Simplify your classroom rules and start the school year off right.
A lot of teachers like to overcomplicate their classroom rules and it becomes a game to students. I know some teachers who like to allow for a certain number of infractions and who have complicated lists of possible consequences. Then students start asking, "What will happen if I break this rule?". Don't fall into that trap. They have charts and color codes, and on the surface it all seems very organized, but in reality, it is very difficult to maintain.
It sounds very idealistic to say this, but it’s true. From personal experience, I assure you that simplifying your rules will simplify your life. At the beginning of the school year, when it’s time to introduce the class rules I show students this poster and read the three words. Then, using the Socratic method of questioning I go through the rules one by one and discuss the implications of those rules (which is the reason you don’t need many.)
1) Respect – Why is respect the number 1 rule? What does it mean to be respectful?
•Respect means not talking when it’s someone else’s turn
•It means being patient with ourselves and with others
•It means that when I ask you to do something, you need to respect my request
•You need to be quiet when I speak, otherwise, you would lack respect
•It means coming to class on time
2) Try – Why would rule number 2 be to try? What does it mean to try? Why is this important?
•Participate in class discussions
•Do your homework
•Ask questions when you have some
•Don’t rely on excuses to get your through
3) Be responsible – What does it mean to be responsible? Why is it important? Why do you think this is the third rule?
•Students’ school year or semester will depend on them. The teacher always wants what is best for his or her class, but if students won’t cooperate, we can’t force them to. •Hand in all evaluations
•Make the best of class time
•Bring all of your materials with you
•If you are absent during an evaluation, you are expected to communicate with your teacher.
Many of these discussions will take on different shapes depending on the students you have in front of you and depending on their age.
Click on the image above for a copy of these rules and for a copy of the poster.