Give me a break! – Gönn mir mal ‘ne Pause!

When I have a new class I am always somewhat embarrassed when the course participants ask me if they can go to the toilet. I teach adults and I am of the opinion that adults can decide for themselves when they have to use the restroom. Besides it is far less disruptive if they just get up quietly and leave.

However, this time I have one student who needs to go fairly frequently. Saad goes outside often only ten minutes after the break. This has an effect on the others and I got annoyed with the continual coming and going. So I put my foot down and restricted restroom breaks. If I can hold it, they can hold it!

Yesterday Saad was not in class (not for the first time) and today I asked him to write an excuse note. As their German abilities are still limited I usually help with the phrasing. “Ich krank.” he said and added in English: “I was sick.” I wanted it more precise. “Toothache, headache, upset tummy …?” After a bit of playing charades I understood that he has serious kidney problems. D’oh! Hence the many trips to the bathroom. And once again, I feel quite sheepish. Communication is so important before judging.

Mit einer neuen Klasse ist es mir immer ein bisschen unangenehm, wenn mich die Kursteilnehmer fragen, ob sie zur Toilette gehen können. Ich unterrichte Erwachsene und bin der Meinung, dass Erwachsene selbständig in der Lage sind, zu entscheiden, ob sie auf die Toilette müssen oder nicht. Außerdem ist es wesentlich weniger störend, wenn sie einfach leise aufstehen und rausgehen.

Allerdings habe ich diesmal einen Schüler in der Gruppe, der ziemlich oft muss. Saad geht oftmals schon zehn Minuten nach der Pause aus dem Zimmer. Das beeinflusst die anderen und bald wurde mir das Kommen und Gehen einfach zu viel und ich wurde energisch und beschränkte Toilettengänge von jetzt ab auf die Pause. Wenn ich es mir verkneifen kann, können die es auch.

Gestern war Saad nicht da (und nicht zum ersten Mal) und deshalb verlangte ich heute eine schriftliche Entschuldigung. Da es beim Deutsch natürlich noch hapert, helfe ich mit selbstverständlich mit den Formulierungen. Saad sagte: “Ich krank.” und in Englisch fügte er hinzu: “I was sick.” Ich wollte es genauer wissen. “Zahnschmerzen, Kopfschmerzen, Magen-Darm, …?” Nach einigen Minuten Pantomime wurde deutlich, dass er ziemliche Probleme mit seinen Nieren hat. Oh Mann! Daher die häufigen Toilettengänge. Und wieder einmal fühlte ich mich ziemlich bedröppelt. Kommunikation ist ja so wichtig, bevor man sich ein Urteil erlaubt!

12 thoughts on “Give me a break! – Gönn mir mal ‘ne Pause!

      1. Very. They are ready to stage a revolt because I have just told them that I will not be teaching them in the last week before the holidays and that a sub will come in. They misunderstood and thought I will not continue teaching them. My remark that they might like the sub better than me once they’ve seen the difference was not received well. So, I’m happy as well!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Great point on communicating and checking for details (and it can be a distraction to have that coming and going)- I was wondering at first if he maybe had some add – but then to hear about kidney problems – yikes

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course – and to smoke or just clear their head –
        I taught five hour classes (condensed college classes) and once had a training session that said 20 minutes was the ideal time to chunk activities for the best cognitive assimilation and retention –
        I already broke the class time down – but found ways to stay on lesson tasks while chunking for 20 minutes – then sometimes added breaks – but early on I was borderline death by PowerPoint as some were really long
        So I made pdfs of the PPT to leave in our LMS -! And found ways to chunk that too-
        I know the subjects we teach don’t always allow for enrichment activities – esp language lessons that need focus and all that-
        But all this to say that “aiming” for the 20 minute windows (not always possible) but it helped me enjoy our classes so much more too

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes “takten” (that’s what we call “chunking” in German) is really immportant. It has become especially difficult during COVID times because we were not allowed to have the learners leave their places and do group work or games or the like. At the moment I’m using that again (I found I’m rusty) but I’m not sure that won’t change again in autumn.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks for the German word takten!
        And we do the best we can with many things eh? I know what it is to be rusty and I sure know what burnout feels like as I had to reviver a few times – ha! So the takten really helped with balance

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