Teacher's policy about using the bathrroom during class (UPDATE) - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-31-2008, 03:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, I have a question about using the bathroom during class time. What is the policy of your child's teacher/school in regards to this. I ask because my little sister (who is 9 yrs. old) made a comment this morning that made me kind of sad. I help out my mom a few days a week by driving my sis to school in the morning. This morning while my sis, myself, and 4 yr old dd were having breakfast my sis says, dd is "so lucky because she can use the bathroom whenever she wants, I can't use the bathroom at school." I ask her why not and she said, "well, actually we can but we have to stay after school for 10 minutes, and I don't want to stay." She also told me that after she pees, she feels like she still has to go, but can't. She also said her stomach starts hurting. I think that she might be giving herself a bladder infection by holding it in because she doesn't want to stay after school.
Now, I understand that teachers need to have policies like this so kids won't say they have to go to bathroom and just go in there to mess around but I also think that using the bathroom is a basic right. I feel that policies like this violate children's personal dignity and might lead to health problems or accidents especially for children that might be shy about letting a teacher know that they need to use the bathroom. What do you all think? I don't know why but this is really bugging me today. I let my mom know about it and she got annoyed with my sister and told her that if she needs to use the bathroom to just suck it up and "stay the 10 minutes" , so she wouldn't get a bladder infection. This made me feel even worse because I didn't mean to get my sis in trouble, I was just concerned for her health.
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Old 10-31-2008, 03:24 AM
 
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I have a small bladder and am prone to UTI's and my Mom had to fight SO many teachers. Not letting children go to the bathroom is absurd!
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Old 10-31-2008, 03:39 AM
 
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I tell my dd that same thing my dad told me "If you need to use the bathroom and the teacher wont let you go, walk out of the room and go anyway and when they call me I will go talk to them. But you better really have had to go". There is NO excuse for not allowing a child to use the bathroom.

My dad shared a story with us as kids that still makes me smile. When he was in grade school he asked to go to the bathroom, back then was outdoor toilets around here, and the teacher said no, he asked again she still said no. So my dad being my dad got up walked to the back of the room and peed in the corner : The teacher of course told his dad what had happened he laughed in her face and said I hope you learned a lesson.

After that my dad never had to ask to use the bathroom again she would ask him at least once during class if he needed to go

I better not ever find out my child was denied bathroom access. I will be on them like stink on S**t.

Punishment for using the bathroom will not be tolerated by me either.

 
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Old 10-31-2008, 03:48 AM
 
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I'd have your mom double check with the teacher. I highly doubt they're not allowed to pee for 6-7 hours.

Some kids don't want to ask their teachers if they can use the bathroom either because it's embarrasing for them to ask in front of the class, the teacher has said they need to use the bathroom during recess so they think they can't ask during class or are too busy playing to go during recess, or some other reason.

Most schools have a policy where you need to use the bathroom during recesses/breaks & alot of them will break that policy if the child really has to go(or has a dr's note).

If the teacher is one who will never ever let a child use the bathroom during class time & there are no recesses/breaks then get a dr's note.
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Old 10-31-2008, 03:58 AM
 
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This is one of the first things I asked. I was born with kidney bladder defects on top of that I'm diabetic so if I need a bathroom I NEED one and I clearly remember getting UTI so bad I ended up hospolized on quite a few occasions from eaither being flat out told no or havign to jump through such stupid hoops being aloud to go.
FOr DD school she is in Kindergarden the policy this year. Kids are "taken" before school (about 7:50am) comming back from lunch (11:30) and after recess and or snacks (1:30pm) Kids also just need to ask and are allowed during class. THere is no punishment for asking or needing to go multiple times. IF it turns out its so the child can play then thats delt with but that doesn't affect the bathroom policy.
Older grades don't really do the ties when the whole class gets asked who needs to go but are allowed when asked. A studen may be asked to wait a bit (say when the liabary book is over ect but one can't just be denied.) so far the policy seems to be followed.

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Old 10-31-2008, 04:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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highly doubt they're not allowed to pee for 6-7 hours.
Well, she didn't say that they aren't allowed to use the bathroom at all, just not during class time.

