Sound silly? I thought so, too. For my first 5 years of teaching I tried to tell myself that my students were mature teenagers (Wait, is that an oxymoron?) and bathroom privileges were rarely misused. Ha! I had students meeting up with friends, disturbing other teacher’s classes, and sometimes not returning to class at all.
So, in my 6th year of teaching I was part of a 9th grade team and one of the “team agreements” was bathroom passes. Each student received 3 passes per quarter which could be used any time with no questions asked. No more “Do you REALLY need to go?” or “Is this an emergency?” Just go when you need to go.
Here’s how it worked . . . Students were ceremoniously issued these little, colorful strips of paper of the first day of each quarter. I explained the importance of writing their names on each pass and putting them somewhere safe, but accessible in case they were needed. But, here’s the best part . . . unused passes could be turned in at the end of the grading period for EXTRA CREDIT! Why do students think “extra credit” is more important than regular credit? I do not know, but I know the words “extra credit” are magical!
You need to keep a few things in mind for this to work smoothly.
1. You do not keep up with the passes or how many are used. This is 100% the students’ responsibility.
2. DO NOT let students go without a pass. Sometimes students would borrow passes from friends, but I did not make exceptions to this rule.
3. Use a different color each quarter so old passes do not get used later in the year.
4. Don’t let students interrupt your teaching or go during a quiz or test. Unless it is an emergency, they need to show respect to you and the rest of the class.
5. When a student needs to go, they just grab a pass, write the date and time on it and hand it to you. Initial it and hand it back to them to be used as their hall pass. When they return to class, they hand the pass back to you or lay it on your desk. Tear up used passes and throw them away.
That’s it! Worked like a charm! Even my juniors and seniors asked for them, so I used them in all my classes.
Want to try it for yourself? I just uploaded my BATHROOM PASSES to Teachers Pay Teachers and they’re FREE!
I left my name, class, and point value on them so you can see how I designed them, but you can change them to suit your needs. Each page has enough passes for 4 students – just cut them into strips. Let me know how they work for you!