05 May 2013

Rules to live by

When I taught year sevens I had three classroom rules.  All three were introduced on the first day of the school year.  

Rule # 1 was issued right at the beginning of the day.  Day one, minute one, every year (apart from my first year of teaching) would go something like this...

"Good morning everyone.  My name is Mrs (insert my surname here) and in this classroom, if you ever think you are going to vomit, there is no need to raise your hand and ask if you can leave the classroom.  You can just run right out the door.  Try to get to the toilet.  Or at least get to somewhere where I won't need to clean the vomit up.  Because if you vomit near me there is every chance I will vomit near you."

It was always a light way to start the school year.  These were the big kids I was talking to and the boys especially seemed to like it.  But I wasn't trying to be all that funny.  It was a classroom rule that was borne out of a Very. Bad. Experience in my first year of teaching involving a sick child and his desk drawer.  Ghastly.

I would introduce rule # 2 a bit later on in the day.  It was more for the boys than the girls and it went like this.

"You will find during this year that you probably need to start wearing deodorant.  And starting from tomorrow you must wear new socks and new undies EVERY day."

Some would look at me aghast.  Why was the need to wear clean underwear such a shock to them?  That's just wrong.  But good for public health purposes to make it right.

Rule # 3 would be introduced at the end of the first day. 

"Be nice to your teacher and be nice to your mummy and all will go well for you."

They would snort and roll their eyes at me for calling their mums "mummy" but eventually they would get used to it.  And they liked it.  It gave them one more year to be small children in a safe place.  And I restated that rule at the end of nearly every school day - hopefully it meant for a good re-entry into family life after a day in the classroom.
Turns out these classroom rules transfer into real life.

If you think you are going to vomit, try to be thoughtful of those around you and do it in a courteous manner.
Wear deodorant and clean underwear every day.
Be nice to your teacher (or your boss/those in authority over you/even those with whom you just spend most of the day) and your mummy (or those with whom you share your house) and all will go well for you.

Great rules to live by.  Who would have guessed? 


Deb said...

Oh, Meredith, that list made my day! I've spent most of my teaching career in Year 6 and Year 7 so I can imagine exactly how that would go down in a classroom. Hilarious! And great rules!!!

Meredith said...

Thanks Deb. I actually had a fairly sober post in mind for this topic and started in on this by way of an introduction. And then it just seemed to be enough. It made me laugh to remember it - and I still cringe slightly that rule # 2 was such a shock to so many (boys).

Deb said...

And sorry that I didn't get to do my own post on the topic this week. I was thinking on it for days and days but no inspiration came!

Meredith said...

No worries Deb. As I suggested with Ali, maybe you would like to suggest a topic for the future and then you get the heads up on the content! Let me know if you want to make a suggestion. Hope you are well and that term has got underway smoothly.