Classroom Management

I believe that one of the most important things I teacher can do for their classroom is set strong ground rules and then abide by them.  One of the ‘jobs’ of a student is to find the boundaries, and if you don’t have any they won’t know when to stop.  It is the teacher’s job to clearly build the fences that teach students appropriate behavior in the classroom.  The skills that you can give to students in the learning environment will transfer into the working world, and we want our children to be able to grow up and reach their potential.  They can’t do that if they don’t learn how to focus, settle down and be productive in addition to the content and skills of your course.

It’s hard to remember sometimes that we aren’t just teaching art, or English, or math anymore.  We’re teaching life skills.  We’re teaching our students how to behave in public society-as contributing members of their community.

Here are my classroom rules:

1. Be respectful of myself, your peers, and your self.

  • No talking when the teacher is talking
  • Respectful and school-appropriate language only
    • Examples of inappropriate words: cuss words, ‘shut-up’, ‘this sucks’, etc.
  • Constructive Criticism only
  • No touching other people’s artwork without permission or if found on floor/knocked over
  • Always be on time
  • Always be productive
  • Always listen and be aware
… and since no list of rules can be complete without a set of consequences:
2. Discipline Progression
  • 1st warning
  • 2nd warning (that I will move your seat to the front of the room)
  • Seat moved
  • 3rd warning (that parents will be called
  • Parents notified if this is a consistent problem for multiple class periods
  • 4th warning (that the principal and parents will be called)
  • Administrator and parent notification if student shows they cannot be respectful of the learning space and are distracting peers-last result
I will be honest.  The be rule there is respect.  Everything under it is just outlining ways to be respectful, or reminding students what kind of behavior is disrespectful.  Most of the kids respond with great behavior once they understand that as well.  It’s never about holding anyone on a short leash, or being in control.  It’s about teaching respect.  That’s it.
Also, I have to say that I have rarely had to involve parents in the discipline process, and only once had to notify an administrator.  Usually the kids respond very quickly when they realize that not only do I know who they like to sit next to, but I also know who they’d rather not sit next to… and in such a social class, the threat of moving to a new seat or a seating chart for everyone is usually enough to keep the bad behavior at bay.
What are your classroom rules?  Are your consequences different?

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