New Classroom Rules

1. Enter the room and socialize at your leisure. The daily “warm-up” is just a suggestion that is not in any way intended to promote the acquisition of grammar skills over necessary social interactions.

2. Every time you enter the room, please be sure to ask me if we’re watching a movie. I may have neglected to plan a movie, and will quickly be reminded that a feature-length film, however loosely connected to the curriculum, will be both more entertaining and more instructive than whatever lesson I had originally planned.

3. Sit wherever you want. If you feel like sitting. Standing up is good, too, or sitting on top of the chair and rocking in it. It’s important for those of you who are kinesthetic learners to feel comfortable.

4. Please don’t put your name on any papers that you turn in, especially on multiple choice quizzes. I enjoy challenging myself to match each of your 125 identities with the intricacies of the way you form the first four letters of the alphabet.

5. When I say “Pass your papers up,” what I really mean is, “Pass your paper to the person either to the left or right of you. Or behind you. Or just keep your paper at your desk; it doesn’t matter.”

6. When I say, “Put your papers in a stack,” what I really mean is, “Throw your papers in a pile facing all different directions. Unless you don’t want to put your paper in the pile. Which is fine too, because I don’t want to stifle your individuality.”

7. When preparing formal essays, feel free to abandon all conventions in the interest of expressing your creativity. For example, use titles like “My Super-Awesome Essay.” Festoon your papers with patterned borders, and use interesting fonts in colors such as bubblegum pink and seafoam green. Making your font size extremely large ensures that I can read your essay from very far away. Making your font size extremely tiny serves as a gentle reminder to visit the eye doctor. Either is encouraged. Or, alternate a sentence in very large type with a sentence in very small type. That keeps me focused.

8. Read your essay aloud. Then put commas wherever you breathe.

9. Start every other sentence with the interjection “well.” It makes me feel as if you’re right there talking to me.

10. Use the time when I’m giving directions to multitask. Doodle, stare into space, gesture to someone across the room, pick your nose. Even if you don’t hear how to differentiate among the four types of noun clauses, it’s still good for me to practice explaining it, just so I don’t forget! LOL!

11. Sharpen your pencil at any time, even if you have to walk in front of me while I’m talking to do it, and even if the incessant grinding of the sharpener drowns out anything I might be saying.

12. It is a good idea to verify all directions by asking the same question three, four, or five times.

13. Encourage your parents to email me often, and to use capital letters, multiple exclamation points, and an accusatory tone to get my attention and ensure that I will respond promptly.

All classes this year will involve parties with piñatas, paper-wad basketball, and hair braiding. Should I bore you at any time, please raise your hand and I will unzip my face to reveal that I am actually a magical giraffe-llama-unicorn hybrid who will entertain you with magic tricks and grant each of you 500 extra credit points in addition to a lucrative career in which you will not have to write coherently or have any knowledge of grammar.


Looking forward to a fun year!

Holy shit IT’S RAINING CANDY!!! Or prescription drugs, I can’t really tell which.

352 thoughts on “New Classroom Rules

  1. I copied this for my daughter’s teachers this year as a ‘welcome back’ joke. They all loved it. I’m not a teacher, but I see these things happening with kids every day in school. It is a skill to take a frustration and turn it into something funny. I applaud teachers and support them. I don’t know how they do it with the type of kids that are in school today. Thanks for the smiles. Please keep writing.

  2. I think this awesome! I have taught for 18 years, 10 of which have been at the middle level. I plan to use this list on the 2nd day of school this year with my 8th graders as my “rules” . I’m sure it will lend itself nicely to some lovely discussions about what our classroom norms and expectations should actually be.
    Well done.

  3. I’m 56 and a former military officer, and I loved this! I could have added a few more: Go ahead a pack up as noisily as possible while I wrap up and go over your assignment for tonight. I’m sure that you can multitask and/or get this information on Facebook after school by using your 21st century skills.

  4. Reblogged this on Copycate and commented:
    This post was written last year by Little Miss Perfect (Abby – a teacher, writer, and grammarian). Her eternally relevant list of Classroom Rules should be posted in every middle school and high school…just so its clear…
    Check out her latest post about Winnie the Pooh’s stint in rehab…hilarious!

  5. Snicker! Thanks for putting it in writing. These are the type of things that run through my head throughout the day. I I think finding humor in things that drive you nuts is better than getting angry or frustrated. Thanks for the laugh!

  6. I have been teaching High School Spanish since 1975 (yes, that’s 40 years ) and I would not have lasted this long without a sense of humor. This is hysterical !

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