Monday, September 04, 2006

The Hallway Show

After my first day of no energy, no drive teaching, the week did exactly what I had hoped and got much, much better. I can't totally figure out what the problem was, but it left the classroom very quickly and I ended up really enjoying my first week.

One of the things that I really noticed that kids like, and I'm going to be much more proactive in doing it, is greeting kids at the door before they come into the classroom. I stand outside of my door every passing period with a watchful eye and a smiling face as students stumble into my realm of politics and critical thought. Student reaction is 99% positive, and the administration loves it. Not only is it good practice for building relationships, but it also keeps another presence out for some of the trouble-makers to notice.

I'm also well known as the "crazy guy in the hallway" because I'll simply make off-handed comments to no one in particular. Some examples:
-someone listening to an I-Pod walks by, "Watcha listening to?". Great conversation starter.
-Kings and Giants jerseys get props, Dodgers and Lakers get hassled.
-"Good Afternoon".
-I'll start singing lyrics that pop into my head. One of the girls in my class mentioned Fleetwood Mac today and I started singing "Sweet Little Lies", which got laughter from the Seniors and looks of pure terror from the Frosh.
-Plenty of high fives, fist knocks, and the good old fashioned hand shakes.
-Kissing your significant other around my classroom? "Ahhhhhhhh, come on! Stop slobbering on the poor girl already!"
-Eating something? Offer a piece to any old student walking by. Licorice is excellent.
-Hacky sack with a group in an open area. Two years ago a group of use were like clock work every day.

But no matter what you do, stop and greet your students at the door, and smile.

I try to keep the attitude at my door fun and interesting. Some bad attitudes make snide remarks, but they are really very few and far between, and the worst I ever got was a couple that couldn't keep their hands off each other every day complaining to the vice that I was constantly harassing them. The way I look at it, standing in the middle of a crowded hallway, holding up traffic to suck face, is a either a Public Display of Affection (which has consequences), or a chance at entertainment. Last year I asked went up to them and politely asked if it was necessary to make a show of it. The response was pretty "mind your business". Ok by me. Means more fodder for the hallway show.

Students will continue to expect you at the door, and will even ask why you weren't there if you cope out. My recommendation is that every teacher should spend at least two weeks meeting kids outside the door and chatting in the hallways. I'm a ham, so my schtick is not necessarily the best for you, but a simple smile, "hello", and your presence, will go a long way.
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