My dearly beloved wife is starting a new year teaching (6th grade) and is laying out some classroom rules.
I’ve never been, let’s say, a particularly avid fan of rules, but I really liked these and asked her permission to post them here. So here they are, the
Accountable students understand that everything has a consequence: good or bad.
Accountable students take responsibility for their actions and the outcomes that follow. Accountable students don’t blame others.
Accountable students know they won’t always make the right decisions and that’s okay. Accountable students own up to their mistakes and try to make the situation right and accept what follows.
Accountable students know that they can only control themselves and their actions.
Resilient students understand that hard work leads to success, not “being smart”.
Resilient students are unafraid to ask for help: from the teacher, from other students, from other adults in their lives.
Resilient students know there’s nothing wrong with not being good at something right away. A resilient student isn’t afraid to ask a question or give a wrong answer. Resilient students enjoy the process of learning something new.
Resilient students know that if they gave up learning to ride a bike because they got a few bruises, they wouldn’t know how to ride a bike today.
Resilient students try hard and stick with it.
Caring students try to understand other people. A caring student knows that each person they meet deserves respect and kindness.
Caring students reach out when someone else is having a hard time, even if that person is not their friend. They understand the power of a kind word or action.
Caring students are brave enough to offer help. Caring students strive not to bring anyone else down. Caring students don’t use their words or actions to bring anyone down.
Honest students don’t pretend to be anything they are not.
Honest students don’t change themselves to please anyone else: they are honest about who they are to themselves and to others.
I was, if I may say so myself, extremely impressed by Mrs. Klipfel’s articulation of these values, what with her hodgepodge of growth mindset, autonomy-support, empathic caring, and existentialism. They embody qualities of character not only necessary for learning in the 6th grade, but for lifelong learning, and personal fufillment. I think they’re also a really interesting example of how we can build in a growth mindset directly into the structure of a classroom and one’s classroom management policy.