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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bathroom Rules


The things one learns in Kindergarten and needs to be taught during the first week of school amazes me! Did you know that you have to explicitly tell students how to use a bathroom? I didn't!


There is a bathroom in the classroom. I taught them to raise their hand to ask to go to the bathroom and that only one can go at a time. Students learned this procedure and quickly raises their hands to ask. (Pats self on back.)

Child raises hand to ask to go. I give permission. Student goes to the bathroom and LEAVES THE DOOR OPEN! Oy!

Ah... class, when you go to the restroom please make sure you close the bathroom door. Make sure the light is on before you close the door. When you leave the bathroom please turn off the light and leave the door open. If the door is closed, knock and wait for an answer to be sure no one is in there. 

There fixed that right up.

Later that day -- student comes out of the bathroom half dressed. Ah... students you must put on all of your clothes and make sure they are buttoned before leaving the bathroom.

A friend of mine sent me her list of bathroom rules and procedures for Kindergarten but says she has used it in third grade as well. Things she includes: how to sit on a toilet, how to use a urinal, how to open and close bathroom stalls, how to flush a toilet, how much toilet paper to use, how to wash your hands, how to dry your hands, how many paper towels to use, throwing away your trash, no messes, belt buckles and buttons: a challenging obstacle.

REALLY?? Don't parents teach their kids these things?

Moving on... how do you manage the question of how to use the bathroom in your classroom? If a student asks do you let him go?

This past week we had an incident with one of my special needs sons. He needed to use the restroom. The teacher said not until lunch in 20 minutes. Said son couldn't wait. Teacher said no to an emergency. Son had an accident. The kids laughed. He went to the nurse to change and came home crying. He is in 4th grade.

This is part of his brain thing but they will not do his IEP until he goes through SAT first as it is a private recommendation and they need to have proof. MRIs, CTs, and neurological exams are not proof. I will digress on that one for now.

I understand the teacher needs to teach and the student needs to be in the room. I understand this is especially important for special needs kids as they need the added support. But where is the line on this issue?

My third grader is also having issues with this topic.

My husband is an EMT. I had heat stroke this week from being out in 115+ temps when I shouldn't have been. I got the lecture from hubby's friends that in this weather you should be going to the bathroom every hour or you are dehydrated and will have issues.  I know this but I was teaching that day and teachers can't go every hour. I am sorry. We can't. They argued as this is what I get for not listening. Humpf!

Back to my third grader... he believes his daddy can walk on water. (Ask him he will swear it is true. I have failed to convince him otherwise.) So he does as daddy does. Everything that daddy does even the things I wish daddy wouldn't do he does. So daddy says drink lots of water. He does and as a result has to go potty all the time. His teacher is annoyed. I would be too!!

So now I am getting emails like "your son went to the bathroom 4 times today prior to 11:30 (our lunch) and 3 times after 11:50 (when lunch ends)." This is on a daily basis. It is better it was 6 times before lunch! He cut it down by half but that is still a lot. He is academically advanced so there is not a concern he is missing something that he needs to learn. It is just that he is setting a bad example.

Hubby and the EMTs say it is healthy. His pediatrician says it is healthy. The school says its against policy. So now what? He is getting his card turned to yellow as he is out of the room too much. I don't know what to do.

Then I have my eighth grader who as 2 minutes between classes to "use the restroom" or he has a 12 passes he can utilize in a quarter to go. So he is severely dehydrated as he refuses to drink water as there is no time to go to the restroom. My hubby is ticked on that one.

So my question is... where is the bathroom line? Are the school rules fair to teachers and students? What do you do when it is over 100 degrees outside? What do I tell my children's teachers and school?

Sigh..... who knew a bathroom could cause so many questions or issues!

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At August 21, 2012 at 2:54 PM , Blogger Lori Rosenberg said...

Misty, I totally agree with you that the bathroom situation is a tough one to deal with. There's just no right or wrong way to go about it. What works with some kids, doesn't work with others. For the most part, I let my students go when they need to, but, sometimes, I'm forced to tell them to wait, if we are in the middle of a test or something. I can usually tell who really needs to go and who's just yanking my chain.

I hope you are feeling better. Heat stroke is a horrible thing!

Honestly, I think your son's teacher needs to treat him as an individual and stop turning his card to yellow. Obviously, the boy has to go!

Ń¼ Lori
Teaching With Love and Laughter

At August 21, 2012 at 3:22 PM , Blogger Suzy Q said...

I don't have students ask...they just go when they need to. I do talk about not going just because your friend is, and not missing teaching or partner work and also not going five minutes before the entire class is going! (I have a sign that says 'next break' and I set a teaching clock to the time we are all going.)

I make everyone have a water bottle in the class and encourage them to drink lots of water.

Honestly it isn't an issue but if it does seem to be getting out of hand I give a little lecture in my sternest voice. :-)

I am truly sorry your children are having such issues. Maybe a doctor's note saying frequent restroom use is a side effect of his 'treatment'...treatment for drinking lots of water does not need to be mentioned!

Good luck with this.

At August 21, 2012 at 3:40 PM , Blogger Ms. Kerri said...

I think I have the smallest bladder, so I try to be considerate of my students. I think as a teacher you have to take each kid as an individual. So sorry this is such an issue.

At August 21, 2012 at 3:49 PM , Blogger Casey Turner said...

Misty, I can so identify with you. Last year I told a colleague of mine that I would enjoy teaching more if I didn't have to deal with the bathroom. I take my kids about 6-7 times a day as a group, we are too far from the bathroom for me to let them go on their own all the time. There are too many temptations for dilly dallying along the way in the hallway. I have kids who are CONSTANTLY telling me their tummies hurt so they can spend more time in the bathroom, so I had to crack down, now I can't tell who really needs to go and who doesn't. If you come up with a solution, please let us all know! :)

Second Grade Math Maniac

At August 21, 2012 at 5:17 PM , Blogger Bee Isme said...

I teach 4th grade and I just let students go whenever. The kids each have a magnet with their names on them. When they have to go, they move their magnet to be underneath the "restroom" sign and go. The only times they have to ask is during a whole group lesson or a state test. Otherwise, if they have to go, they have to go! Occasionally I notice a student going more often than I expect and I just ask them about it and remind them about why they can't constantly be out of the room. In those cases, I usually find the kid is having some kind of medical issue- stomach issues (temporary or long term), bladder control issues, etc. For example, last year one boy kept going to the bathroom and didn't admit to anything when I asked him about it. So I talked to his mom and she said he was having issues with gas and diarrhea. Turns out, he was lactose intolerant and they didn't know. So, I can never be sure and just let them go.

Hope that helps!!
Bee Teaches

At August 21, 2012 at 7:48 PM , Blogger Holly Grass said...

My daughter peed on her self in 2nd grade because her teacher wouldn't let her go. I agree there is a fine line but sheesh I'd rather let someone leave the room than clean up pee.

At August 21, 2012 at 8:46 PM , Blogger Lisa Parnello said...

Your post made me laugh mainly because I could have easily posted the EXACT same first 4 paragraphs in my own blog. I saw 3 bare bottoms during summer school!!! All of which are my new little guys coming into my class this year. I honestly have to have sign above the toilet reminding the boys to lift the toilet seat because of the number of times us girls have accidentally sat on pee (myself included). I'm a pretty easy going teacher about the bathroom rules. As long as I'm not in the middle of direct instruction, I don't care as long as the kid comes back quickly. I have a bathroom in my class too, so I don't even make them ask permission if it's seat work time.


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