The other day I asked the Milady Instructor Facebook group what kind of guidelines they put in place for their classroom. I had put together a list of “Classroom Expectations” and was curious what I may be missing.
As I started seeing the answers, I quickly realized that there were two ways of looking at classroom guidelines. Some educators had “expectations” in place asking students to see what is possible. Asking students to see the best. Asking them to see how great they can be. Other educators’ lists were more “rule” based. What students could and couldn’t do.
And as I looked at my list, I realized it was the same way. One moment I’m telling students to be curious and the next I’m telling them no cell phones unless I tell them they can use these devices.
What I realize is that both are needed.
What I learned is that perhaps we should not lump them into one big, long list but instead, break them out into two separate documents.
Yes, we have to have rules in place based on behavior that is acceptable in our schools. You most likely have these in place already. You might have “Standards of Conduct” or “School Rules”. In this list, I would recommend you write all the things you need to enforce acceptable behavior in the school. Consider where you’ve experienced challenges before and then map out a guideline on what is acceptable behavior for all students and the rules they must follow.
But don’t stop there.
Make a second list of classroom expectations. On this list, include what you really want the student to strive for. Ask them to see what is possible. Ask them to give their best. Ask them to see how great they can be. What do you want to see in every student? What do you dream of when you first think of that outstanding student? I would take this one and make it into a poster and hang these encouraging words all over the school.
To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, I’ve put two separate lists together. The first is what we want them to be. The second is how to handle the daily struggles. Hopefully what will happen, is if we really focus on the first list, the items required on the second list will get less and less!
Standards of Conduct