Rules, rules and more rules!

In three days we have created many rules in addition to the four school- wide rules that already existed, which were simply:

  1. Be respectful of people and property.
  2. Be where you are supposed to be.
  3. Raise your hand and wait to be called on.
  4. Keep your hands, feet, and objects to yourself.

Common sense tells us that those four rules should cover just about anything.   Unfortunately, they do not and as a result  we are busy creating a plethora of minute rules to cover various situations.  We  currently have 28.

Problems.   We have problems.  Many, many problems.  We choose not to adhere to the fundamental principle that we can choose anything as long as it does not disturb the learning and quiet enjoyment of others.  We, through our choices, do disturb others.  As a result, a problem occurs, which we then have to solve as a group,  much to their chagrin.

We need rules to just show us where to sit because students chose to sit in places where they could not see or hear what was going on.  We need rules to tell us that we should not get up and wander around while we were having a meeting.  We need a rule to state that one person talks at a time, even though that was already a  school rule!

Students abhor the class meeting time.  They would rather have a flip – flop dynamic of anarchy and  be controlled,  anarchy and be controlled. They enjoy rebelling against the teacher-created rules.  However, now, they are rebelling against  their own choices and the rules they create.   How uncomfortable! They are reluctant to to be responsible for their choices and actions.  This state of disequilibrium  is exactly where we want them to be.  They can have the freedom to make choices.  They  will be responsible for their choices.  We are hoping that taking ownership of their actions  will eventually make them learn to make wiser more reasoned choices.

Interestingly, some people think that these students are too young to be held accountable or responsible for their choices.  I beg to differ on that note.  If a child is old enough to make a choice then they can be taught also to be responsible for their choice and accept the consequence, no matter what the age.  At what age do we hold them accountable?  I say begin as soon as they make choices.  Of course it looks different at every age.

Many middle school children do amazing things.  They raise money for charity, volunteer in the community, advocate for others. They posses incredible athletic, academic and social skills.  These adolescences who are capable of great things are able to stand up for all the choices they make. I believe if we set the bar high they will rise to soar over it.


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