I really wish I had read Nancie Atwell’s advice to people considering the teaching profession before I peed in my pants.
I have an amazing bladder.
It’s a teacher’s bladder.
On most days I can wait to pee until early evening. (I know my teacher friends will understand this.)
It wasn’t always this way, though.
I sat with some friends in a book club tonight and one of them remarked, “Did you see what Nancie Atwell said about how she wouldn’t advise others considering teaching to go into the profession?”
At first I couldn’t believe that she came out and said this, but before you know it, my friends and I started laughing about how crazy this profession can be as we shared teaching stories that only other teachers can relate to.
My friend explained she had spent the day learning how to use her power and computer cords as a weapon, if needed, against potential intruders. The other friend explained how she watched as her boss and co-workers tried to get a kid refusing to do his work to return to his classroom. Our stories seemed to crazy to be real. We laughed imagining inviting others from outside professions to lunch while we simultaneously ate and had cafeteria duty. We pictured interrupted conversations while we reminded our students of the expectations in the 8th month of the school year. The laughter erupted as we mentioned the meals we had to scarf down in front of our students because we didn’t get our lunch break. And we all agreed that we had developed superhuman bladders.
That’s when I remembered when I peed in my pants. In my classroom!
It was my first year of teaching. I worked even more than I do know (if that’s possible), and I often stayed after school until the wee hours prepping for the next day. Most days I brought a change of clothes so I could get more comfortable while I worked late in my room.
That particular day I put off using the restroom after school for even longer than normal. I was in the zone with my work, and I kept dismissing my urge to pee (and change into comfy clothes). I sort of did a toddler dance around my room so I could get just one more stack of papers organized before succumbing to my bladder. Finally, I decided I would have to cave. I couldn’t hold it anymore; it was probably after 6:30 after all.
Although I made the decision to go and started toward the bathroom, I think my brain had already told my body that it was time to go.
Keep in mind that the bathroom was only a stone’s throw away from my classroom. Unfortunately, that was just too far on that early fall day, when my bladder was not what it is now. I rushed quicker across the hall to the little girls’ room as I could feel the sensation of my pee already trickling out. At that point, it was a lost cause; I peed in my pants somewhere between my classroom and the restroom. I couldn’t believe this just happened. I looked around and thankfully no one else was in sight.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I changed my clothes and continued working.
My friends always tell me about their young children and how they have to be potty trained and cannot have more than a certain number of accidents in order to make it into and stay in the older room. I’m proud to say that I haven’t had any accidents since my first year!
I know Nancie’s comments were more geared toward problems with over-testing our students (not teachers peeing in their pants), but I can’t help but laugh at the little quirks of my job that most other professions won’t understand. Despite the challenges our profession is facing, I can’t imagine doing anything else, even if I have to do my little toddler dance as I dash to the restroom each day.
Fellow teachers, we need to make a reality show to help others see a glimpse into our crazy days.