Believe it or not, we have a toilet break policy at Dave and Amy English School. It sounds ridiculous, but it is necessary.
To begin with, let’s go through WHY we have a policy: In our experience we found:
A. Teachers who allow toilet breaks have students going to the toilet EVERY CLASS.
B. Not just 1 student, but ALL students taking turns.
C. 1 student going disrupts the lesson. Two or three going messes up games and the flow of the lesson.
D. MOST students DON’T REALLY need to go. They go when they are bored. Bored writing—go to the toilet. Don’t want to sing—go to the toilet. It is just an excuse to get out of something they don’t want to do.
So our policy is:
1. Toilet breaks in class should be HIGHLY discouraged. It’s only 1 hour. ALL our students go to kindergarten or elementary school. Presumably, they don’t need to wee in the middle of their lessons—so why in ours?
2. First, question whether the student REALLY needs to go. Often (for the stated reasons above) they don’t really need to go.
3. If they MUST, allow TODAY only. I usually say, TODAY is OK. But this is NOT a baby class. YOU are not a baby. So, from NEXT week, NO. If you need the toilet, BEFORE or AFTER the class is OK—-not IN the CLASS.
4. OF COURSE there are EXCEPTIONS. And those students are just that. Exceptions. They are RARE. If students REALLY need to go—-then of course, they can go. Or if students have a bladder problem and REALLY NEED to go every lesson (in 20 years of teaching, we’ve had this only twice), then of course they get a free pass.
But for the majority of students, the above reasons and the above policy works. We want students learning for the full 60 minutes. And not wasting 5 in the toilet.
What do you do in your lessons?