Tag Archives: teachers

Classroom Rules

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.


Two Books

One of the things that I’ve learned about getting awards is that they tend to lead to other awards and other forms of recognition. This can be a hard pill to swallow. If you don’t think you deserve the first award, then those that follow are equally awkward. Nevertheless, I’m going to do my part to shamelessly promote two books that feature yours truly:

 BOOK #1

The first book is Conversations with America’s Best Teachers: Teacher of the Year Award Winners Give Practical Advice For the Classroom and Beyond by J. William Towne. With a foreward by Kathleen McCartney, Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Conversations with America’s Best Teachers provides in-depth interviews with 18 National Teacher of the Year Award winners and finalists as they offer practical advice to all K-12 teachers and parents. Inside you will also learn about the 10 commonalities that nearly all great teachers have as well as finding out what books have helped to shape and influence these teachers (text is from the website).

I think the coolest thing about this book are the reviewers:

Conversations with America’s Best Teachers provides valuable advice and creative methods for dealing with many of the problems teachers face in classrooms all over the country. Every teacher should read this book.”

– Richard Riley
Former U.S. Secretary of Education


“This is a book you need to read if you want to be – not just a better teacher – but one of the best teachers!”
– Harry Wong
Author, The First Days of School


“Towne may not have had America’s best teachers in school, but his book provides a national service in helping create more of them. Everyone with an interest in education- and that should include everyone- should read this book and will be glad they did.”

– Milton Chen
Executive Director, George Lucas Educational Foundation


“You can open Towne’s book on any page and find wisdom.”

– Jay Matthews
Washington Post


“Right out of the mouths of a remarkable collection of teachers. A pleasure to read!”

– Deborah Meier
NYU Steinhardt School of Education


“This book renews our faith in the world’s most important profession.”

– Dr. Spencer Kagan
Author, Kagan Cooperative Learning


Conversations with America’s Best Teachers makes a tremendously powerful case for teachers as empowered leaders.”

– Virginia B. Edwards
Editor, Education Week / Teacher Magazine


“The valuable insights of successful teachers in Conversations with America’s Best Teachers will not only benefit other teachers looking for solutions, but anyone who wants to know the real joys and challenges of the most important work in this country.”


– Michelle Rhee
Chancellor, District of Columbia Public Schools


“Worthwhile reading for educators, policymakers, and anyone interested in transforming today’s public education system.”

– Dennis Van Roekel
President, National Education Association


“Towne has done a great public service to all those who care about educating our children by highlighting great teachers and the work they do.”

– Randi Weingarten
President, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO


“I hope this book becomes a primer for teachers in training.”

– Kathleen A. Carpenter
Editor, TeachersNet Gazette


“These pages will inspire awe, appreciation, and sometimes shock at what is required to excel in the world’s most important profession. I hope that every teacher — and every school administrator — reads this book!”

– Eric Adler
Co-Founder & Managing Director, The SEED Foundation


“Inspirational! A must read for every teacher and parent. Both new and experienced teachers can benefit from the wisdom of these accomplished educators.”

– Joe Aguerrebere
President, National Board of Professional Teaching Standards


Conversations with America’s Best Teachers is a much needed addition to the education reform literature.”

– Robert Hughes
President, New Visions for Public Schools


“A must read for all teachers, new and experienced!”

– Patirck F. Bassett
President, National Association of Independent Schools


“Fun and interesting. You’ll learn something from each of these teachers whether you’re a peer or a wonk. Towne has done a remarkable service here.”

– Andrew J. Rotherham
Co-Founder and Publisher, Education Sector and Eduwonk.com

If you want the Amazon link for Conversations with America’s Best Teachers, click here.

 BOOK #2

The second book is A+ Educators: A World-Class Tribute to Our Best Teachers by Randy Howe. The synopsis from Amazon reads as follows:

A+ Educators profiles seventy-five amazing classroom teachers who have received recognition on the state and national level. Inspiring profiles of more than sixty amazing teachers. What makes a great teacher? While there is no particular formula, one thing is certain: Great teachers are worthy of the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues, and they should be publicly recognized for the love of learning they inspire. A+ Educators profiles more than sixty amazing K–12 classroom teachers who have received the highest honors—including both National Teachers of the Year and winners of annual teaching awards in their respective states. The teachers come from all fifty states and from all grade levels and subjects. They are the trendsetters of the new century, using innovation, technology, and good old-
fashioned common sense to deliver the best possible education to their students.
Ok, so enough about me.