The Bathroom Debacle 

Mean Miss Haley rose up from her hiding place again this afternoon. In a class full of students who may not have role models with the most initiative, I feel as though some of my goals for the class ought to revolve around initiative and persistence. The students often tell me, “this is hard.” They want to quit because it is difficult. I tell them, “yes, it is hard but we can do hard things.” It grew to an extreme today. 

Some background: I do not allow students to use the restroom until their work is finished unless I can tell from the look on their face that they really have to go. We go as a class after math. During math, we don’t go to the bathroom because they need to be there and hear the lesson and do the work. 

So, we finish with lunch and recess (we go to the restroom before lunch) and start on our hour of math. Two hours between restroom breaks is absolutely not too long to wait. Also, you can train your body to have to go at certain times by going at the same time every day for a few weeks. I am attempting to cut down on the unnecessary lesson interruptions by training everyone to go at the same time. They are also not all going before lunch and playing in the hall instead. There are a lot of reasons I am doing what I doing and I absolute do not enjoy them complaining about having to use the restroom. 

So, today we played a place value Yahtzee game. They goofed off and did not take steps to get their work done in a timely manor. It was a fun activity yes but they were having more fun playing with dice, and their pencils, and talking about things that were not math. When they started asking to use the restroom, I said what I have been saying since day 1, “we will go when math is over.” They reply, “when is math over?” I explain, “when your work is done.” 

So half the class is loudly complaining about having to use the restroom but are still playing around. What does mean Miss Haley do? Sends the four students who were working diligently and finished their task without too much messing around to the restroom… In front of the other students… While saying, “your work is done and it looks perfect. You may go to the restroom.” 

With groans from their classmates echoing through the room, those four trooped off to the restroom. It still took the rest of the class a good 15-20 minutes to finish despite their having to use the restroom. I was not giving in. I stuck it out. The other teacher asked me if I wanted her to give the groups a second set of dice or if I was trying to drive my point home. Drive it home. All the way. Once our work is done, then we can do what we want. 

Mean Miss Haley causes the first (of what I fear may be many) bathroom debacles but I think she may have made her point.