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Teacher presence in the hallway changes behavior and school climate.

Date: December 17th, 2012
By: Polly Bath

Watch this video [2:23] to learn how your presence in the hallway as a teacher can improve difficult student behavior, build trust, and affect school climate.

Polly: So think about it. If teachers are present in the hallway when the bell rings, and kids see you, that’s a Nondirective [behavior] Cue.

Students will self-correct their behavior, just because of your visibility.

Just by saying quietly, “Hey, walk, don’t run. Walk, don’t run. Walk, don’t run.”

Not, “How many times have I told you?” “What’s your name?” “Come here!”

Man in Audience: Sometimes they see you and they’re like …

Polly: Yes! They put the brakes on! That’s Automatic Thought.

If you’re driving down the interstate, even if you’re only going 45 miles per hour, and you see a police car, I defy you not to take your foot off the gas pedal!

Audience: Right!

Polly: The same thing happens in school hallways. It works! Teachers just being visible will change the whole atmosphere. It will change the climate in the building. Bullying doesn’t happen when you’re out there. Kids don’t do the bullying-type behaviors when the adults are present.

The flip side of this is, even if you’ve never made personal contact with a child, all they have to do is have seen you in the hall, over and over. I have had children who have come to me and have asked for help, or said, “Can I tell you something?” Just because they saw me in the hall. They never met me, but I was visible. Which meant that I was there for them.

That can make a huge difference in the management of your entire building. Huge. The beginning of the year, I tell all of my teachers, “Everybody’s got bus duty. Everybody get out there. Just say ‘hi’ to every kid that you can.”
Click on my video above for more.