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Best Classroom Procedures?

I came across an article from Scholastic with the title, "30 Classroom Procedures to Head Off Behavior Problems." When I opened the link, the list of procedures had the following caveat: "You can adapt them to your grade level and school setting." The list itself is fairly generic and covers a wide swath of general behavior expectations for a classroom learning environment.


My interest is not in any specific procedure but what they all share in common - know how and when to behave in a classroom (why is not a question on the test).


"Know how and when to behave in a classroom."

My First Year of Teaching

I remember my first year of teaching. I remember the lists of procedures I had vetted and filtered so I would be ready for that first week. I had every intention of expecting my students how to behave the way I've seen students behave in the past - things like:

  • how and when to line up before entering the classroom,

  • how and when to enter the classroom and go directly to their assigned seats,

  • how and when to manage materials on their desks and in the classroom,

  • how and when to raise their hand before asking questions,

  • how and when to specifically ask to use the restroom or sharpen their pencil.

Now, after years of working with upper elementary and middle school students in public, private, and charter schools, I have steadily come to realize that the reason I need to spend this time teaching upper elementary and middle school students such procedures is because they are *expecting* me to teach these procedures. It has come to feel as if teaching procedures is addressing more of a liability issue, as if students will say, "You didn't tell me not to do something, and you're the boss, so I have no liability for what I claim to not already know."


“You’re the boss...” - and therein lies the problem.


There is a concept of Structure and Organization in Organizational Culture that defines and categorizes value of people, nature, goods and services, and the relationships between them. In this case, the value of the relationship between a student and teacher is one of inequity and compliance - do what you are told because you are told to do so to avoid a behavior-changing consequence.


"You're the boss..."

Macro and Micro Perspective ("Zoom-out" and "Zoom-in")

Take a moment to zoom out and view this in context of a larger community. Consider your relationships with your own family members, neighbors, store owners, firefighters, local government officials. Now compare the zoomed-out differences in behavior related to these various relationships to the zoomed-in teacher-student relationship. Consid