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I tell my dd that same thing my dad told me "If you need to use the bathroom and the teacher wont let you go, walk out of the room and go anyway and when they call me I will go talk to them. But you better really have had to go". There is NO excuse for not allowing a child to use the bathroom.
If she was my dd, I would tell her to do the same, but I doubt my mom would. My mom is not the type of person who likes confrontation, and her english is not that great. I don't think she would feel comfortable talking to the teacher.
BTW, that's a very funny story about your dad
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Old 10-31-2008, 04:10 AM
 
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This policy just isn't acceptable. Your mom needs to talk with the teacher and then take it up with the principal if necessary. Staying 10 minutes after school is a punishment, and it is abusive to punish kids for doing something that they need to do. This is the sort of thing that makes the news! Could you offer to go in with your mother? Is there any chance you would take this on yourself? Even an email from you to the principal just expressing concern could help. (I recognize that this isn't the best way to handle it, but I really think that this needs to be addressed!)
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Old 10-31-2008, 12:13 PM
 
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My dd is in 3rd grade, and they are always allowed to use the bathroom. This year is the first year she didn't have a bathroom in her classroom. When I went over to help out on picture day, as long as the kids had a pass, they were allowed to go.
I would also talk to your mom and have her talk to the teacher/principal. I have never been to a school where the bathroom policy was so rigid as to when you could go, especially in elementary school.
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Old 10-31-2008, 01:39 PM
 
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I have never been to a school where the bathroom policy was so rigid as to when you could go, especially in elementary school.
Hopefully it has changed but the rules were stupid ridged when I was in school. We were taken once after recess and if you were quick on days we did PE. We had a set number of allowed bathroom passes each semester to use other than that. I once had to serve a week of lunch detention because I had to use the bathroom during our lunch break. (in 2nd grade)

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Old 10-31-2008, 01:40 PM
 
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DS has bathroom issues, so we've had a lot of conversations with the teachers about this particular issue. The basic school policy is that students are expected to be responsible for their needs and respectful of the classtime and use the restrooms during recess and breaks, but that leaving the classroom for the restroom during class is permitted when necessary. (The school operates of 12 core values, responsibility and respect being high on the list -- hence the language.) They have enough breaks that I think most children, if they actually use recess to go to the restroom, don't have to leave the classroom. In K and 1 kids are allowed to leave to go to the restroom with no questions asked -- but they have to tell the teacher they are leaving. In 2 and 3 the teachers will start asking if its an emergency and will urge kids to wait 5 minutes until recess or whatever. By upper school (4-6) they lose team points if they have to leave the classroom for the restroom, so there is some peer pressure to hold it. But since there are breaks every couple of hours, this hardly seems unreasonable. Because of some bathroom related issues, we've definitely coached DS to use the restroom at every break. It seems like perhaps your sister should be encouraged to do the same thing. Its not that they can't pee for 6 hours, its that they don't choose to do so during breaks and they aren't proactive about needing the use the restroom. That's a habit that can and should be taught/encouraged. Of course, beyond that, kids should always be allowed to use the restroom when needed.
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:17 PM
 
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At my kids' school, they just need to let the teacher know they are going so he/she knows where they are. There's a bathroom in my K daughter's class and one just down the hall from my 3rd grader's room.

Definately clarify the policy. It is, imho, abuse to withhold access to a bathroom. That's a form of torture, for goodness sake!

Mom to DD1 (11/1999),  DD2 (07/2003), and DS (11/2012), all born at home and cloth diapered. 

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Old 11-01-2008, 02:10 AM
 
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We have a bathroom in our classroom. If students need to go, they walk in the bathroom.

If I did not have a bathroom in the class, I would have something hanging by the door. If they need to use the restroom, they take that object with them so I know someone has left the room.

By the way, I loved the story about peeing in the corner.

