Mr. Bathroom

The teacher sat at his desk, desperately hoping that the students would remain on task for at least ten minutes. The children in the classroom looked at the papers in front of them, some of them reading and others simply staring at the white of the paper. One of the students arose from their seat and wandered to the teacher's desk.

"May I go to the bathroom," she asked.

The teacher opened his drawer and lifted from it a laminated card with the number 207 on it.

"Four minutes tops," he said.

He watched the other students write, or stare, and two minutes later the student returned the plastic hall pass. He watched with some satisfaction as the expected students completed their work, sitting quietly and remaining on task. He looked back at his computer screen and read an email from one of the office assistants.

"May I go to the bathroom?" came from directly in front of him, startling him with its unexpected presence.

He again opened the drawer and retrieved the now-wet laminated hall-pass.

"Four minutes tops," he said.

He sat again for a time, watching the students. It became necessary to speak with one of them softly in order to keep them on target, temporarily at least. Another ten minutes passed as the students attempted whatever they were attempting, seemingly not their work. One of the students in the last row raised his hand.

"Darren," said the instructor.

"May I go to the bathroom," Darren asked.

"Four minutes tops," said the teacher.

The period had still four minutes remaining and in the time that Darren had wandered into the hallway, another two students raised hands and asked to go to the bathroom after Darren and then after the tinkler who came after Darren, while almost no students in the room wrote or read anything.

"I am loathe to think what I have become," thought the teacher.