We Can with Two Rules-Wednesday (21)

Posted by Brenda Yoho

Routine

Back to school means routines! Establishing routines is best for students, staff, and families. When we know what we are doing throughout the day, it helps all of us be prepared. As leaders, we need them too!

Your best, most effective asset for communicating the Two Rules to students is yourself. Allocate time every day to be in the hallways with students--and not with the primary goal of monitoring their behavior. The primary goal of hallway time is to connect with students, to say hello, to say a word of praise, and to let them know that they are valued members of your school community. 

Spend your lunch hour with them in the cafeteria. Talk with them about their school projects. Learn the composition of their friendship networks and ensure every student has one. Make it clear that you are there to interact positively with them and are their ally. Say their name when you speak to them--that one thing means more to students than you may realize. 

Thank students at every opportunity for the work they are doing to help everyone feel good and feel safe. When you see a student intervening in a verbal bullying situation, thank them for their actions to make their school a safe place. When you see two students working through a conflict, thank them for choosing to work hard to help each other feel good. When you notice that a student has modified their hallway behavior, thank them for working to keep everyone safe during passing times. 

Make it clear to each student that their safety is important to you and that you want to make sure they feel good while they are at school. These ideas may surprise students at first. They may be used to hearing that rules are rules and that breaking them means consequences that separate them from their friends through detention, suspension, or even expulsion. The list of rules in the handbook may seem daunting to them, and they may be worried that they won’t be able to follow all of them. But when all of those rules are slotted into two categories that are clearly about their well-being, and they learn a simple tool that will help them follow all school policies, their attitude toward rules may change. They may become invested in working to follow them.

Help everyone see Two Rules is all you need to have a learning environment where everyone feels good and safe. Teaching children all of the skills involved in this philosophy will naturally build on the foundation required to make the foundations of resilience needed through life. When we can follow routines, we can monitor students. We can see changes in their routines, behavior, and physical appearance. When we see changes, we can respond accordingly and can prevent, in many cases, further issues. Building positive relationships is a great way to create a positive school culture. Still, when students know they have trusted adults, they can begin to understand genuine, supportive relationships.

**A tip for you:  You carry a cell phone with you.  Plug into the phone information you have collected on your visits in the hallway from staff and students.  Example:  Mr. Wolf says he is worried about his wife’s upcoming doctor appointment to discuss having surgery.  Plug into your phone a reminder to send a message of thinking of you to him before the meeting.  Any data you collect will be helpful to plug into your phone to follow up on.

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2024 Brenda Yoho
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