Many contracts contain provisions requiring teachers to do yard duty. This means that you and your colleagues watch over students during specified times and in specified areas such as the athletic field, multipurpose room, crosswalks, etc. Your obligation is to safeguard students and keep their activities orderly.
Some of your colleagues may regard yard duty as a waste of preparation time, and there's some merit to that objection; teachers need every available moment to prepare lessons. However, the counter argument is that student safety trumps all other considerations.
In Great Britain, pedestrian crossings are highly visible. Zigzag white lines precede the crosswalk for several yards, warning drivers to reduce speed. Next, white stripes mark the crosswalk itself, giving rise to the fanciful name zebra crossing. Finally, flashing amber Belisha beacons appear at both ends of the crosswalk, alerting drivers that pedestrians may be present.
Imagine the rage a parent will surely feel when your principal calls her one afternoon to say that her child has been hit by a car in the crosswalk near the school. “But she was only grazed,” adds the principal, “and the paramedics say you can collect her — right after they've bandaged her leg.”
“How could this happen?” demands the angry parent. “Was anyonesupervising the crosswalk?”
“Well … the teacher who was supposed to be on yard duty was … elsewhere.”
This dreadful accident might never have happened if the assigned teacher had been on duty. After she's summoned to meet parent and child in the principal's office, the teacher admits, “I'm sorry, I forgot my yard duty! But it interferes with my schedule, so it's hard to make time for it.”
By now, the parent is so furious that she immediately escorts her child from the office so that she can retain a lawyer as soon as possible. She intends to sue the district for negligence, a civil action that arises when someone fails to do a thing any reasonable person would have done. In this case, a teacher was assigned to watch the crosswalk — yet she couldn't even be bothered to show up. As a result, a child was injured. After the parent is awarded substantial money damages in court, the negligent teacher is fired. Make certain that teacher isn't you.