I was recently reminded, in a rather unusual way, of the many benefits that clear classroom behavior expectations provide. I’ll explain. This past summer, I moved into a home with a partially fenced backyard. As you know, I have a playful pup, Lexie, who loves to sniff, romp, and explore. Not having a fenced backyard was a big change for both of us—I now always had to be in the backyard with Lexie, summoning her to stay close. Lexie, who for the past seven years has enjoyed a fenced backyard, was having a difficult time figuring out what part of that big green playground was hers. After the first week, she was pretty much resigned to doing her business outdoors and returning inside.
Fast forward five weeks. The backyard is fenced, and Lexie is sniffing, exploring, and romping around her fabulous green playground. Why the difference in behavior? Lexie now knows where she can safely romp and explore. She no longer has to try to understand what is and is not acceptable.
As a teacher, I feel students are much the same. Students feel happier and safer in an environment where the behavior expectations are clear and consistent. If you agree, let me know! If you’d like to share your tips and ideas for setting clear classroom behavior expectations, I’d love to hear them!