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Every Available Minute

I really wonder if there’s a higher incidence of bladder issues among those in the teaching profession. Not to be too scatological, but good health requires that one empty her bladder when the urge hits, and not hold on to anything. Try telling that factoid to a public school teaching schedule. I remember the literal RACE to the adult bathrooms down the long hall from my classroom in the few minutes we are given between classes. Sure I could use the kid’s bathroom that was closer, but not only does that take up a stall that kids need, it’s just weird to see your teacher in the bathroom. What is she doing in here? Was she listening to me cuss? Or trying to beat my colleagues to the restroom at lunch, only to give up and use the men’s one without shame. There were more of us girls!

Student safety dictates that an adult must remain with their students at all times- class is not to be left unattended, because of course that’s when someone gets stabbed with a pencil or another tries to sneak out the window. But man, sometimes you really have to take your health into consideration and just step out for a small minute, leave your door open, and tell your teacher neighbor where you’re going.

Not only can you not really take a bathroom break, you cannot take a mental break if you take your role seriously. I know people in the “real world” might take a walk down the hall to just refresh for a minute after working on a project, or even close their eyes for a few minutes and rest. That would be a poor decision in many classrooms. I am amazed at the cleverness displayed by students when their teachers aren’t looking. In the elementary school, those few moments when a teacher is leading his class to specials- music, art, PE, computers etc. - might provide a mental rest. Maybe while waiting for children to use the restroom themselves, or while waiting in line, a teacher could take a brief mental break.

Well, not so my friends. Our teachers are now using even those lulls to try and get their children up to par. I learned recently that one of our schools is placing laminated sentence strips at strategic locations where a teacher can easily grab them off the wall and walk down the line with their students practicing language acquisition. Can you believe that, real world people?? They don’t know yet if this will help or work, but they are committed to trying something new – giving students another opportunity – that might enhance that child’s knowledge. And I commend them for it, but I’m also sad because it just feels like the job of teaching gets a little harder each year. These people’s dedication to their children clearly knows no bounds, as they are willing to try something new, to continue innovating until they find the practice, the pedagogy, the curriculum that works best for them as educators and their own students. Next thing you know, they’ll issue bleacher buddies and we can remove the tedious restroom break all together!

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