Monday, November 15, 2010

Classroom Rules: Be a Positive Teacher

When teachers think of classroom discipline, the first thing that comes to mind is a list of rules and punishments. Nothing could be further from what classroom discipline really is. We always tell teachers not to have classroom rules. The reason is simple. You cannot list enough. Your students will break the ones not listed and tell you so. They will bend the rules. On both accounts, how will you handle it? The answer is, you can't. Every student in your class knows how to act. On campus and in class. That's really the only rule you need: Follow all schoolwide rules.

However, teachers are not content with that. They think they need to post a list of many rules so students see them. Although that's not a good idea, we do know where they're coming from. It's a hard concept to have basically what is a "ruleless" class. Over time, as you mature as a teacher, you will feel the need for rules to be greatly decreased. Your students will know your classroom is a place for learning, not goofing off.

For those teachers who have not crossed that bridge, we offer a few simple rule tips. The buzzword: positive.

Don't have any rules that are can be open to interpretation. Do not have rules that you cannot or will not enforce.

How about these as a start:

1. Come to class prepared and ready to work.
2. Respect others.
3. Follow all schoolwide rules and procedures.
4. Enjoy the learning process!

That's it! Number 4 is just a positive option. Change it to your liking, or leave it off. Your choice.

You do not have to list consequences. You do not have to list punishments. You do not have to list a bunch of do's and don'ts. You can't list all the don'ts.

Your rules should have a "do" quality, not a don't. Your students know the don'ts. Don't dwell on them.

The less rules you have in your classroom, the less stress you will have enforcing them.

In fact, you should NEVER have to enforce a rule anyway!

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