The bar is way too low for what is expected of elementary students in the halls. Often teachers don’t walk with their students to the door to dismiss them for recess and the students run in the halls like prisoners released for conjugal visits. Even when the teacher is with students, they often don’t walk in a line but in a group, talking like school girls the whole way (of course, they are school girls – half of them, anyway).
Teaching students to walk in a straight quiet line is important – it may seem trivial until someone has to tell the principal that the student broke their leg sliding down the banister in the stairwell while singing “A Spoonful of Sugar”. Besides the obvious – making sure the students are safe – there are many reasons walking in a straight, quiet line is important. Other classes may be disturbed during a quiz or frog dissection lesson. Students learn what is polite – holding the door for others, not using up all the space when others are trying to pass and not pushing others – especially the teacher!
It is time to raise the bar and expect students – all students – to walk in a straight, quiet line in the halls. In September, you can see teachers taking younger students on school tours, teaching them how to walk in line. Older students also need reminders, incentives and consequences. If we expect this and reinforce it, students will walk politely and safely in the hall and in life.