General Question

casheroo's avatar

What does it teach someone, when they have to ask to use the bathroom?

Asked by casheroo (18106points) March 5th, 2009

Not sure if I’m wording this properly, but here goes..

Children have to ask permission to use the bathroom, while in school. They are usually only allotted a certain amount of bathroom passes for one day.
Do you think that it teaches children respect to ask to go to the bathroom?
Do you think they should let the children get up on their own, sign out, then go to the bathroom? (one at a time)
Is the purpose of asking just so the teacher knows where the child is, or is some lesson involved?

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21 Answers

miasmom's avatar

I think the main point in asking is so that the teacher knows where all children are and only one at a time is so that it is not a social activity.

I never gave passes because I didn’t want to prevent a student from using the restroom if they really needed to, but I wouldn’t let them go during a lesson, unless it was an absolute emergency.

I taught junior high by the way, and a few years of high school.

Aethelwine's avatar

I would love to know the answer to this from a teacher’s perspective. My sons are in high school and they are only given 5 minutes between classes. Not enough time at all to use the restroom when you need to go to your locker and travel between classes in a large school.

I know I’m venting more than answering your question. I think it should be made easier for the children to use the rest room.

Aethelwine's avatar

@miasmom lol You answered before I was able to finish my post!

casheroo's avatar

@miasmom So, why do the children have to ask permission? Can they not just get up from their seat, sign out (maybe have a clipboard near the door, so you do know they went) And only one at a time can go. I’m just wondering why children have to ask permission, but once you become an adult you can freely go to the bathroom as you please. I know in college, we just went to the bathroom if we needed to.

wundayatta's avatar

It teaches them to be orderly workers, who stay on the job for whatever the hours the boss wants. No slacking either. It suggests that this school is trying to turn out assembly line kids at a time when assembly lines aren’t really hiring any more. It teaches them that the boss is boss, and they have no authority over their own bodies. It teaches them that order and structure are more important than they are.

What it is not teaching them, is how to be leaders.

miasmom's avatar

@jonsblond unfortunately, some teachers can be too strict in the whole bathroom situation, I understand classroom time is important, but with 5 minute passing periods, you can’t always make it to the bathroom. All teachers should have to shadow a student at some point, especially if they haven’t done in awhile, to refresh their memory. Plus, when I was in high school and on my period, I didn’t want to be in the restroom with a bunch of people doing my girly stuff, I was embarrassed and I empathize with kids about that.

I make sure they ask because I want to know where they are, sometimes it helps me to get a visual and a verbal on where a kid goes, especially when your day starts to run together. That is just what works for me, I know some teachers that don’t need that, I don’t see anything wrong with asking.

cak's avatar

@daloon – So you think they (I’m not arguing, I’m trying to be sure I understand what you are saying…I took a pain killer and am trying to think, at the same time.) all students should be allowed to get up and go whenever they want to go?

If that is what you are saying, I think that can be problematic, in some grades and for some teachers. I’m thinking of my 5yr old. Say his room didn’t have a bathroom – he would have to walk down the hall, near the open corridor and could easily wander off. Yes, that would be saying that my child can aimless wander about a building…but that’s another matter. For safety reasons, I would think simply giving the pass (they have one in case the room bathroom is occupied) and knowing that the child is out of the room – would keep a teacher aware that a child still needs to be accounted for.

As kids get older, some truly can abuse the restroom – not granting a pass, when you know someone is more prone to abuse the privilege can teach that child that they need to be respectful of other people’s time.

Overall, I think, if explained to children (and teens) what is expected of them – go, do what you need to do and don’t waste time and you will get a pass or permission, when you need to go. Abuse the privilege and you will be limited to emergencies.

I don’t like the idea of a teacher restricting bathroom privileges, I had a teacher like that in high school. I swear, if she could have made us wear depends, she would have made them a requirement.

Aethelwine's avatar

@miasmom That’s the problem at my son’s school. Most of the teachers won’t let the students leave class. They tell them that they have plenty of time between classes.

wundayatta's avatar

@cak: That’s the system, I believe, in my kids’ school. They certainly get to go when they need to, and “wander” the halls alone to get there. The kids from this school tend to go on to get into fancy colleges, and then to be leaders in the community.

The point is that if you bring kids up with autonomy, they expect autonomy. If you bring kids up to think they have little control over their bodies, that’s what they end up doing when they grow up. The role we play early in life has a significant effect on the role we play later in life, I believe. There is probably evidence to support this.

You might think something as innocuous as going to the bathroom doesn’t mean much. However, it’s just the tip of the ice berg. It is symbolic of many other things in the culture of the school, and of the people attending the school. These are things most people aren’t aware of.

Of course it’s problematic for some teachers. There are teachers in Philadelphia who think their whole job is to corral their kids and get them to sit in their seats for ten minutes at a time. It takes a special teacher to know how to deal with this without destroying the child’s sense of power.

I don’t know. Check out the laboratory school in D.C. The Montessori schools. There are many schools that don’t use the assembly line model for education.

When I grew up, there were no hall passes. As a senior, I didn’t even have to be on campus if I didn’t have a class. We were free to take classes at local universities if we wanted. I don’t know if they still can be this permissive, but it worked for my cohort.

