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. Satire v. Sarcasm I teach to my AP Language students. This is satire because you CARE about your target and want to effect change. Spot on and hilariously written! The kids see themselves in some or all of these and hopefully will change their behavior.

  2. Yes to everything about this! And don’t forget to add: “Whine every time homework is assigned because why the hell not.”

  3. Oh good…I thought I was the only one who thought this way! 🙂 Hilarious! Thanks for being honest…it’s the only way to keep perspective and continue this wonderful journey in education!

  4. Love, love, love!!!! Spot on, hilarious, and let’s not for amazing!! Your addendum is also one of the greatest things I’ve ever read!! Thank you for posting.

  5. You also forgot, “Please feel free to go to the restroom anytime you choose. You are even encouraged to approach me while I’m explaining the instructions on the test you are about to take for me to sign your hall pass. Additionally, take as much time as you need – perhaps 15 to 20 minutes – to go to the restroom, get a sip of water, walk the long way around the building, stopping by the lost-and-found, and peeking in to wave at a favorite past teacher. The time you are missing from the classroom is of no importance, and your absence will have no consequences.”

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your message. 🙂

  6. Do you mind if I translate this into Korean for my students’ parents? They don’t understand satire and seem to think that this is how a class should be run.

  7. As a recently retired teacher of English, I related to what you are saying. I would amend #9. “Start every other sentence with the interjection “well.” It makes me feel as if you’re right there talking to me.” I would include….If you realize that you are using the word well too often, please feel free to use so or and then. Using these three, well, so, and then, your paper will be remarkable.

  8. This teacher of 35 years gets your satirical rant and imagines that your students adore you. Trolls are everywhere in comment sections. I recommend taking the stance of The British royal monarchs, “Never complain, never explain.” After all, you ARE the Queen of your classroom. Gotta go. It’s time to hold court in mine.

    1. That’s actually Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister. I know because I teach AP European History…and because it is written on a coffee mug I just bought in Homegoods (just so my kids could see it!)

  9. How about when you ask if there are any questions, feel free to ask if I dye my hair, or if the sweater I’m wearing has to be dry cleaned. There is no such thing as a stupid question.

  10. This is hilarious! I will definitely be sharing it with my teacher friends! I think this is written more about older students, and I work in an Elementary school, but most of these still apply in some way and I’m sure any teacher of any grade level can appreciate it!

  11. I’m assuming those negative posts come from people who don’t teach high school English. If they did then they would get the humor and understand we laugh, and it’s not a Vicious attack. All of those questions and scenarios are real and sometimes you just have to laugh! Loved it!

  12. Thank you, it has been a rough couple of weeks and this makes me realize. That it’s passion I’m feeling more. Smile and make them wonder why!

  13. How about: “Did I miss anything while I was absent?” No, we just decided to sit here and talk about how sad we were that you were gone.

  14. And if you are wondering if you missed anything important yesterday, while you were absent, the answer is no, we stopped class just for you.

  15. That’s frickin hilarious! I have older students, and I believe most of them were your students in the past as they exibit most of the traits you just described.

    Don’t worry about the “Trolls” because they are jealous that you are able to read and write and stream concious thought into written form.

    Thank you!

  16. You must teach middle school, as this fits my 8th grade English classes perfectly! This year I made an illustrated rules PowerPoint and on one slide I made note to mention that contrary to popular belief I don’t manufacture pencils in my freetime nor do I have a closet full of secret candy :c).

  17. This was awesome. Humor is essential when you are teaching. It helps you get through those really tough days and enjoy your students

  18. When passing in papers, please remember that this is ample and adequate time for talking and catching up on all that is not yet on social media.

  19. One I get all the time…….We will be going on vacation so will you please just get all the work together ,a weeks worth, and we will see if we can get it done while we are away,

  20. Science teacher here. Sometimes, my reply to “are we doing anything today?” is: “of course we are, otherwise your being here is a waste of clean socks”. And then I would go on and on about how the use of water, soap, and electricity affected the environment…or some other crazy related phrase

  21. I love this – I find myself saying some of these things as well. I love when they forget to put their names on something they’ve typewritten and forget their name. I tell them that I didn’t recognize their font… Or when they label a graph with “my little bar graph”, in case I didn’t recognize that….

