Welcome Back!! - It's amazing how fast our summer months go - here today, gone today!
I trust you had a restful and enjoyable holiday. Now, back to reality .....
First Topic - Teaching Your Students About Rules.
Many students will follow them, others won't. We need school and classroom rules.
There are 2 questions to keep in mind:
1. What should we teach our students about rules?
2. How can we get them to see the need and the value in classroom rules so they'll function in meaningful compliance rather than the opposite?
Usually on the second day, I have a thorough discussion on rules. I ask them the reasons for rules and have them explain why they are necessary. I ask them about rules they have at home. We also discuss what fair rules we should follow in and out of school and especially in our classroom. Remember, it is their classroom as well as yours.
It is vital to realize that the need to explain rules has a very practical basis. The rules in your class will be different from those in other classrooms, which are also different in the halls, gym, playground, etc. That's why we must make sure rules are known and understood.
A student can accept, reject, follow or disobey a rule. Individual thought governs rule acceptance. Remember, explanation is first, acceptance is second. You can generate distrust by failing to explain or get acceptance of rules.
To accept rules, you must teach personal values and general benefits. For instance, you may say "You will know what you can and can't do. Rules will teach you how to be considerate and help you understand other people's needs and your own".
On the other hand, there need to be consequences for not accepting rules. You may say "If you don't see the value of rules, you will become unhappy, and breaking the rules will get you into trouble. If you don't value and follow rules, you'll hurt others whether you meant it or not".
You must teach students that rules are positive and they assist everyone in achieving goals and being successful in life. Your students need to realize that rules are for the protection of the rights of all people in our school and allow everyone to function safely.
You may want to change the word "RULE" to "EXPECTATION", because a rule is closed and an expectation is not. Expectations are intended to make things better and they should apply to teachers as well as students. Having your students involved in the process teaches them respect for others and vital responsibilities.
Rules should not be made to dominate or wield power over students. They usually protect those who may not have the ability to protect themselves. "Whenever law ends, tyranny begins" - John Locke.
Be sure to read my page on 7 Basic Classroom Rules as well as my page on Students Respecting Teachers.
Second Topic - Tips For Developing Student Relationships With New Students
1. Set aside time to work with them - don't let them get lost because of your busy schedule.
2. Take the initiative to create a relationship to enhance their success in your class and school.
3. Try not to complete their orientation in one day - do it in short doses.
4. Introduce them to particular staff; e.g., principal, secretary, french teacher, etc.
5. Create a buddy system, a peer can show them the ropes.
6. You may want to provide a map of the inside of the school showing them the washrooms, office, gym, etc.
7. Tell them about the various extracurricular programmes.
8. Send a note home to their parents explaining your intent and willingness to help their child adjust to your class and school.
Consider these tips (and you may add more) and hopefully your new students will have a positive, happy and successful year in your classroom.
Have a Great September - It will seem to be a LONG month.
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I continually add pages to my site so check out my teaching blog for the latest pages.
Also stay tuned for future monthly newsletters. Topics I will be discussing include, techniques to motivate, staff relationships, the excuse maker, and the common cycle of felling the highs and low.
Good luck with your new crop of kids. Enjoy.
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