Tips For Each Member of the School Community

In order for a school community to operate efficiently and harmoniously, each member of that community must do his or her part. If each student. teacher, parent, and administrator keeps this in mind, your school should be a relatively pleasant place to be.

Ten Tips for Students of Any Age:

  1. Remember that your behavior speaks for itself. Period.
  2. Try not to laugh when another student says or does something inappropriate. In a few years, no one will be laughing.
  3. Follow the rules. In the long run, it's just easier.
  4. Take responsibility for your behavior. Remember, behavior is a choice.
  5. Admit when you're wrong. (See #4.)
  6. Have expectations for yourself. Don't insult yourself by always making the least possible effort to get by.
  7. Keep an open mind about your classes. It might turn out that you actually enjoy them.
  8. Turn in work on time.
  9. Aim to make your teachers your allies. You really can accomplish a lot with their help.
  10. Be nice. It's easier and more productive.

Ten Tips For Teachers (anyone who has been teaching for more than a year or two probably will be familiar with these):

  1. Forget everything you learned in college about discipline. Most of the professors teaching those classes are just that: professors, not classroom teachers.
  2. Immediately identify the worst behaved kid in the class. (This won't be difficult.) Make him your assistant/ helper. You won't be sorry.
  3. Set rules. Explain them thoroughly and send home a copy for parents to sign and return. (Do this not to make sure that parents agree with your rules but merely to have written documentation that they are aware of the rules. Encourage them to come in and talk to you if they foresee a problem.)
  4. Make it clear that each student is expected to take responsibility for his/her behavior, and if he/she is "caught" behaving in an unacceptable manner, he is the one who will suffer the consequences. Assure them that diverting the blame with the words ".... but he was doing it, too," will not be tolerated.
  5. Admit when you're wrong or don't know an answer. If you can't admit that you're fallible, the kids will never forgive you, nor will they be willing to admit when they're wrong.
  6. Don't insult your students by having low expectations of them.
  7. Be passionate about the subject(s) you teach. If you aren't, you certainly can't expect your students to be.
  8. Return student work in a timely manner if you expect it to be submitted on time.
  9. Make students and parents your allies, not your adversaries.
  10. Be nice (but not naïve.)

Ten Tips For Parents

  1. Remember that teachers seldom pick on kids. They have too many other things to think about than coming up with ways to torment students.
  2. Try to restrain yourself from telling your kids stories about how "bad" you were when you were in school. This often is interpreted as permission to copy your alleged behaviors.
  3. Encourage your children to follow the rules. If you don't agree with a teacher's rule, speak to the teacher directly. Don't insult him/her by immediately contacting an administrator.
  4. Teach your children to take responsibility for their behavior. Don't listen to cries of, "but I wasn't the only one...." Make it clear that in your house, they are the only ones who count.
  5. Admit when your child is wrong, and teach him/her to do the same. In the long run, wrong equates with human for all of us.
  6. Have high expectations, both academic and behavioral. Kids usually rise to the level of expectations.
  7. Encourage your chlld to enter into each academic experience with an open mind.
  8. Expect your child to turn in work on time. Don't fall into the habit of covering for him (e.g., allowing him to stay home from school) when he has let an assignment go until the last minute.
  9. Aim to make the teachers your allies.
  10. Be nice. Please.

Ten Tips For Building Administrators:

  1. Never lose sight of the fact that you were once a student.
  2. Be visible.
  3. If you expect your teachers to be in the halls between classes, have the same expectation of yourself, whenever feasible.
  4. Learn the names of as many students as you can. (Of course, you know the names of all your teachers and the subjects they teach.... correct?)
  5. Encourage candid parent- teacher dialogues. Act as mediator only when those dialogues fail to produce positive results.
  6. Be mindful of the fact that most teachers have neither the time nor the energy to "pick on" kids.
  7. If you have a problem with the way a teacher is handling an issue such as discipline or homework policy, approach him or her in a conciliatory rather than a confrontational manner.
  8. Encourage teachers to come to you with any concerns they might have and hear them out when they do.
  9. Only make rules that you intend to enforce. (e.g., If you initiate a "no cell phone" policy, make sure there are appropriate consequences if that policy is ignored.)
  10. Be nice (unless pushed to the breaking point. Then, all bets are off.)

Finally, if everyone involved in your school would make an effort to follow these tips plus Universal Rule #11, the school community should run much more smoothly and with far less grumbling heard in the class room, in the faculty room, behind closed doors in the administrative wing, and at home.Universal Rule #11: DO NOT OPEN YOUR MOUTH WITHOUT THINKING FIRST ABOUT WHAT MIGHT COME OUT.

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