As I get ready for the new school year, these are the rules I wish I could have for my classroom! I wrote them a few years ago and have always been tempted to hand them out on the first day of school.
The 21 Rules of Mr. Anderson’s Classroom
1. All incoming paper that you want me to read, grade, or review goes into the wire basket on my desk. There is no better place than the wire basket for you to submit your work, including my hands. My hands are much different than the wire basket on my desk.
2. My desk is not a rummage sale. One day, you will have office supplies of your very own, and then you will understand. Until then, please refrain from manhandling the items on my desk.
3. Leave the plants on my desk alone. There are days unknown to you when the well-being of my plants outranks the well-being of my students. Don’t make me pick; you might not win.
4. There may be times when I ask your entire class to spend a moment or two straightening desks or picking up some trash off the floor. Often, it’s not even your trash. The Supreme Court has determined that this is neither cruel nor unusual.
5. There are no fewer than one million tasks that I must absolutely accomplish during any given passing period. I love you, but this is a poor time to ask me to explain quantum physics.
6. I absolutely do not allow students to have food or drink in my classroom, yet I drink several cups of coffee a day while teaching. Scientists are still working to unravel this mysterious paradox.
7. If I see you with food or drink, I’m going to take it away from you, and you will not get it back. This policy will seem reasonable until it is applied to you. Then it will seem like a felony.
8. Can you still turn this in? Sweetie, there is no such thing as a grade lower than zero, so you don’t have much to lose. Hand it in and let’s see what happens.
9. In a ceremony that has lasted thousands of years, I have been bestowed with magical powers that tell me when you want to go to the bathroom just because you are bored.
10. Will handing this in raise your grade? Honey, adding one number to another number will give you a bigger number. This is the basis for all mathematics. Doing your homework might be surprising, but it doesn’t change modern math.
11. I cannot believe you wore that to school today.
12. Dude, I didn’t lose your homework assignment. You didn’t turn it in. I’ve been teaching for almost as long as you’ve been alive, and I know how to use paperclips.
13. You took your sweet time to turn it in; I’m going to take my sweet time to grade it.
14. If you can have favorite teachers, I can have favorite students. We tend to be nice to people who are nice to us. That doesn’t change much, no matter how old you get.
15. Stop asking me if I got your email. I’m just going to turn around and ask you if you got my reply to your email, and we both know the answer to that question.
16. If Joan of Arc can liberate France before she turned eighteen, you could start putting your name on your assignments. I have that much faith in you.
17. Yes, dear, we did do something in class yesterday. We saw that you were absent and somehow gathered the courage to move on without you. Here’s your homework assignment. It’s due tomorrow.
18. What do you mean “what’s on the test?” I’ve just spent the last three weeks telling you what’s on the test.
19. I cannot believe you forwarded that email to me.
20. Sometimes I’m tempted to take you down to the junior high so that you can meet the other kids in your graduating class.
21. There are days when I love you more than you love yourself, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to accept anything less than your very best.