safety reasons, so I won't even mess with it.

    If I notice that a student seems to be abusing the privilege, I will notify parents and the counselor. I'd only ever remove bathroom privileges after plenty of notice to parents and documentation.
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I do things this way as well, with the addition of a sign-out sheet. All students in the school must do the "sign-out" thing--we have had some vandalism in the washrooms and need to keep track of who's in and out. Again--one at a time and if they are abusing the privilege I talk to them about it.
     
  7. nsatterfield

    nsatterfield Rookie

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    I tell my students that if they must go to the restroom, then they must serve lunch detention. This is enough to deter most students from even asking. A few will ask when emergencies come up. I tell them that if it is important enough to go on my time, it is important enough to serve detention. If they are willing to serve, they generally REALLY need to go. After they go, if it was the first time, I will not tell them after class they do not have detention. However, if they have emergencies every couple of days, a detention or two usually stops them from asking.
     
  8. hp123

    hp123 Comrade

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    That seems a bit harsh to me! As a parent, I would not want my child told they could not go to the bathroom!
     
  9. trulyblssd

    trulyblssd Companion

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    This is a hard one for me, b/c I have IBS and I know that there are times I just have to go. I don't want to embarrass my students and I don't want them to suffer, but I always end up getting burned. Wish I could offer some advice! :(
     
  10. kyblue07

    kyblue07 Companion

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    I think some students don't go to the restroom between classes because they feel very self-conscious when everyone else is in there. I've had students tell me they didn't go between classes because there were too many people in the restroom and they thought they were going to be tardy. I'd hate to give a student detention when they were just trying to avoid being tardy. Sometimes girls NEED to go for obvious reasons and that doesn't always happen conveniently during class changes.
    Maybe I'm just a big softie. There was another thread about bathroom/hall passes and someone said they used bonus points if students hadn't used their restroom passes each term. While I don't like giving bonus pts for something unrelated to content, I am considering giving a small reward (erasers, pencils, etc) if students have fewer than 3 check-outs during one quarter. That way it encourages without penalizing.
     
  11. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    I'm in the if you've gotta go you gotta go school of thought here. I let kids go if they ask politely during independent work. The girls' bathroom on my level is SMALL and it is hard to get in and out of there and back to class in three minutes (I know....I have to use that bathroom too!). I pay attention to who asks, and if an individual student has a problem, I deal with it on an individual level.
     
  12. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Yeah i think I am going to use a sign, like "R" in sign language. My master teacher did that last year and I think it helped. As long as I don't have to SIGN a pass, then it's not an interruption. I'll have to check the hallpass policy at my school
     
  13. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Oh yes, I try to be very conscious of kids that have certain issues/medical needs. And in the parent letter I ask that parents inform me of any medical concerns I should be aware of.

    Like I said, I can understand not being able to switch classes and go within the amount of time. And I wouldn't want to deny someone that's in pain (as you other parents have mentioned). But I don't want to get the reputation that kids can come in my class and I'm the teacher that'll pretty much let you go on a regular basis (at least once a week).
     
  14. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Like Mrs. C, I also use a sign out sheet, and it's very effective! It's easy to identify a pattern or find a kid who is abusing the system that way. We had to start using sign outs when we found a kid selling drugs in the bathroom during classes. Oy.
     
  15. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    holy cow. selling drugs in the restroom? OMG...
     
  16. Terrence

    Terrence Comrade

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    I don't let my kids use the restroom during class, PERIOD. If the girls have an emergency, then they go to the nurse, and the nurse writes a pass back to class, so I know they actually made it to the nurse. Now, if they are really shaking in their seat and can't stay still and it looks painful, then yeah, I'll let them go. Luckily, my principal backs up the no bathroom rule. In fact, she's the one who actually suggested it to us. They have plenty of opportunities to use the bathroom during school.
     
  17. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    you dont have problems with parents at all?

    i mean i wouldnt expect any but...just asking
     
  18. historygrrl

    historygrrl Rookie

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    I usually let kids go to the bathroom as long as we aren't in the middle of something. When you can tell they are just trying to get out of class, I tell them they can go once they have finished X amount of work and that if they are not back in X minutes, I will write them up for being AWOL. And they know I will. That usually weeds out those who really have to go and those who want to goof off in the halls/bathroom. It's hard to go in the three minutes between classes, especially if they are coming from a classroom that on the other side of the building.
     
  19. Terrence

    Terrence Comrade

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    Nope, I haven't had any problems with parents at all as far as going to the bathroom. I would send them to talk to the principal who doesn't take any crap from parents. She will deal with them lol.
     
