8:12 AM, the music booms through the loudspeaker and the kids come flooding in. I hear hustling and bustling through the hallways; the sounds of laughter, locker jams, scurrying footsteps, and a whole lot of chatter echoing the hallways. Quite a few curses too. I stroll outside my room, trying to remember all of their names so I can greet them personally. They like that. I step back inside for homeroom and first period. The kids get settled by copying down the homework as the morning announcements come on. Period one begins at 8:20 and I swear, these kids time it to the minute. The second the bell rings, I’m flooded with bathroom, nurse, locker, and water break requests.
“You have literally been here for six minutes,” I think to myself. “Don’t they want to hear the directions?” “Can’t it wait, I mean seriously.” Then I remember, they are in sixth grade. So, I let them go. “Only two at a time,” I remind them, and as one returns, another goes. None of them care that they’re missing important instructions, and like clockwork, they stroll back in and ask us what they’re supposed to be doing. None of your professors tell you about stuff like this in Teacher-Ed programs. No one tells you that you will literally need to repeat yourself 30+ times a day. And I don’t mean repeating your lesson for four-five different class periods, I mean within each class period. Some, as I said, will miss the directions after jetting out to the restroom. Others simply just don’t listen; others simply can’t listen. The select few that do what they’re supposed to be doing, oh how I appreciate those few.
Don’t get me wrong, this is what I signed up for, and I love what I do, but it’s frustrating. I’m a student too, remember? I only leave class for a bathroom break if I’m sitting in my seat, dancing and squirming. But alas, with age comes such common sense and appreciation for education, nonetheless a free education; one that they wont still be paying for well into their 50s. Then again… before I was paying for my own way, I let the periods pass me by in the bathrooms too. I used the same material, and I’ll bet you did too. 😉 Anything to get out of class! It’s actually hilarious to see how some things never change, how kids never change. As annoying as the consecutive bathroom trips are, as much as I can’t stand acting like a parrot from 8:12-3:05 everyday , I wouldn’t trade the job for anything. I love learning about their different personalities, seeing their different qualities. Getting to know their tricks, letting them think that none of their teachers talk; that we don’t all sit together at lunch and laugh about how they liter-uhhhh-lyy go to the bathroom every.single.period. It’s hysterical. You’ve got to find the humor in the frustration to stay sane.
We learn about the different cognitive stages in Child Development, but constant bathroom breaks isn’t mentioned in that course’s textbook. Nope, never received the bathroom memo. That’s why student teaching is such an amazing experience. You get to learn about all of these little tricks of the trade, you get to see it, hear it, and feel it for yourself. Every career should have such a rewarding preview of the next 40 years. Teaching yourself what they don’t teach you. They don’t teach you about those little things in Teacher-Ed. They don’t teach you that you use so much of your patience during the day that by the time you get home at 5:00, your boyfriend better not say anything stupid if he wants to eat dinner 😀