The classroom for my Writing Lab classes is in a mobile that is situated in the far end of our high school parking lot. Because it is a place in the country where kids “love” to come write, we affectionately call our trailer Walden Pond. I have decorated Walden to look like a place I would want to go write: mood lights, music, open space, desks that are not so much in rows, but in pods to facilitate idea-sharing. It has turned into a truly lovely place where my struggling writers feel a sense of safety; it’s a place they can be themselves away from the pressures of the building.
Don’t get me wrong, I really don’t mind Walden Pond…
Until I have to go to the bathroom.
I am attempting to lose weight and the best way for me to do this is to drink more water. The more water you drink, the healthier you are, the more you lose, the better you feel. You get the picture.
Midway through class, as always, I had to go. It always begins as a kind of percolation, a reminder of what is to come. When it feels like a small bubble in my bladder, I usually call security to send someone out to “relieve” me while I relieve myself. I have to admit the whole process is kind of humiliating. In the building, I can have another teacher peek in my room, or be aware that I have stepped out for a second to go. But when I’m in the mobile I have to call security, they have to call it on their radio, and then they send out my savior, Mr. Hamilton.
But today…today I had to call twice. My students made fun of me durng class because I was doing the potty dance like no one’s business. 45 minutes after my first call, I had to call again. Man…when Mr. Hamilton came in, I ran through the school parking lot like my life depended on it. Then I arrived a the door to the school…it was locked, so I had to wait until someone would let me in.
Needless to say, I barely made it.
The thing about a profession in education is that people don’t understand these seemingly small day to day struggles we have. It is not so much that I mind calling and having to walk to the building to go do something as minor as use the restroom, it just is something that doesn’t seem like I should have to worry about as a professional.
As a professional, I want to worry about curriculum decisions. I want to worry about how I am teaching my students how to write. I want to worry about how my students are going to use my feedback. I want to worry about how I can deliver a lesson better than I did the last time. I really don’t want to have to worry about whether I am going to make it to the bathroom before I have an accident.