The daily musings of a substitute teacher in East Central Illinois.

Bathroom Breaks

Today I was a 2nd grade teacher at Sangamon Elementary in Mahomet. This was my second time teaching 2nd grade in Mahomet, and it went really well, despite the near-constant talking that went on throughout the day. In an odd sort of way, I was actually glad that the students had been so talkative. In discussing my experiences in Mahomet with others, I’ve had some friends and colleagues comment that the district seems to have a Stepford Wives kind of feel to it. Today was a good reminder that the students in this district are “normal kids” (if you’ll excuse the use of the term). They were fun, they were eager to participate, they were respectful, but they were also bursting with energy and had trouble controlling their enthusiasm–something that should not be a surprise to anyone when you take into account the age of these boys and girls.

So, one of the things that teachers are constantly dealing with is the need for students to use the restroom. As they get older, they are better trained to use the bathroom at limited times, but younger children are not as capable of waiting for bathroom breaks. I still remember the day in first grade when one of my classmates needed to use the restroom and our teacher refused to let him go until after the math lesson she was teaching. He ended up wetting his pants, his desk, and the floor surrounding him. Instead of finishing the lesson, she had to stop in the middle and let us all out for an unplanned recess so that the janitor could clean up the mess and the classmate could get new clothes. As a result, I am somewhat lenient on allowing students to use the bathroom, provided they do not abuse the privilege.

What is more difficult, though, is planning my own bathroom breaks. Typically, I am able to pace myself to line up with my break periods. After several years of this, I thought that I had this down to a science. But every now and then, something happens with my body’s chemistry and I find myself having to use the bathroom more frequently than normal. Today was one of those days.

Despite using the restroom during lunch, I found myself needing to use it again about 45 minutes later. I had 45 minutes remaining before my afternoon plan period, so I thought I’d be okay. 15 minutes later, I was getting worried. 15 minutes after that, I realised that there was no way I would make it. Not only was my bladder practically bursting, but I also had um… other pressure… building. This was not a good combination. Finally, with just ten minutes to go before the break, I ran next door, asked the teacher there if she could keep on eye on my class, and booked it down to the restroom.

I barely made it on time. But I did make it, thankfully! I got back to my class and, to be honest, I don’t know if the students even noticed if I was gone. Still, I was glad for the teacher next door who saved the day for me. I would have been forever scarred if I had managed to wet my pants while teaching. In the future, I will be ever diligent in planning my bathroom breaks!

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One response

  1. Numerous comments might be made, but let me just say that I am proud of myself for not making them. Perhaps you should bring along one of those collapsible portapotties I wrote about a couple of years ago here: http://marginwight.blogspot.com/2009/01/going-in-classroom.html.

    I once had a professor start sweating during his lecture, and then run without comment from the room. He never came back that I know of. We all left.

    March 3, 2011 at 9:56 pm

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