I’m going to tell you the next disease that’s quickly catching at school. No, it’s not the flu or chicken pox. It catches even faster, however it’s not life threatening or show clear warning signs. It creeps up always at the least convenient time, such as math or during a test. As soon as one student catches this ‘disease’ it’s like dominoes and the entire class is infected. What disease am I talking about?
The ‘disease’ I’m talking about is students wanting to use the bathroom. Oh, this doesn’t seem at all like a problem or ‘disease’ but once it starts it’s difficult to stop. Teachers have different rules about when to use the bathroom, since it’s not my own classroom I need to follow the rules as best as I can. Some teachers have passes letting only one boy and girl at all time whereas others have all class bathroom breaks. And then there’s always those ’emergency’ situations. Normally, this is very easy to recognize especially with little children if they start doing the ‘dance’. Okay, you can quickly use the bathroom. However, there are consequences because suddenly the disease is ‘caught’ and other students suddenly think they also need to use the bathroom. Many times I just respond: ‘No you don’t now go finish your work’. However, I don’t want to be blamed later if there was an accident. So what is my solution?
Solution: I silently cringe, sigh, and bite my lip that I’m about to suffer from the dreaded class bathroom break. I absolutely hate taking the whole class for a bathroom break, but sometimes it’s better than them not focused or constantly complaining. Oh, just the thought of a bathroom break makes me shiver. Why? Well, for starters it often seems like it’s a brand new class that suddenly doesn’t know how to listen and behave in the hallway. They are never quiet in the bathroom as the students ‘patiently’ wait. (I don’t think children know how to be patient.)
I’ve played some games with students waiting. For little children I play a version of ‘Simon Says’ and my voice is soft that forces them to be quiet and listen. Older kids sometimes bring books with them while they wait. I’ve been in classrooms that have a hall monitor student who makes checks when students talk in the hallway.
So, be on the look out for danger signs of when the class may catch the disease when you least expect it.