- No food or drinks of any kind in class except for water bottles (with clear water). If you have food or beverage in class you will put it on my desk until after class. That seems pretty straight forward, right? Twenty minutes after we went through this rule, a student pulled out a bag of Cheetos and started munching away. However, this is nothing compared to what another teacher experienced this week. A girl sits down in her class and pulls out of her purse (which was clearly purchased at the Mary Poppins Handbag Store) a bowl. Then she pulls out a FULL SIZE BOX OF CEREAL and pours it into the bowl. Then she pulls out a pint of milk, pours it on the cereal, and begins eating. Sigh...
- Electronics should be turned off and out of sight. This includes headphones—they should not be in your ears when the bell rings. If I see or hear it, it will be turned in to an administrator. No exceptions. <Note that this is not my policy, nor is it just school policy--this is COUNTY POLICY>. Remember DeShaun and DeWayne the Twins? Well, mere moments after I review the electronics policy DeShaun gets out his cell phone. I confiscate it and put it on my desk. DeShaun grabs it off my desk again when I am not looking. I confiscate it again and write a referral. When I called DeShaun's mother and told her that not only had he violated a policy I had just gone over in class, one that he already knew about, but that he had gone into my drawer to get it back, she asked why I couldn't make an exception AND pointed out that since the phone was DeShaun's, he had every right to take it back. More on her in a minute.
- If you are not seated when the bell rings, you will be considered tardy. This is actually a new policy that I decided to adopt after several other teachers had success with it. The issue is that students come in and then it takes me ten minutes to get them settled down and to work. Every day I have a "Bell Ringer" on the board. However, that alone is not enough to get them on task quickly. This new policy resulted in near mutiny in several of my classes, with two walk outs, and multiple demands to speak to an administrator immediately. I told them the administrator had read and approved the classroom expectations, something he reiterated when he poked his head in class a few minutes later. The grumbling continued. We'll see how many tardies I have next period.
- Unless I have said you can work together there should be no talking while I am teaching or while you are doing classwork. For crying out loud, why is this so hard to understand? Every time I have to stop and tell you to shut up, not only are you wasting your time and my time, you are wasting the rest of the class's time (not that they care). Which brings me back to DeWayne, Twin #2. DeWayne was in ISD today and when I called to discuss DeShaun's cell phone issue, their mother actually said these words "Why did you kick DeWayne out of class? Were you just having a bad day?" "No ma'm," I replied, "I was not having a bad day at all. However, DeWayne had been moved to another seat because of his talking. He came in and sat in his old seat. I asked him to move. He did not. Then I asked him again--this time he moved, but to the wrong seat. I had to ask him a third time before he finally moved to the correct seat. Then he began beat boxing while I was teaching. I asked him to stop. Two minutes later, he started up again. That was when I kicked him out of class--after I had to stop instruction five times to redirect him on behaviors that he clearly knew were inappropriate." That was when she launched into the "We're a Christian household" speech again. After that conversation, I emailed my administrator and told her I would not be contacting that parent again, as it was pointless.
- Each day you are expected to bring your Writer’s Notebook, SSR (Student Selected Reading), paper and something to write with. I will no longer provide pens and pencils. I have gone through about 75 pens and pencils since school started. I never get them back. Another teacher told me that she went to the Dollar Store and bought a giant pencil and offered that to write with. Clever, but I am not even going to waste my time doing that. If you are in 11th grade and you haven't figured out that you need something to write with in class, you deserve to fail.
That's pretty much it. Now I ask you, are any of these unreasonable? To me, it is ridiculous that I have to go over these rules once, much less twice. However, it is what it is, and I am trying to meet them where they are versus where I would like them to be.