Rules…Who Makes the Teachers Enforce Them? C&I 579 Blog #1

From Josh Stumpenhorst, “Stump the Teacher”
“Rules…are for the Teachers” Posted Friday, May 4, 2012
Link to original post:

The gum chewing conversation came about because many teachers were not enforcing the rule and some sit in front of their class chewing it themselves. Yes, I realize gum chewing is not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. However, if it is a school rule it must be enforced universally or it causes confusion among students and pits teachers against each other. I am labeled a “mean teacher” if I follow the rule we have in our handbook when others are not. So, this rule discussion was really not about kids chewing gum, but more about teacher’s enforcing a rule or not…
On a total sidebar, I laugh at the number of teachers who are constantly on their cell phones during school hours texting, emailing, updating status and playing games right in front of the students. What message does that send the kids when the staff won’t even follow the rules set for the students?…
Many of the other rules we discussed in the open forum had similar themes. More than once I heard, “it is too hard to enforce that rule.” I heard very few people mention what was in the best interest of the student’s and their learning environment. It may just be me, but I saw evidence that many of my school’s rules were a product of not keeping kids safe or protecting the learning environment. What I did see was rules being created because teachers were afraid to step up and enforce existing rules, or to step up and recognize learning opportunities and not punishment opportunities.
I wonder how many schools have rules established for the sake of the adults rather than for the sake of the kids.
Phil’s Response (7 June 2012): Josh,
I know exactly how you feel and precisely what it is like to be the “bad guy” because I enforce the rules. Yes, we have rules that I deem to be silly, but those are the rules that the administration or the teachers said were important, but they become a problem when some staff either ignore the rule or worse, blatantly do the opposite. Like you I often feel that the problem with most rules is not the students, but with the teachers.
On a side note, it is even worse if the administration will not do anything about the teachers who do not follow the rules. (Note to administrators, please tell the people who ARE breaking the rules, do not send an email to everyone.)
As for cell phones, we need to learn to make technology and communication inside of school more closely resemble those outside of school.

About pgpulley

Social Sciences teacher teaching History of Western Civilization, World Cultures, Media (video production) and dual credit Communications. Finishing my doctorate in Teaching and Learning at Illinois State University with a focus on educational technology and flipped classrooms.
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