One of the first things that my cooperating teacher told me when I met with her about my student-teaching assignment was that there was a strict policy regarding students having to use the restrooms during class. Generally, they were only supposed to be allowed to leave class to use the restroom 3 times during the semester, and after they reached the limit, we (teachers) weren’t supposed to permit them to go.
I thought the rule was dumb. I mean, how are you going to limit the number of times that someone may use the restroom- and then say that they are in high school and that they should be treated like young adults? That doesn’t make sense to me. I always felt that having to use the restroom and being forced to hold it would be a large distraction to their learning than leaving class for a few minutes and going to use the restroom. Additionally, sometimes students just need a break to get themselves together. So, I allowed my students to go as needed. I guess that’s me getting my start to bucking the system in education.
Apparently, Winder-Barrow High School, where I did my student teaching wasn’t the only school having this problem. I read this article on MSNBC.com which talks about how some schools are docking points off of the final grade for students who exceed the restroom usage limit during the course of the semester.
What is the real issue here? Are we trying to make sure that students are getting the most of their time in schools? Seriously- we all know that trying to use the bathroom during the change of classes can be downright impossible in some schools; so why punish students for leaving class to take care of it? I know that it can be excessive, in some cases. And I also know that in some schools going to the restroom can be pretty dangerous, but is this really the way of taking care of those problems?
Y’all help me out- tell me what you think…
June 8, 2006 at 3:44 pm
I think it’s a typical knee-jerk reaction. A couple of students probably got caught doing something wrong during their bathroom time and the schools just went crazy and limited the amout of times a child can go to the bathroom.
Furthermore, as you said how can we treat them as young adults, if we don’t allow them to handle the most basic needs (using the bathroom) when their body tells them?
June 9, 2006 at 8:25 pm
good point…i’m going to have a ‘tude if someone tells my lil’one (when she gets older) that she can’t go to the bathroom….naw..that’s going to be a problem…i’ll tell her if she gotta go…go, i’ll deal w/ the teacher!!!! (of course, lil’one bet not (better not) be lying to me about going)
June 9, 2006 at 10:41 pm
i had a teacher who tried to front on me about using the restroom…talking about “why didn’t you go when we had bathroom time after lunch?” i was like, “because i didn’t have to go then.” it sounds pretty simple when kids say that, but that was the truth of the matter. i always thought that i should be able to go to the restroom when i had to go- and my parents agreed. they definitely had some words for the teacher who didn’t want to let me go to the bathroom, as they should have. training kids as to when to go to the restroom isn’t really what school is for- at least not in my opinion.