Teachers have different opinions about rules. Some teachers love them. Some teachers hate them. Some think you should have no more than three rules, while some think it's okay to have fifty or more. Wherever you stand on this issue, the most important thing is that you think carefully about your approach to using them.
I am in the "fifty or more" camp when it comes to rules in the classroom. One of my teaching inspirations is Ron Clark, who wrote the book The Essential 55 about the number of rules in his classroom. Let me be clear, though, that I don't think there is one way that rule making has to be done. If you want no rules at all or if you want 100 doesn't matter. You should do whatever works for you and gets the results you want.
I get attention for two things when it comes to my rules--1) The amount of rules that I have (over 60) and 2) The sometimes unusual rules that I have (No audible yawning?). I have been asked to post a list of my rules and the explanations that go with them. Once again, let me remind you that I am not suggesting that anyone copy my style of rule making just because I do it. Do what you want. Feel free to use any or none of these. Good luck!
*Note: I have students make a sign for each of these rules that is posted in my classroom.
MY 60 RULES FOR THE CLASSROOM
1--Respect the ladies (show respect for everyone, but especially the ladies)
*2--Leave the “S-word” outta here (no telling anyone to “shut up’)
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There are three main things that students should be learning in school. Unfortunately, in the increasingly test centered focus in education today, it seems like all of the attention is given to the first category only.
1) Information and how to learn. How much information do we really retain from school once we leave? And how much do we really need it? Anyone needed to know the chemical symbol for potassium lately? Or how about who was president in 1902? I know I haven't. But I knew them when I was in high school. School is not always about the literal information that we learn, but that we are discovering how to learn. We are exposed to a lot of different topics in school. Some of them we gravitate to and use for the rest of our lives, some of them we leave alone. But they are all important.
2) Social skills. You might want to skip this part home schoolers. How many jobs rely on a person's social ability as much as their head knowledge? Many of them do. Is school the only place that students can learn social skills? No. But I think this is one of the great opportunities for learning these important skills. Parents would be wise to quit trying to protect their children from every possible bad scenario that exists and let them be around different kinds of people and situations.
Momma isn't going to be around to protect her children forever. It's best that they start learning how to handle themselves on their own. I grew up at various times going to private schools, public schools, country club type schools, and schools in rough neighborhoods. I definitely feel like those experiences prepared me for dealing with just about any kind of person out there.
3)Toughness/Preparation for life after school. The objective of school should not just be to learn the most information possible and get out of there. There are many other good lessons to learn, such as overcoming obstacles, having to work hard to get something you want, dealing with failure, etc. These lessons can be just as valuable as book knowledge.
So, if you are a teacher, educator, or even parent, don't let yourself give 100% of your focus on category one only. Gathering information is very important, but it should not be the only thing that students are learning at school. Eventually, they will be out of school and on their own. Do them a favor and get them prepared for more than just helping your school test score ranking.
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How important are the clothes you wear? Some people would say they are very important. Others would say that they aren't important at all. For teachers, I think the answer is somewhere in between.
The interesting thing about this topic is that you will find teachers with opinions on both extremes of the question and everywhere in between. There is no clear answer. Here are some thoughts:
What you wear affects how people think of you. If we didn't think that clothes affected what people thought us then we wouldn't spend so much money buying new clothes every year. Whether you think this is fair or not, people judge us based on our outfits. The same is true for teachers. What you wear has an affect on your students opinions of you, even if just for that day. Are clothes everything when it comes to what other people think? Definitely not. Other things about us almost certainly mean more. But I am a convinced that clothes do have some affect.
What you wear affects your opinion of yourself. According to an article in the New York Times, the clothes we wear can affect how we think of ourselves and the way we act. If we feel like we are looking good or cool, then we will have a different attitude than if we were wearing something that we think makes us look bad. In the same way, if we are wearing something that we thinks makes us look professional, then most likely we will act professionally (and vice versa).
Your influence on your students is more important than your comfort. One of the biggest arguments for not putting any restrictions on what employees wear to work is that they will be more comfortable, and thus more productive. Companies like Google have become famous for allowing jeans and a relaxed dress code. So why not apply the same thinking to teachers, right?
Hold on a second. I don't think that the same logic can be applied. Working in a professional environment around other adults who are left to work on their own projects is far different from an adult supervising thirty children who would rather not be working. The respect that students have for their teachers can directly affect their motivation for working. In a company, the motivation for employees is to be productive enough to make money and keep their jobs. These are two far different situations.
The best style for teachers to wear is business casual. An article on about.com described business casual for men as "a shirt with a collar such as a casual shirt, a polo shirt or a golf shirt worn with pants whether khakis, Dockers, or similar good looking brands. In this environment, you will only rarely see suits, ties, and dress shirts." This means that you want to look nice, but you don't have to go over the top and be extremely formal, either.
For women, business casual means "casual skirts, dresses, pants and blouses. In general, denim, spandex, sweatshirts and pants, t-shirts, exercise clothing, sundresses, and sandals are inappropriate in a business casual workplace." The same point about being too formal that applies to men applies to women as well. Too fancy (or too tight or revealing for that matter) is not a good idea either.
So, does it mean that you have no chance of being respected or being successful if you don't dress professionally as a teacher? No, of course not. It is possible to dress like a crazy person and still get results. However, I believe in giving myself the best chance to succeed. So, teachers, give a little attention to the way you dress for work. You could be improving your chances for success.
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The topic of student bullying has received a lot of attention lately. Unfortunately, this is a problem that seems to be on the rise. Students aren't the only ones who bully, however. Teachers can sometimes do it too (to each other).
I recently received a message from a teacher who made the following comments about her own teacher bullying experience:
Teachers bully other teachers a lot, especially in middle school. I think this is because we have to share classrooms and kids. I have been bullied by another middle school teacher who would try to turn my kids and their parents against me through untrue gossip. There are cliques, and groups. Just like what middle school kids go through.
Unfortunately she ruined the relationship I had with my administrator and he laid me off. My kids still contact me and tell me what a great teacher I was. It almost made me give up teaching but I learned from it and moved on. It is sad when the kids don't come first.
I was disappointed to hear that this kind of thing is going on, but not surprised. There is competition and jealousy in most professions. Teaching is no exception. When some people see others doing well or getting popular, they want to bring them down. That is just the way some people are.
If you are in a situation where another teacher is bullying you, you do not have to put up with it. Calmly try to settle the problem with the teacher on your own, and if that doesn't work, you may want to involve an administrator. Unfortunately, teacher bullying is a reality in some schools. It is wise to realize that sometimes not every teacher has the same motives. Some are much more concerned about themselves and their reputations than anything else.
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