Rules for Respect & Discipline in the Classroom


Deciding on, teaching and enforcing rules for respect and discipline in the classroom are all integral to creating a productive learning environment, no matter what grade level you are teaching. According to Valdosta State University, approach rule establishment as you would any other lesson plan, covering each section step by step. Though it should be made clear that you are the boss of the classroom, it is often beneficial to allow student input when deciding on what rules to use.

Respect Teachers

  • Rules for respecting the teacher maintain a productive classroom, as they help ensure a teacher will be able to get her lesson plan across in a timely and effective manner. According to Delta State University, some rules include: showing up to the classroom on time; being prepared for class; sitting in the student's assigned seat; and requiring the student to raise her hand to ask permission before speaking, going to the bathroom or otherwise leaving her seat. In addition, students should address their teacher in a polite fashion, which means using the words “please” and “thank you” and referring to the teacher in the way he wants, which is usually a last name preceded by a title (such as Mr.).

Respect Fellow Students

  • Classrooms are often filled with individuals from different social, economic and ethnic backgrounds. This makes maintaining mutual respect among students an important—but sometimes challenging—task. The "golden rule," or having students treat each other the way they want to be treated, is one of the most basic rules when it comes to student respect. According to the article "Making Classroom Rules" on The Educator's Reference Desk website, some specifics include requiring students to keep their hands to themselves (no hitting, pushing or otherwise inflicting harm), allowing other students to take turns speaking (no speaking out of turn or over someone else) and using respectful language (no name-calling or swear words). Just like students would with a teacher, using respectful language with other students includes being polite and using the words “please” and “thank you” when the situation calls for it.

Respect Property

  • According to Valdosta State University, students must follow rules for respecting property, just as they respect other individuals. These rules include not stealing from others (or the classroom) and not writing on, damaging or otherwise defacing items that do not belong to the student (including school desks). Other rules for respecting classroom property include using items in the way they are intended to be used (scissors are for cutting paper, not hair) and picking up after oneself—putting items in their appropriate locations and throwing away trash.


  • Teachers can use several different systems of rules for assigning punishments to students. According to Delta State University, one option is the traditional “three strikes and you’re out" rule, which dictates that after three offenses a student will be given a punishment (such as staying after school). This system is best suited for minor offenses, such as being tardy; you would not want to allow a student to hit another student three times before taking action. In conjunction with the "three strikes" rule, you might also want to use a punishment or consequence ladder. Valdosta State University lists one approach for younger students: Minor offenses will land students on a low-rung punishment (which can be as simple as a stern look or a seat change); more major offenses, such as acts of violence, will land students on a high-rung punishment, such as going to the principle’s office.


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