Generally speaking, American teachers get the short end of the stick. They’re frequently over worked, under appreciated, under paid, and taken for granted. The overwhelming majority of parents in the United States simply send their children off to school each morning and expect the teachers to change those little monsters into scholars by dinner time.
The real shame is that even though they’re our own children, even WE can’t stand to have them around all the time! How many parents have uttered these words of desperation in the middle of August, “Thank God! School starts soon!” Admit it, you’ve either said or thought those very same words more than once.
And once we send our precious pips off to the public learning centers, we go about our busy lives. Meanwhile, we expect our teachers to baby sit our kids for more than eight hours every weekday and we barely provide those teachers with any incentive to do so. And when things do go horribly wrong between the teacher and the student, parents most often brace for a battle to defend their little angel against the crotchety, old school teacher.
The poor teacher often gets it from all directions! That is, he or she gets it from the student, then gets it from the school’s administration, and then from the parent on occasion.
We remove some of the most effective means of discipline from the classroom (means that we ourselves often rely upon to keep our kids in line) and then we expect the teacher to accomplish much more with our unruly youngsters than we could ever achieve ourselves. Whether we parents like to admit it or not, our little darlings act up when not under our direct supervision. It can’t ALWAYS be the neighbor’s kid who causes the trouble.
And then we lament how we have such difficulty dealing with our little brood of three or four brats. Barely do we consider that a teacher has anywhere between 15 to 35 students to deal will all day long.
And kids being kids, they’ll look for any means of avoiding work; avoiding a challenge; avoiding anything they don’t like doing…like learning information. We have trouble getting our kids to pick up their dirty laundry or to take out the trash twice a week. Yet, we expect some unfamiliar public servant to work miracles with our children by getting them to recite the Pythagorean Theory over and over again.
Kids will do anything to get out of school work. They’ll ask to go to the nurse. They’ll ask to go to the guidance counselor. They’ll ask to go for a drink of water. They’ll ask to go to the lavatory. Some will simply skip class or school altogether!
Now, asking to use the restroom in isolation should never be a problem for a teacher. Many new schools have a water closet in each classroom nowadays. So the problem of excessive latrine breaks doesn’t crop up all that often in those newer schools. In older buildings, though, the problem of too many potty breaks can be vexing for some teachers.
We have to remember that the teacher punches the time clock every morning for essentially one reason: to teach. Disciplining our little tyrants is not really part of the teacher’s job description. However, the teacher must maintain control over the classroom setting. What’s more, the teacher must also account for the well-being of every student placed under their supervision. And when there is no medical condition causing a youngster to require frequent bathroom breaks, the teacher must govern which students use the bathroom, as well as how often they do.
The problem compounds whenever we consider the classroom testing environment! Students can now excuse themselves during a test, take their cell phone with them to the restroom, and dial up instant answers to questions on the test while visiting the toilet facilities.
So, teachers should indeed retain the right to deny bathroom breaks to students. Maintaining control over who enters and leaves their classroom is part of the teacher’s job description. Moreover, most teachers are pretty compassionate individuals. They can usually tell when a student’s needs are genuine or contrived. If we remove the teacher’s freedom to discern the genuine from the counterfeit then we’ve effectively removed one more aspect of the teacher’s ability to control the classroom environment.
Do that and your kids will get exactly what they want from their school: undisciplined half-lessons.
Good luck getting them into a college after that!