Voltaire wrote, “Suspicion invites treachery.” As a beginning teacher, this idea takes on new meaning. Consider, for example, the seemingly simple idea of bathroom breaks in school. It’s not uncommon for teachers to expect their students to raise a hand to request leaving the classroom to use the bathroom. Why is such expected? – Because teachers are worried that students, left unaccounted, will get into trouble – in the bathroom, in the halls. I challenge this notion; students, no matter how young, can be entrusted with making positive choices. But if teachers immediately discount this possibility, even before giving students opportunities to succeed, we teach our students only that they are not responsible enough – that we don’t expect that much of them. (…Even when it comes to something as routine as bathroom breaks.)


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