The Young Teacher’s Guide to Playground Duty

Playground or Yard Duty is often seen as one of the banes of a teacher’s existence. It is, however, a necessary part of a teacher’s role. It may be onerous but can be an opportunity to get to know your students outside the disciplined confines of the classroom. The students also see you in a different light.

Below are guidelines to help the young teacher adjust quickly and safely to the demands of Playground Duty. It is true to say that your role in a high school will be much more demanding than it would be in a primary school. If you are indeed, a high school teacher, take particular note of points 3 to 8 below.

1. Remember, Playground Duty (PGD) is a legal responsibility. Legally, you are responsible for the care and safety of all students in your designated area. You are in ‘loco parentis’, i.e. you are acting in the place of the parents.

2. Remember, you are even on duty when you are moving through the schoolyard on the way to class in your own time. It is even possible there may be some onus on you while you travel to and from school.

3. Always arrive early to your duty area, making sure you change over with the previous teacher before he or she leaves. Don’t leave until you are replaced. If you are not replaced, send a reliable student to remind your replacement or seek help from the administration.

4. Set high standards of behaviour in your area, particularly with respect to safety in games (non-tackle games should be the norm), bullying, dangerous activities and out of bounds areas. Students will then know what to expect from you. This will establish a reputation for you that you are concerned with safety and insist on it when or if any litigation comes your way.

5. Challenge any one that you don’t know on school property, especially older teenagers and adults. Direct them to the office. Be aware of ex-students and young men and women loitering near the school gate or fences. Report any suspicious persons to the administration as soon as possible.

6. Fights will occur in the playground. By being alert 안전놀이터 , you will notice the signs, i.e. a sudden gathering of excited students. Move quickly to the area but send a reliable student to the nearest staff room to get help and report it to the administration.

7. Actively patrol your area in a random way, i.e. vary your route and the time you take to move around.

8. Work out the trouble spots in your area beforehand. Give them and the students who meet there your special attention. Do it obviously.

9. Use students who indulge in misdemeanors as litter collectors while on duty. (Check school policy on this activity).

10. Get to know by name the students who frequent your area. This will help in creating a safer and a more disciplined environment.

11. Remember your hat, sunscreen and a whistle. Some schools require you to have a two-way radio or mobile phone with you while on duty as well as a first aid kit and pen and paper to make reports on accidents.

12. If you are away from school, make sure your replacement or your Deputy Principal is aware of your Playground Duty responsibility.

13. Try to negotiate a Playground Duty time that best fits into your teaching program or roster. This will ensure you are always on time and are not distracted from remembering to do it by other pressing issues.

14. Handle minor issues yourself. Don’t get into the habit of sending students to the administration. This will enhance your reputation as a capable and reliable teacher.

In conclusion, the playground can become a dangerous place for our students. If we do our Playground Duty poorly, we create an atmosphere where problems may arise leading to injuries. This puts you, as the teacher, in danger of litigation for failing to carry out your duties in a professional manner. Using the guidelines suggested in this article will go a long way to protect you from litigation and keep your students safe and happy.


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