About four or five years ago, each department at my school was asked to set goals for the new school year. One of the commitments that we were asked to make was to come up with ways that we could make the campus safer and friendlier for students. The commitment that the science department members made was to be out in the hallway during passing time between classes.
Though the commitment was for only one year, I have continued to hang out in the hallway in front of my room during passing periods. It is one of the best changes that I have made in my teaching career. Being in the hallway gives me the chance to greet students as they arrive at class. It gives me the chance to day “Good Morning” to students that I have never had in class. Being visible also decreases opportunities for student misconduct. In the past four years I have not had to break up a fight during passing period, because with an adult highly visible in the area, no fights have broken out.
At a time when schools are increasingly concerned with security, bullying, and improving the climate for students, the highly visible teacher is a free way to improve school that school climate. I will be the first to admit that teachers in the hallway do not address all school security issues, but there is no doubt that schools become safer places for everyone when adults are visible.
The greatest benefit to me has been intangible – I enjoy my job more, and my relationships with students (ALL students) is improved. On my worst days, when I just don’t really feel up to the calling of the job, being out in front of my room often changes my whole day. I’ve found that extending a cheery greeting to students and adults will frequently change my own attitudes.
I challenge you to give it a try for one month. It costs nothing and you may find that it brings you far more benefits than I can list here.