One of the best things about teaching is that there is not an exact blueprint for success. In general, no two teachers are alike. Each has their own teaching style and classroom management routines. But while there is no blueprint for teaching, there is a certain code that teachers must live by if they want to be successful.
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The following list is a general set of rules that every teacher should live by. These rules encompass all facets of teaching, both inside and outside of the classroom.
Rule #1 – Always do what you believe to be best for your students. They should always be your number one priority. Think, how does this benefit my students? If that question is difficult to answer, you may want to reconsider.
Rule #2 – Focus on establishing meaningful, cooperative relationships. Building strong relationships with your students, peers, administrators, and parents will ultimately make your job easier.
Rule #3 – Never bring your personal problems or issues into the classroom. Leave them at home. Your students should never know when something at home is bothering you.
Rule #4 – Be open and willing to learn at all times. Teaching is a journey that will provide many opportunities to learn. You should strive to improve your teaching each and every day, even when you’ve been in the classroom for years.
Rule #5 – Always be fair and consistent. Your students are always watching to make sure you are doing this. You will undermine your own authority if they believe you are playing favorites.
Rule #6 – Parents are the cornerstone of a great education, and as such, teachers must do their part to engage even the most reluctant parents in the learning process. Provide plenty of opportunities for parents to become involved and encourage them to do so.
Rule #7 – A teacher must never put herself or himself in a compromising situation. Teachers must always be aware of their situation and never allow themselves to be vulnerable. They must maintain self-control at all times, protecting themselves and their reputation.
Rule #8 – Respect the decisions of administrators and understand that they have many responsibilities. Teachers must have a great working relationship with their administrator but respect the fact that their time is valuable.
Rule #9 – Take the time to get to know your students. Find out what they like to do and include their interests in your lessons. Establish a rapport and connection with them, and you will find that engaging them in your lessons becomes easier.
Rule #10 – Establish rules, expectations, and procedures beginning on the first day of school. Hold your students accountable for their actions. You do not have to be a dictator, but you do need to be firm, fair, and consistent. Keep in mind that you are not there to be their friend. Your students need to know that you are in always in charge.
Rule #11 – Always be willing to listen to others, including your students, and take their feedback into account. You can learn the most when you are willing to take the time to hear what others are saying. Be open minded and willing to take their advice.
Rule #12 – Own your mistakes. Teachers are not perfect, and it doesn’t help your students to pretend that you are. Instead, set the example by owning your mistakes and showing your students that mistakes can lead to learning opportunities.
Rule #13 – Work cooperatively with other teachers. Always be willing to take another teacher’s advice. Likewise, share your best practices with other teachers.
Rule #14 – Find time outside of school to decompress. Every teacher should have some sort of hobby or interest that can help them escape the daily grind of school.
Rule #15 – Always be willing to adapt and change. Teaching is always changing. There is always something newer and better to try. Try to embrace change instead of resisting it.
Rule #16 – Teachers must be flexible. Some of the best moments in teaching are born out of spontaneity. Take advantage of those teachable moments. Be willing to change your plans when another opportunity presents itself.
Rule #18 – Be your students’ biggest cheerleader. Never tell them that they cannot do something. Help them accomplish their goals by setting them on the correct path and nudging them in the right direction when they go astray.
Rule #19 – Protect your students at all cost. Always be aware of your surroundings and ensure that your students are safe and secure at all times. Practice safety procedures within your classroom at all times and never allow students to engage in reckless behavior.
Rule #20 – Take a cue from the boy scouts and always be prepared! Preparation may not necessarily guarantee success, but the lack of preparation will almost certainly ensure failure. Teachers must put in the necessary time to create meaningful lessons that engage students.
Rule #21 – Have fun! If you enjoy your work, your students will notice and they will have a more enjoyable experience as well.
Rule #22 – Never purposely embarrass or put down a student in front of their peers. If you need to discipline or correct a student, do so privately in the confines of the hallway or after class. As a teacher, you need your students to trust and respect you. Give your students a reason to do this.
Rule #23 – Go the extra mile when you can. A lot of teachers volunteer their time for things like tutoring struggling students or sponsor a group or activity. These small actions mean a lot to your students.
Rule #24 – Never fall behind in grading and recording. It can be an overwhelming and almost impossible endeavor to try and catch up. Instead, set a goal to grade and return every paper within a two- to three- day period. This not only makes your job easier, but also provides students with more relevant and timely feedback.
Rule #25 – Always be aware of and adhere to local policies and procedures. If you are not sure about something, it is better to ask and be sure than it is to make a costly mistake. As a teacher, you are responsible for ensuring that your students are following them as well.