Sunday, February 12, 2006

Bathrooms are important.

For over 26 years, I taught seven classes of Language Arts every day. I had 23 minutes for lunch, and one prep period.

In other words, I was not used to having any kind of free time. I was not used to being able to go to the bathroom or get a drink or even just lean back and relax for a few minutes. I was on stage all the time, spotlighted, and under scrutiny by groups of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders for forty minutes at a time. We were not allowed to eat, drink, or leave the room for any reason, period. These were rules I understood, and these were rules I personally agreed with.

I think that a teacher who is munching on something, and drinking something, in front of all those students who aren't allowed to even chew gum, is very unprofessional and even taunting. My students were very rural, and for the most part very poor, and the free breakfast wasn't all that filling, and by the time free lunch rolled around they were literally starving, and a teacher who stood in front of them and porked down the snacks and drinks was frankly a very selfish and immature person, and hardly professional.

I have diabetes and there were times when I HAD to grab a mint or pass out cold, but I learned to do it so covertly, nobody knew. I would never have eaten candy in front of my students when they couldn't have any, and my kids were so hungry, even an explanation, while it would have been understood, wouldn't have helped.

Besides, middle school kids tend to spit, or worse, in an unattended cup and nobody needs that. But I will have to say, and many teachers will find offense in this, that if you are a teacher who flaunts food and drink in front of large masses of hungry kids, shame on you.

It is very true that age brings rank, and rank brings privilege. But abusing that privilege doesn't make you cool; it only makes you a creep.

Drink your coffee out in the hall. Save that food for your 23-minute lunch period, or your prep. And if you can't go that long, have your blood sugar checked. Oh, and grow up.

Or do what I did. Get fed up with the whole public school thing, quit, and start teaching at the college level.

I can go to the bathroom any time I want now, and I can drink diet Coke all day long.

And so can my students. It's fabulous.

I love my job. I loved it before, too, but I love it even more now that I can go to the bathroom.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:12 PM | |


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