  20. bryanmj

    bryanmj Rookie

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    I don't think it is ever OK to use a punishment for going to the bathroom. This is a basic human need. It's the bathroom. Keep tabs on your students and if it becomes a problem deal with it on an individual basis. This really this isn't THAT big of a deal.
     
  21. Googs

    Googs Rookie

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    I am up front with them in the beginning of the year and I tell them that we will not have a problem as long as they don't abuse it. In 10 years of teaching, I have had only one or two students not go when I asked if it was an emergency. I think that "Is it an emergency?" is one of those "teacherisms" that is passed down from generation to generation of teachers with no real purpose to the question. If it was really an emergency than they probably would have just run out of the room! Anyway, if a kid gets on my nerves with the hall pass, I tell them that they will soon be getting a "Potty Pass" (remember, their 8th graders). I use a neon colored index card and I write so and so's POTTY PASS nice and big on it. They give it to me when they want to go and I return it at the end of the week. It's worked for me.
     
  22. crayonfan

    crayonfan Companion

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    speaking as a parent and a teacher here...this past year my daughter was in a situation where she was having a girl emergency and there were no sign outs of any kind because of vandalism in the bathrooms. When the teacher told her no she just got up and walked out. When she returned to the class the teacher sent her to the principal. They wanted to give her detention for leaving class w/put permission. I immediately went to the school and talked with the principal. I find this unexcusable, if there is an emergency then the student should be allowed to go without punishment.
     
  23. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm one of those teachers who will never tell a kid NO when he or she asks. I may ask him to wait a few moments, and always ask him to sign out (love that paper trail!!), but I'll never say no.

    For starters, I think it's demeaning. But, maybe more important, it's asking for trouble. A kid who really needs to go to the bathroom will be forced to challenge my authority and will feel like a fool in the bargain... why set myself up for that kind of a confrontation??

    I start with the sign out sheet. Unlike someone else here, I would prefer that you stop by my room, ask permission, and go before class, even if it means you miss the first minute or two. (As opposed to missing 4 or 5 later in the class.)

    If I sense that a student is abusing the priveledge, I can take it to guidance, to the parents, to the dean. Something else I have done: when particular kids have abused the priviledge, I still let them go... but they have to make up the time after school. So they tend to cut down on the bathroom usage just to protect their own free time.
     
  24. letsteach

    letsteach Comrade

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    I teach 5 year olds and our toilets are so close they're almost an ensuite! Last year I allowed the students to go whenever they wanted to (but not during group focus time, they had to wait). The place is secure so there was nowhere for them to go. This year, all the children ask me if they can go to the toilet and it sometimes drives me 'potty'! if you pardon the pun.

    I have one little boy, whose father sent me a letter. His father (who is a doctor wrote to say that his son had a bladder problem and needed to go frequently. It was family thing and he would grow out of it). I always let him go but he seemed to be going far too often so we kept track over a week of how many times he went to the toilet. 27 times a day!!! What's more, he actually did something when he visited! I asked the Deputy what she considered a lot and she told me 3 or 4 times during class time. I have to say he is getting better and I'm not sure whether he made that many trips because he knew we were counting!
     
  25. Sherrod

    Sherrod New Member

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    Set your rules up front!

    At the beginning of the school year my middle school students know the rules:

    1)Our students are given 5-6 minutes for class change, I tell them this is plenty of time for bathroom breaks b/c I have seen many students handle that in my years of teaching. If they ask me while I am in the hall during class change, then I allow them to go and enter class late (1-2 minutes) b/c the rest of class is journaling and they will have to speed up their entry to keep up.

    2)I allow 6 bathroom breaks per 9 weeks, easy to keep track of on attendance sheet, "B" for bathroom. (most students do not use them all, if any).

    3) No bathroom breaks during instruction time, only during independent work. (if they ask and I say "wait till I am through w/ the lesson", they usually forget, if they REALLY need to go, they WILL remind you....this is how I weed out those that just want to get out of class or go hook-up w/ a friend at a set time in the bathroom or hall.

    4) Finally, go with your gut, experience will help you know if it is truly an emergency, and as you get to know your students, you'll find out who is "bluffing" and who really needs to go. In all doubt, let them go, but when it becomes a habitual request, privately tell the student that it may be a good idea for you to contact the parents to discuss a potential health issue, if it is fake, that will stop it.
     
  26. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    well said.. i may be utilizing this strategy
     

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