Matt
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Old 11-01-2008, 04:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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UPDATE: Well, I talked to my sister again today and she told me that the teacher who would not let her go to the bathroom during class is not her normal teacher. Apparently, her class had a sub for a few days and that was her way of keeping kids from asking to go to the bathroom. Her regular teacher lets them go to the bathroom whenever they need to.This makes me feel better. I was getting ready to go down and talk to the teacher. I'm kind of annoyed that a sub would do that though.
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Old 11-01-2008, 02:50 PM
 
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I wouldn't be annoyed that a sub would do that. A sub doesn't have the time that a regular teacher has to get control of a class. even in the early grades kids know they can push the liimts with a sub. If the sub had to implement that then there were alot of kids asking to use the bathroom to get out of doing work.
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Old 11-01-2008, 10:55 PM
 
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Did your sister go on breaks? Though from stories I've heard here a grammar school day is more tightly scheduled than my military basic training.

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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Old 11-02-2008, 12:02 AM
 
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My daughter is 14, but this was one of the many reasons I took her out of school to homeschool. She would have to tell the entire class why she needed to go before many of her teachers would let her. There were a couple of incidents when she started her period that she was humiliated in front of the whole class for not planning ahead for.
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Old 11-02-2008, 12:24 AM
 
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When I was a teacher, I did the time after school in exchange for a pass. This never applied to those with doctor's notes (recent abortion, UTI, etc.) or health histories, but it did apply across the board with everyone else. First of all, our school was tiny, with no more than a 1 minute walk from one end of the building to the other. Our kids could carry backpacks, and most of them did so they didn't use lockers for anything other than coats, so they didn't need time between bells for that. We also had both a lunch period with unrestricted bathroom access and a homeroom with the same spread out over the day. Since kids mostly congregated in the halls between classes to talk (usually right outside my door), I didn't see the problem with making them stay in class during the period. I never had a problem with parents or kids or any accidents. Frankly, the only walkout I ever had was a kid who was dealing drugs from the restroom, and his mother called to complain about my policy a few minutes after I'd called the office to let the officer know he'd just walked out. They were hauling him in with a bag of pot as she was screaming into the phone about his bladder problem. I also had a kid walk out, but he left saying he had to pee and ended up going directly across the hall to the pizza party and asking for a slice, so I figured it wasn't the emergency he made it out to be. I'm not saying this is all kids, but my experience and my school just worked with the policy.

As for the sub thing, that might be a building policy. My school had the policy of no passes for subs and kids had to have their ID cards on them for security reasons. Anyone causing problems with subs was immediately referred to the office, no questions asked. It sounds harsh, but some of our kids pulled some crap with subs that they never would have tried with teachers. When I went on a short leave during my last pregnancy, I routinely had other teachers come in and take roll at the beginning and end of class.
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Old 11-02-2008, 12:42 AM
 
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I subbed at a couple of schools where I wasn't allowed to give bathroom passes, but not elementary schools. It's different in middle schools and high schools when there is time between bells. In elementary schools I was sometimes not allowed to give passes at certain times but not all day.
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Old 11-02-2008, 01:01 AM
 
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I realize that this is not the place to exchange ideas on teaching methods. Sorry if I offended anyone.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:32 PM
 
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Ever think that if you have to stop students from going to the bathroom constantly, there's a problem with the teaching?

Think about it...sitting on a toilet is more interesting than what you're providing the child. Bottom line: Become more interesting to the student than the toilet.

Just annoys me to see that children are rewarded for not taking care of their bodily needs, or punished for having a normal body. Isn't an environment where our children spend all day supposed to be about meeting his or her needs? If you run a classroom where children cannot meet their needs, it is time to seriously consider what needs changing.
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:25 PM
 
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I have to say this whole discussion makes me more worried about my little guy who started k this year. Now, in his class they take them regularly, and I've assumed he can go if he needs to, but the thought of a child of ANY age being "rewarded" or punished for taking care of a bodily function sickens me. At the office I'm allowed to go to the bathroom whenever I have the need, how is the school method preparing the children for their future in this manner? (And there have been days at work when I've not felt well that I'm certain I would have maxxed out my "passes" or sticks or whatever for a few weeks in that one day!) This is just insane to me and makes me really sad for the kids out there.

