Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Semantics

Teachers have various ways of discouraging requests for restroom passes. One of my favorites is the detention deterrent. They really have to go if they're willing to stay after school to "make up" the time.

Today's lesson plan (same group as yesterday) contained the passage:
Students may only use the restroom in case of emergency. If they use the restroom during class they must serve time with you during snack, lunch or after school.  
Fair enough.

All requests for restroom passes were met with the reminder of the teacher's detention policy. Several students then changed their minds. A few agreed to the conditions. During fourth period, there was a rush.

I had four students in the first five minutes of class insist that they had to go. They were fine with staying with me after class. Then a fifth girl needed to go. I told her the same thing.

"But it's not a real detention, right?"

I explained that she owed me time. I thought that was the definition of detention. She did not have an issue with staying after class. But she did not want a "detention".

"I don't get detentions."

She explained that she couldn't get a detention. She had a spotless record. She wasn't about to lose that. She couldn't have an official detention.

I wasn't sure how to respond. Would I note that she stayed after class because she used the restroom? Yes. Would this make it into her "permanent record"? No. I doubt that a run-of-the-mill detention even gets reported to the office. It's not like a referral. Many times the office doesn't even get involved.

In the end she used the restroom, and she stayed after class. I noted this in my note.

I think I respect the girl for not wanting to get into trouble. I just wish we didn't have such an issue over a word.

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