Thursday, January 11, 2024

Hall Pass Solutions

Here are two solutions I have had to come up with for hall passes to avoid students interrupting my class either for asking to use the bathroom or needing me to sign a form.

When I was but a wee teacher lad, early in years and fresh as linens from the dryer of college, I had a principal who was very strict about students in the hallway.  Students must have a handwritten pass with their name, location, time, and teacher signature.  At the beginning of the year (these were year-long classes at 50 minutes each), I gave them a sheet with ten passes on it.  If they wanted to go into the hall for any reason, they would need to take one of those passes, fill it out, and have me sign it.  The kicker?  We had a teacher-made exam in the class and each pass counted as .5 points towards a bonus on the exam.  I had just given them a total of 5 bonus points if they chose not to use the bathroom.  Then, anytime a kid thought about going into the hall, they had to think about if it was worth giving up extra credit points.  This worked for for a couple of years until I started teaching a class with a state test, and so could not give bonus points on the exam anymore.  By that time, the hall requirements changed.  Are there potential problems with this system?  Yes, but I was young and didn't think about those at the time (and also, I never had any of those potential problems).

Later in life, I just got some wooden disks from a fellow teacher and painted them to be used as passes (with my name on the back) as we no longer had to sign anything.  I spray them regularly with Lysol because kids are gross.  Dealing with seniors, this was easy - if you need to use the bathroom and there is a pass available, just take it and go.  This policy hardly ever got abused and when it did, I handled it.

But now, I have a principal who is trying to reestablish school boundaries and I am back in to the handwritten pass phase of my teacher life.  However, I am lazy (it is rule #1 in my class) and I don't want to fill out a pass every time a student needs to go somewhere, so I did this:

I bought some whiteboard paper from Amazon for about $7.  Then I cut it to fit the back of my pass (leaving my name visible).  This way, I can still use the passes, but if a student wants to go, they must fill out the pass with a dry-erase marker (my marks were made with permanent marker).  No work at all for me once I adjusted the pass, work now rests on the student.

Brilliant?  No.  Extreme?  No.  Just two potential solutions if you are stuck with a hall policy that is causing interruptions in your class.  How well will this paper hold up?  Time will tell.  So far so good, but we shall see.  If nothing else, you may not have been aware of white board paper.  So now you know and might have a cool idea of your own to use it with.  If so, I would love to hear you idea in the comments.

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