Rules are a part of life. We live in a voluntary compliance society, not a police state. Respect for the rules and fear of punishment keep the peace, though in some cases, not very well.
Classrooms, too, have rules. Since the primary goal of many classroom teachers is the prepare students for life, it only follows that the rules enforced in the classroom be analogous to real-life.
These are mine:
1) Be on-time, on-task, & prepared to learn EVERYDAY.
Teacher friends, stop me if you’ve heard this one, “Why do we have to do this? When am I going to use this in the real world?” Ugh. While I can’t confirm that I’ve personally ever used the quadratic equation at a time that I wasn’t teaching it, I can’t stress enough how much those values of organization, critical thinking, and problem solving have served me well. Also, it’s awesome to know things. It makes you a more interesting and well-rounded individual. I love knowing just enough about most things to be curious about everything.
Things are not bad, but can be used in bad ways. Phones are not bad, but can be a distraction while driving. Having a nice house is not bad, but mountains of debt that break up a family are dangerous. Alcohol is not bad, but poor decisions and ruined lives are. Knowing the proper place and time for certain behaviors is a valuable skill. Discernment is key.
3) Be responsible for your own learning.
Almost anything would fit here. Be responsible for your own: happiness, finances, health, family, faith, success, fulfillment, behavior, etc. On and on. This isn’t the point when I tell you that you have to look out for yourself because no one else will. However, no one is going to come along side you and make sure you succeed. In a classroom setting, the teacher does the best they can, but the students are responsible for holding up their end of the bargain. In life, sometimes there is no bargain and it’s all on you.
4) RESPECT: the teacher, the classroom, other students.
We live is such a temporary, throw away society. If it’s broken, just get a new one. I think this skews the image we have about the value of things and of people. How would you treat your phone if you knew it was the only one you’d ever get? Is that how you treat your mom, knowing that she’s the only one you’ll ever get?
5) Trash goes in the trashcan. #notyourmaid
In the 4th grade, my class competed in the annual door decorating contest by displaying the book If Everybody Did by Jo Ann Stover. In college, I learned that in Business Ethics, this is known as the Critical Imperative. What if everyone did the thing you’re doing? Would it still be a good idea?