Thursday, November 17, 2011

What Do Hall Directors Make?

Many of my teacher friends have posted Taylor Mali's inspirational YouTube video (seen here) detailing in hypnotizing beat poet fashion what teachers make. Mali does not reference salary, benefits, or pensions. Rather, he expounds that teachers make more than a paycheck--they make students work hard, challenge their thinking, and become better citizens. As educators, hall directors do the same thing for their residents.

I am a hall director and I am more than a babysitter with a free apartment. I have helped form timid RAs into paraprofessional staff members, confident in confronting a 10-person party with dozens of alcohol bottles. I have guided freshly graduated high school seniors into first-year students capable of running a successful Hall Council E-Board along with developing well-attended programs. I have stood toe-to-toe with aggressive students accused of violating policy, only to have them apologize during a judicial hearing, never receiving a documentation again. I have counseled students who have been sexually assaulted, who were bullied because they just came out as homosexual, who have suicidal ideations, and who are addicted to alcohol or drugs.

For the thousands of past, present, and future hall directors, it is important to recognize how crucial a position we all have. Parents moving in and leaving their "babies" maybe for the first time need to know we do more than change their child's room assignment. Faculty and staff unassociated with Residential Life need to know we are allies not barriers to helping their students. Our RA staff needs to know we are available for them; however, this does not mean we will always answer our cell phone, answer the 1:00am email asking for a broom, or ignore poor job performance. Our students need to know we will always be an advocate for them and have their best interests in mind; but, not at the sacrifice of them developing into self-reliant adults capable of making positive decisions. Finally, our supervisors need to remember how it was to be a hall director, recognize the many hats we wear (the same ones they wore at one point), and give us credit for our hard work along with giving us a break every once and a while.

So, when someone asks what does a hall director make, you can say a difference.


  1. Fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

  2. This is exactly why I am going into a graduate program in student affairs in a year and a half. I wish I could explain it the way you do. :)

  3. I have been assaulted by a resident, responded to a suicidal attempts and completions, dealt with the aftermath of those incidents, counseled students to get clean/sober and if they couldn't I was the one to suspend and/or expelled from school. I live with the students and live by the same rules. I work weekends, holidays, and grave shifts at a moment’s notice. I care about my students and want them to succeed academically, professionally, and personally. I teach them life skills, ethics, and leadership qualities. I am a HD, it is a stressful and thankless job, but I do it because I want to make a difference.