Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mrs. H's class rules (life rules)

I posted these rules today for the first graders I'm substitute teaching. I'm thinking of having a poster made up and laminating it so I can use it whenever I'm subbing.

1. Be Kind
We spend all day in class together. Use good manners and be nice, so our class will be a pleasant place to be.

2. Do your own work.
Do not worry about what others are doing, or not doing. You are only responsible for YOU. If you look for trouble, it will probably find you.

3. No Freaking Out
a) Breathe
b) Stop and think.
c) Find a solution to the problem. Ask for help if you need it.
d) Move on! Get over it, get on with your day.

4. Never lie on the floor.
Someone will step on you, sooner or later.

5. Don't touch the bell.
(unless Mrs. H has given you permission.)

6. If someone is bothering you...
a) Ask them to stop. They may not realize they're annoying you.
b) If they don't stop, move away from them.
If they follow you, or you can't move away, then
c) Get help from a grown-up.

The teacher has a poster up with reporting rules that are very similar to what I taught my own kids (an inexact paraphrase, but you get the gist):

Tell someone if
1. Someone is hurt;
2. Someone is in trouble or danger;
3. Property is being damaged;
Otherwise, work it out yourself, because I don't need to hear it, and I don't want to hear it.

At the beginning of the week, many of the kids were in each others' business, and there was a lot of tattling going on. Whenever one of the kids had an issue, an audience would gather and work would grind to a halt. Now, I'm seeing kids keep on task and pay attention to their own work, and when issues flare up, most keep on with what they were doing before. In just a few days, these lessons can make a dramatic impact if they're explained and consistently enforced. It's cool.

I'm thinking about adding this one:

It's not about YOU.
No one else spends nearly as much time thinking about you as you do. Before you accuse someone of wronging you, think about that. Chances are, whatever they did had nothing to do with you, you just happened to be in the way.

Of course, they're still responsible if they hurt you, but being hurt by accident is a lot different from being hurt on purpose.

You'd be amazed how many accusations fly across a first-grade classroom over the course of the day -- but I've seen similar paranoia among (supposedly) grown men and women. Sadly, this last rule may be the most important of all.


Judy said...

I'm seriously considering whether it would be safe to post your rules at work. The only one which doesn't apply is the one about lying on the floor.

Oh and where can we find a grown-up?

Liza Lee Miller said...

I have used almost all those rules in raising my own children and have said most of those things in classes at every grade level. And yes, I do think something like that should be posted at every work place in the country.