Class rules 13-18 for Middle School

LEARNING TO LIVE IN THE OUTSIDE WORLD: Manners and social expectations

My grandma used to say, “Mind your manners.” But today, manners and etiquette seemed to have gone the way of the dial telephone and a great Ticonderoga No. 2 pencil. Ron Clark outlines Rules 13-18 in his book, The Essential 55. Here is an adapted version of them for my students. Adapt them for yours.

THIRTEEN* Respond politely to adults and always make eye contact. When responding to an adult, answer “Yes” or “No.” Other forms of response are not acceptable, such as “Yeah,” “Uh-huh,” and “Yo.” When someone speaks to you, look at their eyes. In conversation, if someone makes a comment, turn and face that person. This applies to all PROCTORS and SUBSTITUTES as well.

FOURTEEN* When meeting new people, shake hands and remember their names. I will learn your name as fast as I can (There are 175 of you and 1 of me.) When we go on field trips, you will meet many new people. When I introduce you to others, make sure you remember their names. Then, when we leave, make sure to thank them, mentioning their names as you do. “Thank you, Mr. Pitt. I had a lovely time at your mansion.” “Thank you, Miss Lawrence, for not shooting me with the silver arrow.” Always stand (if you are sitting) to meet someone new. It is rude to remain seated when being introduced to someone.

FIFTEEN* Hold the door for people rather than letting it close on them. If you approach a door and someone is following you, hold the door open for them. If someone is approaching from the opposite direction, hold the door open, and allow them to pass through first.

SIXTEEN* If someone bumps into you, even if was not your fault, say “Excuse me.” Do not bump into someone on purpose just so you can say “Excuse me.”

SEVENTEEN* On a field trip, complement the place we are visiting. Complement the architecture, the cleanliness of the place, or tell the guide what a good experience it was for you to visit there. (If it sucks, don’t say anything.) After a trip, thank every parent or chaperone. Thank them for taking the time to take you on the trip. Show appreciation to those who go out of their way to help you or do something for you. Thank the bus driver as you exit the bus.

EIGHTEEN* If you are asked a question in conversation, you should ask a question in return. It is polite to show others that you are as interested in them as they are in you. If you are asked, “How are you?” reply and then ask, “And how are you?”

©2019 Doug Hanks. All rights reserved.

* Most of my rules are based on the work of Ron Clark, whose book, The Essential 55 (Hyperion Books, ©2003 Ron Clark) was invaluable in formulating this list of rules. If I borrowed or adapted one of his original 55 rules, I have placed an asterisk(*) next to the number. Others are exclusive to my teaching style. Thanks to Richard Shetley, veteran teacher at Vineyard Junior High for his website and phrasing on certain rules (‘hostile attitudes,’ ‘cheat and I will catch you’) and Rule 7 which is so important in a crisis situation. I attempted to phrase the all the rules in a positive tone, but Rule 12 simply demands the negative.