Unwritten Rules Every Teacher Should Know

Ten Reasons New Teachers May Find Difficulties with the Hidden Rules in a School

  1. There may be a disconnect between the information that is published for faculty and staff and what is the actual, accepted practice in their schools.


2. New teachers may not have sufficient opportunities to observe other teachers as they instruct and interact with students. New teachers need role models.

3. Inexperienced teachers are frequently so over whelmed with the newness of each day’s activities that they can miss subtle nuances of behavior, expectations, and other important information.

4. New teachers often lack the experience to interpret unfamiliar situations accurately.

5. New teachers not only underestimate, but can also overestimate their knowledge, their personal skill levels, and their understanding of school issues.

6. New teachers may not want to ask questions when the answers may appear obvious to others. No one wants to appear less than intelligent in front of colleagues.

7. Unless information is explicit, it can be open to various levels of interpretation and enforcement.

8. Mentors and other induction leaders often need to focus on nuts and bolts issues at the start of a school year and don’t have an opportunity to convey information about the hidden rules of their school.

9. Too much is too new for inexperienced teachers to rely on past events, their intuition, or common sense as they make judgments that affect their students’ well-being.

10. Relying on unofficial information such as gossip can lead to even more confusion for inexperienced teachers.

Other, more trustworthy resources for new teachers to learn about the hidden rules of their profession could include:

• Professional Organizations

• Observation of other teachers

• Collaboration with other teachers


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