An error in judgment, to be more precise. I've exercised pretty good judgment since I started training at LoLMEECoA, but a situation occurred today which exhibited just how much further I need to go.

Let me back up: Good judgment, up to this point, has meant keeping my cool and not underestimating the lack of gateway skills (i.e. skills that allow students to work on a given subject, like being able to subtract is a gateway skill for being able to divide, since it is a component of long division) of my students. I haven't gotten into many arguments with students, which is also a good thing, since those types of arguments never end well. No matter how sure I am that one does, indeed, need to use math outside of a classroom, it is difficult to convey such an obvious concept to a 7th grader with a chip on his shoulder. I've done my best to steer clear of power struggles and all of the drama that comes with them.

But my good judgment ran out today. One of my wonderful little wallabies and I were working on some problems, and that little scamp asked me if he could use the bathroom. Given that students tend to ask that approximately five times per class period, per student, I let the student know (cleverly, I thought) that he could go to the bathroom in exactly 6 minutes, since that was when the class period ended. This is a standard teacher thing to do, something that gives students what they want, but puts it inside the teacher's time-frame.

So, this little guy and I were working together for another minute or two, when all of the sudden some yellow liquid spurted out of his mouth and onto the paper. That was odd, I thought. Why would that yellow...oh my God he just threw up. Yes, my precocious little piranha had just thrown up in the classroom as a direct result of me not allowing him to go to the restroom.

Now, I don't want to blame the student, but if you're going to throw up, don't you mention that that's why you want to go to the bathroom? Just say, "Glorious Teacher, might I be allowed to head to the bathroom, because my pyloric valve has been acting up."

Instead, though, he sat silently, threw up, and made me feel about as awful as I've felt while teaching.