Here in Minto our rules are built around keeping a safe and productive work environment.
We have a non-negotiable rule regarding the use of cell phones in class, the rule being that they are not allowed. The first strike against this rule causes the consequence of the phone being taken away for the day. The second strike means the phone is taken away for a week. If a third time occurs the phone will be returned at the end of the semester. This is one of the only rules that is present throughout the entire school, another being a no hoods policy.
In the classroom that I work in we have a currency system in place to enforce our rules. We keep two jars in our room, one with beans, and one without. As good behavior is displayed in our class, and as rules and procedures are followed, beans are moved from the full jar into the empty jar. When the empty jar becomes the full jar the students will have earned a special reward of their choosing (within reason of course).
My mentor teacher and I have extended a similar currency over the behavioral management of our students. We have a metaphorical “bank” in place with accounts for each of our students. This bank stores both positive and negative emotions. If we reprimand a student for not following a procedure, we must deduct from this bank. If we deduct too much from the bank it will go into a negative balance. When this happens we observe further student outbreaks. To prevent this from happening we accrue a large amount of positive remarks in the bank. We observe everything our students do and complement them on their work and behavior whenever we can so that we can prepare in the event that we do need to make a negative withdrawal when a student slips in their behavior. Thus far this has built an atmosphere of respect in our classroom.
Both my mentor teacher and I believe in preventative behavioral management. I must admit as a new teacher in the profession I am still far behind in the department of preventative behavioral management, but my mentor teacher has quite a few years behind him that lend a great deal of experience. We can generally predict when a student is going to have an outburst. We can see their behavior begin to boil over like a capped tea kettle. I have learned thus far that astute observation of behavior is the best way to stay ahead of a classroom. As Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody would say, “Constant Vigilance!”
While we do have a comprehensive list of rules in our classroom, I didn’t think it was necessary to delve into all of our procedures. I figured a general overview of how we go about our regulations would suffice for this blog.