“In some situations, it doesn’t matter so much what the boundaries are. It just matters that you have them.”
Rules for the sake of rules sounds like power-mongering or an abuse of power to me. What am I missing?
An Anabaptist Resource for Teaching and Learning
Students bring minds bent towards sin and hearts hurt by a fallen world. In this video, three educators discuss the power of clear guidelines to bring students security and discipline. The three speak out of a commitment to excellence and rich experience in diverse educational settings.
Hilary: I think when students see that you expect, then they will respect.
Esther: As a classroom teacher, there’s a great opportunity for you to set a culture, to set expectations in the classroom.
Brian: We need to have rules, we need to not back away from this idea that boundaries are important. We can expect the children we work with to test our boundaries.
Hilary: Students, no matter what class they might face before they walk into school, they can fulfill those expectations that you set for them. There are a few, there are exceptions to that, I have experienced that.
Brian: In some cases depending on a situation, it doesn’t matter so much what the boundaries are, it just matters that you have them.
Esther: Especially in their first week, I attempted to go over my expectations every day.
Brian: They’re going to push those boundaries, it doesn’t matter where you set that line, and it’s going to go back and forth and sometimes they’ll cross your line and go way outside and you got to go bring them back in, but set boundaries. It’s okay to have rules. Our culture is one that doesn’t have rules or boundaries or standards. I think it’s important that we set boundaries.
Esther: For them to see that you’re serious about this and that you’re going to hold to your word.
Hilary: Quietly ask for respect and you will get it.
Brian: Expect them to cross your lines and then you just have an opportunity to teach some more when those rules are broken. As a child grows and becomes older, you open up those boundaries and give a little more freedom.
Hilary: In enforcing classroom expectations, there’s a firmness that comes with it that I didn’t always enjoy, but I knew that if I didn’t keep that, then it will become loose and students just wouldn’t rise to your expectations then.
Brian: It’s really a spiritual issue to learn to stay inside the boundaries.
Esther: I love the idea of a team. As a team at school and whatever different personalities that come in, whatever different home situations they come in and we can become a part of that team and they can fulfill those expectations.
Hilary: Students thrive on consistency and structure.When they see that, they feel safe and in that safety, there’s security and their performance and their relationships. When you can keep that firmness then you can also be fun and incorporate different and creative ways of teaching without things getting out of hand.
Hilary Martin taught in Anabaptist schools for ten years. She is currently secretary at Shalom Mennonite School in Terre Hill, PA.
Esther King is a teacher and cook at Tidings of Peace Christian School in York, PA.
Brian Martin is the director of Allegany Boys’ Camp in Oldtown, MD. This video contains excerpts from his presentation “Working with Generation iY” given at REACH 2017. For a recording of the full presentation, visit Christian Learning Resource.
CONTRIBUTOR: Hilary Martin Esther King Brian Martin
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