The Class Trip

As you all know I am a public school teacher. I had just gotten my body used to the schedule in my school. Since I go to the bathroom a lot during the day, my body had to adjust since I really can’t leave the classroom when I have students in front of me. Boy, was my Crohn’s doing well with work. Then one day a few weeks ago I got an e-mail from my administration.

The e-mail read that I and the other third grade class would take a field trip to a local university to participate in the Junior Achievement program. My class and I would take a tour of the campus, to get the “college experience.” The program helps kids get motivated for college. I’ve really never been on a field trip before with students. I knew because of how short-handed we are in our school, that the administration would not be able to go.   They also were not going to be able to send any other teachers. So it was me and parent-chaperones. What was I going to do about the bathroom situation? Now I was nervous.

I had to think of a plan.

I know that everybody is human, but being in a big city walking around, then having to tell twenty nine third grades to “wait” as I go to the bathroom was not ideal. I had to reach out for some help. I was way to nervous about this situation. So I started to make some phone calls.


The first phone calls were to my two parent-chaperones. I had to give them a heads up about what was going on. It is very rare that I tell my students’ parents my personal business.  They were on board, and we actually figured out a lot of the logistics beforehand. Since we would be walking in different parts of the line, we made hand signals which would enable us to communicate with each other. We figured out one that would mean, “Bathroom for Richman.”  We were going to just tell the class that Mr. Richman had to stop by the bathroom. Why not tell them the truth. They don’t need to know that I have Crohn’s.

I went a step further.

I reached out to the people at the university who were leading this trip. I wanted them to become aware of the situation. I wanted them to know that we were low on chaperones, and that I had medical condition. I am so glad that I did because…

When I got there, the university was more than accommodating. They provided two more chaperones to assist with the trip. They were already aware that I had Crohn’s and were more than helpful. Since it was a stressful day, I did indeed need to stop and use the bathroom.  But I really didn’t have to worry because I had more than enough hands on deck. And to top it off, my students for the most part behaved! That is always a plus.

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