K.
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:54 PM
 
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At the office I'm allowed to go to the bathroom whenever I have the need, how is the school method preparing the children for their future in this manner?
Well, I think there does have to be a balance and this analogy really doesn't hold. First, you don't need supervision when you are away from your desk -- you aren't likely to wander away from school, find something interesting to investigate and get into things you shouldn't, and you probably don't use the bathroom as a break from math (as an example) or as an interesting place to play. All of which some kids will do. Yes, children should be able to go to the bathroom when necessary, but they also need to be kept safe and that means the teacher needs to know where they are. And if their bathroom needs seem excessive there needs to be some way to make it more interesting/worth their while to be in class rather than playing in the restroom. Some teachers/schools are better at figuring out how to do that than others.

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And there have been days at work when I've not felt well that I'm certain I would have maxxed out my "passes" or sticks or whatever for a few weeks in that one day!
Well, I hope that if your child is having, um, bathroom issues, you don't send him to school. We push ourselves to go to work on days when we shouldn't, but a child who is having digestive issues really should be kept at home for everyone's sake.
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Old 11-04-2008, 05:09 PM
 
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at dds school they have 3 scheduled bathroom breaks and then if they have to go more often they just have to raise there hands and are allowed to go.

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Old 11-04-2008, 05:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MattBronsil View Post
Bottom line: Become more interesting to the student than the toilet.
OK, I know this is a serious issue but this had me

Thanks for putting it in such clear terms.

IBCLC, LLLL, Mom to 3, obsessive baker, where's my coffee
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Old 11-04-2008, 07:34 PM
 
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Well, I think there does have to be a balance and this analogy really doesn't hold. First, you don't need supervision when you are away from your desk -- you aren't likely to wander away from school, find something interesting to investigate and get into things you shouldn't, and you probably don't use the bathroom as a break from math (as an example) or as an interesting place to play. All of which some kids will do. Yes, children should be able to go to the bathroom when necessary, but they also need to be kept safe and that means the teacher needs to know where they are.
Knowing where a child is and denying the child the right to be there are two different things. Knowing where the child is and rewarding a child for not being there when he or she should be are two different things. Knowing where a child is and punishing a child for being where the child needs to be are two different things.

Despite popular opinion, it is possible to allow a child to take care of him or herself and know where the child intends to go.

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And if their bathroom needs seem excessive there needs to be some way to make it more interesting/worth their while to be in class rather than playing in the restroom. Some teachers/schools are better at figuring out how to do that than others.
People really need to push to get the educational laws changed in America so that teachers have the freedom and responsibility again.

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Well, I hope that if your child is having, um, bathroom issues, you don't send him to school. We push ourselves to go to work on days when we shouldn't, but a child who is having digestive issues really should be kept at home for everyone's sake.
Since when do medical problems only show up at home?
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Old 11-04-2008, 07:36 PM
 
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OK, I know this is a serious issue but this had me

Thanks for putting it in such clear terms.
That's why I do stand up comedy
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Old 11-04-2008, 09:18 PM
 
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My son is allowed to go whenever he needs to go, and his teacher taught the kids the ASL sign for bathroom/potty, and whenever they need to go, they just raise their hands high w/ the sign, and she nods, and they go. I thought this was an awesome idea, because then they weren't disrupting the class.
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:39 PM
 
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Here's my bathroom policy (I teach 2nd grade) - students are given 2 bathroom sticks (popscicle sticks with their numbers on them) on Mondays. If they have both bathroom sticks on Friday, they get two raffle tickets. If they have one, they get one raffle ticket. If they have none, no raffle tickets. We have a raffle drawing at our school once a week for little things like pencils. The kids LOVE raffle tickets!
Okay I really don't get this and I'd have a huge issue wit hit if it was my DD school. I tend to be the parent that believes my rules at home teachers in school and I'll back the teacher up on most anything. SO like my DD gets if shes does "sloopy work" she might have to re do it at recess or if shes talks during snack time her card could get turned and no sticker that day.. ect. I also think teaching some bathroom "restraint" especailly as they get older makes sense and I can even accept the two bathroom passes a week thing but I don't get the ticket thing isn't that basically punishing those with smaller bladders? I just don't get why those that don't go potty are given prizes?? Again I totally see setting limits and such but the prize??

