Monday, February 16, 2015

My Six Class Rules

Success In the Classroom, Sam shares his rule,

Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that we can narrow our school rules down to just one: Respect.

When I read this I agreed that it is one of the rules that are important in my classroom. I could not break it all down to only one main rule. I feel that in my special education class, just that one rule is not specific enough.  It is too vague for my students to do all the things I need them to do in order to be successful in my class. I did narrow it down to six important rules.

Attend class.
Be on time.
Follow directions.
Respect other people.
Complete homework on time.
Bring Necessary Materials to class.

Maybe all of them deal with respect but it spells out the specifics for my students. My students have trouble with abstracts and need things to be told them for immediate understanding.

I remember when my daughters were young and we would take them to a friend’s house. Before we left I would tell them to behave. When we picked them up, my youngest would look at me and say to me, “I was have!” but I didn’t understand what she was trying to tell me. Until she mentioned how I told her to be-have before I left and she was “have.”

By listing these six rules, we are able to discuss specific actions that show they are following them.

Attend class. Many of my students have frequent absences and some have parents that don’t value education so they allow their children to miss school. Since some of my students are over 17 years old, the school and the law do not make any effort to enforce their attendance. I can’t teach them if they aren’t in class so I try to make sure that they understand how important it is for them to be here.

Be on time. This is an important job skill to learn. They might not respect the job, their boss, or even themselves but if they want to keep the job and earn money, they need to be on time.

Follow directions. Many of my students do not tie this in with respect. Again, this is an important job skill. In order to keep a job, they need to be able to follow directions given to them by a superior.

Respect other people. This involves some social skills. We talk about specific actions that show respect. This involves respecting other people’s feelings, belongings, and actions. We don’t always have to agree with them but we need to respect them.

Complete homework on time. This shows responsibility. I don’t give homework that can’t be done independently and it usually doesn’t take more than 30 minutes. It is the same as learning chores at home as a child. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do.

Bring necessary materials to class. Another job skill that is important. You may be required to supply certain materials on the job. Many construction workers need to bring their own tools. My students are expected to bring a writing utensil and paper. They might have a specific assignment due on a certain date and need to bring that also.

I try to focus on these rules as “job skills” more than rules. My students can relate to preparing for the world of work and these seem more meaningful to them when I phrase them this way. Students seem to be more willing to accept and follow them when they find them relevant to their lives.

How do you present your rules? How many do you have? Why do you think they are important? Please share.

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Sioux said...

A small number of rules is the only way to go, and when they are "umbrellas" for bigger issues, that works well for teachers.

Great post, Pat, as usual.

Anna D said...


I really like the way you've connected classroom rules with 'work rules,' especially because high school students are often interested in getting part-time jobs. Not only that, but these skills will be valuable in the future. Likening the classroom rules to work rules, I think, makes students accountable for their actions and also gives them the opportunity to practice maturity and leadership.

I do my rules as a kind of 'contract.' Every student gets a copy of this 'contract' and must sign it.