  22. About the plastic covers that someone mentioned – I used to tell my kids that if they used them the first thing I would do is to take the paper out, staple it, and then throw away the plastic cover. Where did kids get the idea that they impressed teachers with a plastic cover?

  23. This was unbelievably funny. It’s funny how students in different schools exhibit the same behavior. Thanks for the good laugh!

  24. I teach freshmen Algebra 1. Need I say more to those who are groaning? I had a particularly trying week and by the oddest means, this post helped me to see I am not alone. Thanks so much to you and the other responders.

  25. I absolutely loved it. I teach high school Math, and I identified with every statement. My colleague (also a Math teacher) shared it with me. This is one hilarious, intelligent and insightful piece of writing!

  26. I teach 2nd and 3rd grade (and I am a male) and laughed a lot…i could see how someone might misinterpret this without the addendum. however, everyone knows the first rule of comedy-it has to be true to be funny. if it was not true, it would not be funny! I loved it.

  27. Love this!!! Math teacher who also gets many if these… Also forgot the one where they come and say, “I’m going to be absent for the next week… Will you give me all my work?” Because I already have everything ready, printed and prepared in a nice packet ready to go…. Knowing that even if that were true, you could take and understand all the notes without actually hearing the explanations.Furthermore if you don’t understand, I know you’ll be sure and check my website that I never mention for the work we completed in class with everything posted that you may need.

  28. The point of our profession is not to add meaning to our lives, it is to add value to those we teach. I am not humorless or unfamiliar with some of the sentiment contained in your self generated list based on what must be weeks of experience in the classroom. I also recognize well your attempt to inoculate yourself from criticism through your protestations and blame shifting. Perhaps if students arrive to your classroom not expecting to do much you need not look far for the reasons why, you self absorbed, self important, vulgar disgrace to the profession I have practiced for more than thiry years. Have a nice day!

      1. “Oh dear”, is right! I have worked with many teachers and all are dedicated to their work and love their kids but few have the awesome sense of humour that you have. I will print this list of rules and duct tape it to the door of my teenager’s rooms so they can remember that teachers (and parents) are human too. How kids behave in class says more about the kids themselves and their parents than the type of teacher you are. Keep up the good work!

    1. You have to develop a sense of humor on some days. You must be at the perfect school with perfect children to not experience any of these.

  29. HA!!! Thank you for this hilarious post!!! I needed to read this today!! ❤ from another young teacher who has a sense of humor. 😉

    1. I appreciate every single one of these, and as a young teacher who thinks humor is sometimes the only way to reach students, I hope I find a school where I could post something like this, because every single one of these is soooooo true! You rock!

  30. a friend and I have been adding to the list….

    #14: “Please ask if you can go to the washroom 2 minutes into the class immediately after lunch! Why would we expect you to take care of your personal needs during the 50 minutes of free time you get EVERY DAY at the exact same time?!”

    #15: “please show up without a binder, or at minimum, a binder without paper. There is NO WAY that in the next 50 minutes we would have to write anything down. You won’t likely get a critically important piece of paper during the class… like the pre-copied set of my teaching notes that your IPP/ IEP demands.”

    #16: Please show up the day of a field trip without a form signed by your parents (or legal guardian). My life is SO MUCH richer for having this conversation for the 300th time…

    Teacher to student : “You can’t go on the field trip without your form signed” as we are about to leave for the field trip and student has had more than a weeks notice to get the form signed.
    Student: “Well, can’t you just call my mom right now?”
    Teacher: “Yeah, sure we can make everyone wait while I call your mom!”

  31. Oh my goodness! You are hilarious and this is all completely true -just in three classes today. Plus the past 20 years so I’m an old vibrant teacher and I think this is awesome!

  32. I’m not a teacher, but can relate to almost all of your examples of wasted time. This is hilarious, and I loved it. To the critics— just don’t read it and if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!!!

  33. Whatever happened to the golden rule??? Lol…and especially coming from teachers! As a teacher myself of 11 years, I found these hilarious. I even read a few to my students, who understand my sarcasm and laughed along. Well done Abbybyrd! And you are so right…we must have a sense of humor in this profession! It’s obvious you love your job and enjoy what you do. I’d love for my child to have you as a teacher!

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