As a kindergarten/Young 5's teacher I'm blessed to have two restrooms in my classroom, but sometimes two just isn't enough. Each evening when our saintly custodian cleans them he leaves the seat up. He then props open the door with a wedge. Each morning as I enter the classroom I flip on the restroom lights, with really high switches, I remove the door stop and I put the seat down. Midyear I neglected part of my usual routine. As a kinder went into use the toilet she came out and announced wide-eyed, "there's a man in the girl's bathroom!" When I went in to investigate I found the undeniable evidence of male presence; the seat was up!
This year I'm teaching Young 5's. Waiting for every child to use the restroom, with a huge preoccupation on how badly they NEED to go, takes forever and could have dire consequences, until the children relax on this issue we use the galley restrooms in the first grade wing. In a few weeks we're safely and calmly using our classroom for all our toileting needs.
Yesterday we arrived to find our daytime custodian, Mr. Steve cleaning the boys room and a wet floor sign sat in front the girls. I asked if we should go to the other facilities in the middle of the school. He assured me he was just finishing. I sent 3 girls in to use the toilet, and 3 boys in to use the boy's. When I noticed one girl not going in a stall she said, "there's a boy in there!" "No there's not I replied as I shooed her into another stall. "Mr. Steve just cleaned for us." This year I knew the mind of a 5 year old!
A little later as she exited and I checked to see how many more girls I should send in the next wave, I saw a locked stall, I asked the same girl I'd spoken to earlier to crawl back under and unlock the stall. I assumed she'd left crawling under the door. "NO!" she answered, "there's a boy in there!" Smiling knowingly, I made a show of checking the floor for feet. No feet. "There's not..." Wait, way back in the corner, were those feet?
Thinking one of my girls was hiding I said, using my best teacher voice, "unlock this door." Sniffles. "Come on, open up, your friends need to use the bathroom." Sobs, and the door slowly opened. Head hanging, chest heaving a young boy exited.
"Why are you in here I asked? "I don't want to talk about it." he gasped between sobs. He was clearly mortified" "What happened?" I asked crouching down, I thought he'd wandered into the wrong room, after all it was only day 4 of school.
"I had to go really, really bad, and Mr. Steve was taking a long time," he began to cry harder yet. All those girls' eyes watching him was making him even more upset. I put my arm around him as I walked him back down the hall toward his room to reassure his teacher he wasn't in trouble, and to give an explanation I'd have to make without laughing. As his teacher complimented him on his smart thinking on avoiding an accident I herded my flock back to my room reminding myself to never assume anything, ever again!