Rules vs. Procedures
“I have to admit, Austin, you are pretty stubborn,” I say as I lean in closer. In a low, whispering voice, I say, “But I have to warn you, I’m just as stubborn, if not more. The thing is, Austin, I’m running this classroom and I want what’s best for you. And quite frankly, it doesn’t matter who is more stubborn because I have the administrators backing me up on this. I’m going to come back in five minutes to see your progress. Thank you.”
Boy, he gave me fits that year. But he knew I loved him and I was not going to give up.
This post is how to survive kids like Austin (pseudonym) who can make or break your classroom.
You must quickly establish rules and procedures, and I suggest you review them every day for at least a week.
Your rules should be simple, written in positive statements, and limited to around five or less. Students who break rules should have consequences. Here’s an example: Respect your teacher and your peers.
Procedures can be more lengthy in description and you should have as many of these as you need. Students who break the procedure should practice doing the procedure correctly. Here’s an example: When finishing an assignment, walk to the table, highlight your name, and place your paper in the basket that corresponds with your block and read your book unless the teacher tells you otherwise.
Here is a list of things you should consider when planning procedures:
Here’s a major point: Teach them how to do the procedure exactly the way you want it. And make them stick to it--all year long. When you let things slide, they will take advantage of it.
I’d love to collect ideas on these procedures for our readers. Email us if you have an idea you’d like for us to post, so we can give you credit.
Susan Dewees, Ed.D. is an administrator at a large middle school. She also served as a Turnaround Team Coordinator for a public school district in Louisiana. She has 20 years of experience in public school education, and special education is one of her specialties.
Erin Stokes, Ed.D. is a Title I Instructional Coordinator for a public school district in Louisiana. She has over 10 years of experience as a teacher and instructional coach. She is also an adjuct professor at Louisiana College. She loves students, teachers, and most of all--learning.
Becky Pippen, Ed.D. is currently serving as principal of a large middle school in Louisiana. She has over 20 years experience in educational leadership. She is passionate about improving the teacher workforce so that all students have the quality of instruction they deserve.