Generally speaking, most students don't have a problem with any of these, and for the most part actually embrace the idea that the person who is about to lead them for 7 hours each day, 5 days a week for the next 10 months of their lives, actually has a plan of how to carry this out. However, if there is one question I must endure every year it is, "Why must we have so many Rules?"
Now depending on my mood and the time available when that particular question is asked, I may actually try to respond with an intelligent, well crafted answer or I will simply say something to the effect that "rules are a part of life and you just have to deal with them" or more vaguely yet "you'll understand when you're an adult." Yikes! Not really mindblowing material to establish confidence in an inquiring mind.
Today, I am going to take a shot at formalize my personal thoughts as to why Rules have to be a part of all classrooms. In this way, I won't have to keep changing my answer based on my mood and time allotment. I can just point them toward this blog and they will get the jist of why I feel that they are important.
Okay, where to start? How about, examining the saying if Rules, like athletic records, are made to be broken, why do we celebrate breaking athletic records, but punish breaking Rules? An interesting question, although flawed. It becomes simple to answer when we merely consider that athletic records are set by humans who have reached the height of physical and mental prowess in a particular competitive event and thus deserve the praise from those of us who are incapable of achieving such magnificence. Rule breaking can be done by any dolt, without any practise or training. It is something that is intrinsic to us all, and thus it isn't that special. In fact, it's annoying most of the time and dangerous at other times.
Why do we need Rules? Again, it seems to me that the world (and to a lesser extent a classroom) would be a pretty intimidating place if we didn't have something to check our behaviour. Rules allow us to have some security that we are contributing in a positive way toward society, and force those around us to consider our safety. They help us to establish routines, create a platform for enhancing social skills and foster environments in which people can get "stuff" done. On top of this, Rules provide us with an ability to make sure we are looking out for our fellow citizens in the present and the future. In other words, Rules provide us with a means to follow the scriptural advice from Philippians 2:4: "Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others."
I could rattle on a lot longer about this topic, but that sentence, in a nutshell, is my personal belief. When we pack 25-30 unique, (pre)pubescent personalities into a tiny, encamped space called a classroom and then demand that they get along and learn at the same time, you have the setup for chaos. This short, yet insightful phrase is all the explanation of why Rules are a necessary component of any school day. They force us to control our internal drive to look out only for ourself and the things that bring us joy, and to consider the needs and wants of others. Sure, getting out of your seat and running around the classroom screaming at the top of your lungs may bring you some joy, but it doesn't do much for the other 29 people forced to share that same space. We may laugh, but it doesn't help us to complete our math homework.
Having said all of this, from experience I have learned that even the best students have to bend the rules a little at school to help the year go by as these videos will attest to: