Where I teach, I am required by law to have 80 minutes of supervision duty each week. This supervision is in addition to my teaching hours. It can occur before school, during recess, lunch break or after school. Many teachers complain about supervision duty, but in reality, it has many benefits.
1. Free exercise. Yes, we are getting paid to exercise. What else would you call walking continual laps around the schoolyard for 20 or 30 minutes at a time?
2. Staff Fitness Competitions. Have a staff fitness challenge and monitor daily steps.
3. Feel Like A Sheriff. I don’t know why, but when I don my fluorescent orange and yellow safety vest (a requirement when on supervision duty) and put my Fox 40 whistle around my neck it alludes power. I feel like I am a sheriff maintaining order and control in the wild west (OK well I do let my imagination have some fun)
4. Fabric Research. What better way to wind and cold test fabrics than yard duty in below zero weather? You learn quite fast what not to wear on yard duty. Style is NOT an option. No one wants to teach with frostbite.
5. Food Trends. Food bloggers and writers – if you want to see what children and teens like to eat – just ask a teacher. They will tell you the latest lunch trends. We also see what gets thrown into the garbage and green bin as well as packed up to go back home.
6. Reconnecting With Colleagues. My school is huge. There are teachers that I do not see on a daily basis because they do not teach in my hallway or on my floor. When we are assigned supervision duty together, I get to briefly acknowledge them as we pass by each other on the schoolyard or in the hall.
7. Realizing That Primary Teachers Are Heroes. As a middle school teacher in a K-8 building, some years I get given Kindergarten or Primary duty. After 20 minutes on duty, I have answered more questions than during a full week in any Grade 7 or 8 classroom, administered friendship advice and ensured that every child is properly dressed for the weather. Frankly, I am exhausted. I don’t know how my friends who teach primary students do this all-day-long. They must have secret superhero powers.
Bonus Benefit: Meeting Future Students. On a serious note, my one favourite things about supervision duty is meeting future students. Supervision has helped me get to know students before they become students in one of my classes. Building this connection ahead of time has helped me with classroom management. When I am on indoor duty I talk to the students in the various classes and compliment them on their school work or cool lunch bag.
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