Tips for new teachers......
Rules and consequences
As a new teacher it is extremely important that you set very clear rules from day one with your students. You might want to ask the manager or owner of your school about this, but normally, one of the best ways to inform students about the rules is by posting them on the wall. Students will of course need to be constantly reminded of the rules orally, but a visual reminder often makes the rules more tangible.
Of course, what would rules be without consequences? You might not be able to make these up yourself because the school you work in may have certain policies already in place. On the opposite end of things, you may find yourself working at a school that is chaotic and prefers not to have rules for fear of “scaring off students.” The school I talked about in my “Disorganized School” story was one such school. The owner of that school in Korea didn’t want us to consequence students in any way, even if their behavior was bad because he was afraid the school would lose customers. Luckily not all schools are like that.
The consequences you choose to go with your new rules will of course have to be fair and not extreme. The most important thing for you as a new teacher to remember is that you must always maintain those consequences. Sometimes a teacher may say something like, “If you speak during quiet reading one more time then you will have an extra homework page.” The student then does speak again, the teacher tells them to be quiet, but forgets to give the homework page. Those students, as well as the others in the class, have just learned something very important about the teacher. They’ve learned that the teacher’s threats are hollow. From that moment on, the students will continue to probe and push, seeing how far they can get with their new teacher.
Many years ago, the first mentor teacher I had during a student teaching practicum in Canada told me, “Kevin, if you talk the talk you better walk the walk. If you tell students they will have to stay in at lunch as a punishment, be prepared to give up your own lunch to watch them.” Valuable words. If the kids in your class (this of course doesn’t apply to adult learners) know there will always be repercussions for breaking rules, most of them won’t break the rules or at least not as often.
You can also read an interview with me about self-publishing on the Our Man in Abiko blog! Check it out today.