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But, definitley write a note to the teacher, because I would certainly give special priviliges to someone who had bladder problems
YEa well that was me I had extensive kidney bladder surgury just a month before starting my kindergarden year but I was also majorly shy and I made my self very very sick not asking for bathroom "passes" *which we had to do even though the bathroom was in our classroom.. because I didn't want to be the diffrent one.

Though I will have to say..
Quote:
Ever think that if you have to stop students from going to the bathroom constantly, there's a problem with the teaching?

Think about it...sitting on a toilet is more interesting than what you're providing the child. Bottom line: Become more interesting to the student than the toilet.
Well umm I remember being totally entralled with bathrooms like if we went out to eat the bathroom HAD to be explored or a friends house ect and as an introvert sometimes a 2 minute "bathroom break" was like heavenly LOL (heck thats true today) and had little to do with the teaching being borning or not...

Deanna

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Old 11-05-2008, 12:19 AM
 
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I have kind of the opposite issue at work.....all day long kids are asking me if they can go to the bathroom. I say, "Of course you can. You don't need to ask."

I do have to count ten sometimes if suddenly six of my chatty girls are waiting for the bathroom at the same time (interactive bladders, I suppose), or I ask each child before outside time if they need to go. As soon as we get outside, someone needs to go. Which means we all have to go back in to let them go.

And as for my own bathroom needs, I go before I leave home, at lunch time, and maybe when an earlier scheduled coworker leaves for the day (and that isn't even everyday). In an emergency, I could call the office and they'd "try" to get someone down there. Usually it isn't worth the hassle.
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Old 11-05-2008, 01:08 AM
 
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You should have your mom write a note to the teacher telling her to let her daughter use the bathroom whenever she needs to. I thought it was illegal to keep students after school in California? I just know that in my district, we can't even keep students in at recess for any reason.

Here's my bathroom policy (I teach 2nd grade) - students are given 2 bathroom sticks (popscicle sticks with their numbers on them) on Mondays. If they have both bathroom sticks on Friday, they get two raffle tickets. If they have one, they get one raffle ticket. If they have none, no raffle tickets. We have a raffle drawing at our school once a week for little things like pencils. The kids LOVE raffle tickets!

I also give pretend money for things like returning homework, remembering to return forms, sharing, etc. They're supposed to save their money for a big store that all of 2nd grade will have at the end of the year with old toys that the families donate throughout the year. If students use up both bathroom sticks, they then give me a penny whenever they want to use the bathroom during class time. (The pretend money also teaches them how to count money, a second grade standard!)

I also put 5 marbles in the marble jar if no one in the class has to use the bathroom within 20 minutes after recess. When the jar fills up, they get a marble party. I also remind them right before recess to get water and use the bathroom.

Anyway, these things work for my classroom. There are those students that do abuse bathroom privileges. I teach in an open pod school, and the students like to roam around and look at what the other classrooms are doing. But, definitley write a note to the teacher, because I would certainly give special priviliges to someone who had bladder problems.
Wow, this whole thing really bothers me. First, the kids who can hold it get rewarded and the kids who can't get punished. Publicly. How do you think it feels to be the one kid who causes the whole class to lose a marble? I still vividly remember being in 4th grade. We always took a class bathroom break before lunch/recess and then another one about 20 miunutes after we came back to the classroom. For whatever reason I always DESPERATELY had to pee before it was time for that after lunch bathroom trip. Everyday I would politely ask my teacher to go to the bathroom and everyday she would tell me to wait. So, instead of using "silent reading" time to read, I sat at my desk in pain praying that I wouldn't humiliate myself by peeing in my pants.

I understand not wanting kids to use the excuse of going to the bathroom to wander, etc., but I think that needs to be dealt with on an individual basis, not as a blanket policy.

And the pretend money... Why do we think that kids need to be rewarded for doing their work? Shouldn't they do it because that's what they're supposed to do? We share because that's how we should treat others and how we hope others will treat us. Not because someone's going to give us something for it. What's wrong with just being proud of a job well done? Without being bribed for it?
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