Good luck with your pain killer, by the way. I hope it works.

miasmom's avatar

When I was in high school, I had a teacher who, during a final, wouldn’t let you leave for anything, unless you turned in your test. Half way through the final I had to use the restroom so bad, I asked her, and she told me that I could go when I turned in my test. I furiously finished my final and turned it in because I had to go so bad. Well, I was devastated…I am an honor student, I don’t abuse restroom privileges, I wasn’t going to cheat…so when I got home, my mom was furious. She called down and talked to that teacher and the principle and all hell broke loose. Needless to say, I did end up getting an A in the class in spite of it, but I remember back to that and think that it could have been handled better, and that teacher didn’t have to be such a dictator about the whole thing. It just rubbed me the wrong way. So, I have always let my students use the restroom when they need to and I’ve never had any major problems with abusing the system. Kids know when a teacher is being fair or not and tend to show the same kind of respect to them…I wish other teachers understood that concept.

cak's avatar

@daloon – you assume, though, that kids from assembly line school systems, like the one my child is in, doesn’t produce the same kind of child. I beg to differ. There are many leaders from my community that are a product of this type of school.

In his school, there are actually many ways that they must operate on their own and do so, successfully. I see it, mainly for children his age, as a safety measure. In my daughter’s high school – they aren’t very restricted, but some teachers have started seeing the abuse and have adjusted some of the freedom. She’s in higher level classes and is mostly with seniors – my theory…they are done. they are ready to be finished and some are just getting a bit lax. She hasn’t been denied, but has been annoyed by a few that treat it like a revolving door to the classroom.

I see your point, but I don’t know that I think that it’s done to have the children to conform to any big agenda of producing followers, not leaders.

Both of my children attended Montessori schools – now, my daughter is in (what is considered) a higher learning academy for high school students. It’s not the typical high school run by the state. I know the differences between the two and won’t argue that there can be a stark difference, but please don’t assume that all “assembly” line schools are bad places.

Judi's avatar

I was a rebel and dropped out of High School. I ended up going to a High School Completion Program that had a lot of kids like me there. We were all kids that caused problems in public schools and were a disruption to the class. For some reason, Here, at this new school, everyone did their work quietly and was well behaved. Maybe it was because we were paying a fee to be there but I think it was because we were shown respect.
One day we had a substitute who didn’t understand that we were there by choice. She started spouting off the ground rules for being in her class and you should have see what happened! This class of usually quiet respectful 17–30 year old students all became every teachers worst nightmare, especially when she said, “If you need to use the restroom, raise your hand.” That was the single most disruptive thing that this poor woman could have said. The class went wild on her.
The next day we had a different substitute.

cak's avatar

@Judi – I have such a hard time seeing you as a troublemaker!

Judi's avatar

If you look at tit this way it may be easier, I stood up for the little guy and demanded respect for everyone. I didn’t blindly “obey” like a good little girl, I challenged authority. That’s why I didn’t think it was right to tell 17–30 year old students to raise their hand to go potty. I don’t think 6th or 7th graders need to ask to pee either.Their bodily functions are not the rest of the classes business. It is unnatural to hold your pee. When you gotta go you gotta go!

EmpressPixie's avatar

At my first school, we went whenever we needed to. At my second, third, and fourth schools (upper elementary, middle, and the first two years of high school) we had to ask and the teacher could decline to allow it. My mother told me, after I told her about a mean teacher who didn’t let someone go, that if I ever, ever really had to pee and they wouldn’t let me, I should get up and leave. And if I got in trouble, she would raise hell. At my second high school and in college, they expected us to go if we needed to—we were adults to them who could make that choice.

So to me, the difference between having to ask and being able to just go is trust and the acceptance that you are mature enough not to waste time.

Zaku's avatar

It teaches me that the school that does that seems to be afraid and lacks control of its students and doesn’t know how to regain it and is compounding the problem with rules that don’t make sense.

laureth's avatar

There are some young people who will abuse the system and use a more lax classroom experience to get into trouble, go smoke, or just leave class because they don’t feel like being there that day.

There are some young people who really care about what’s going on, are trustworthy, and would not abuse the ability to leave the classroom when the need is present.

The mistake is in thinking that one way of doing things is suitable for both of these types of young people, and everyone in between. Some people (adults too!) need way more supervision than others. It might behoove a good school to find a way to discriminate between them.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i think asking is basically out of respect – for instance, a lot of people will ask if the people at their dinner table would excuse them, if they have to get up for something. like, especially if a teacher is in the middle of teaching. regardless of whether they’re going to the bathroom or have to run something down to the office, i think it’s respectful to let them know, rather than just getting up and leaving without saying anything.

what i have a problem with, though, is when teachers – or schools, because mostly it’s the ‘no pass system’ – don’t allow students to go to the bathroom during class. i’m 16, and i know that there are a lot of kids who aren’t actually using the restroom. however, not all kids are going their to smoke or make out with their boyfriend or something. sometimes teenagers have full bladders too. that’s not exclusive to adults. haha. i agree with laureth.
plus, i think that if a kid is gone for like 20 minutes to ‘go to the bathroom’ every day, chances are that the teacher would be able to figure out that they’re not trustworthy. and, chances are that their grades are also going to prove it.

oh my god why did i write such a lengthy answer on bathroom passes?

MacBean's avatar

“oh my god why did i write such a lengthy answer on bathroom passes?”

Because peeing is important! Seriously!

Judi's avatar

@tiffyandthewall ; If it were “basically out of respect” like excusing yourself from the dinner table then it would be fine, although the act of asking would still be more disruptive to the class than just slipping out the door quietly. What sometimes happens is that it becomes a “control” issue. I don’t think it’s appropriate for teachers to take “control” of student’s bodily functions.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

@Judi mm i’m with you on that. i’ve seen examples of both in my teachers – some do it just to abide by the school-wide rules, and to ensure that they know where the students are, and others do it for, well, whatever control reason is behind it. i think it’s kind of silly either way.

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