Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hall Patrol

The design of our school has two wide hallways that run the entire length of the building. Such a span of interrupted space can be very tempting to the energetic middle schooler, and many a student must be reminded to slow down and walk on those stretches.

I sympathize-- a long time ago when I was one of only two summer school teachers working in the building, on the days when I rode my bike to school, there were times when I just kept on riding once I was inside. It was exhilarating to pedal past the library, the soft illicit whir of my tires on the carpet the only sound in the empty building.

These days I'm often on the enforcement side of hall traffic, with decidedly mixed results. For example, just the other day a student ran past me at full speed. "Whoa!" I hollered as I raised my hands to flag him down. He skidded to a halt, spun around, and pointed his finger at himself questioningly. I nodded. He sprinted back to see what I wanted.

Then today, a student of mine stayed after class and into our lunch period to finish up on an assignment in the computer lab. With barely 10 minutes left in the period, I encouraged him to go eat. He packed his things and hurried out of the lab. He had a minute or so head start on me when I turned the corner on that long corridor. He's kind of a big guy, more than a little heavy set, and as I watched him up ahead of me I could tell he thought was running, but there was just no need to stop him, because he was well within the speed limit.

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