Welcome to the world of the school's playground, which is appropriately called "the yard" by the
There are no teachers supervising the yard. No, their contracts dictate that they are entitled to the two breaks. So while the students run around like wild things, the teachers hang out in the teacher's lounge or, at lunch, travel off for a quick bite. [Here's hoping no emergency ever happens on a Friday afternoon, when most of the teachers are off-site for lunch.]
We're armed with whistles and, particularly in my case, the talent of projecting my voice far across the acres of playground: the blacktop with its basketball, tetherball, four square and hopscotch; the play structure; the two baseball fields. Kids can hear me bellow wherever they are. [I knew those many years doing theatre in high school would have a benefit.]
The most egregious offenders -- those hitting or kicking other kids and the like -- are benched for periods of time. Those who act up in class bring bench slips with them, handing them over to a Yard Duty and doing their time in solitary confinement. As a kid, I'd have been horribly embarrassed to have been benched. My three kids would be mortified as well to find themselves on the bench. My experience on the yard, though, is the kids who are benched don't really give a shit. Some of the "frequent flyers" seem to prefer the bench. For a few, it's their signature activity; for some, it's likely where they feel most comfortable, away from the other kids.
I'm a mini-celebrity around town, as little kids will whisper, "She's a Yard Duty," as they walk by with their parents in a store or downtown. I try not to hear "duty" sound too much like dog "doody." Ah, but we Americans have that knack for making every "t" contained within a word sound like a "d."