I can still remember when I bumped into Kevin’s Kindergarten teacher in the bustling cafeteria one week before school started during our first teacher-in-service day of the year. Like most teachers, I had excitedly awaited my class list with a permanent marker in hand so that I could begin labeling all kinds of classroom items! When Kevin’s teacher asked about my class roster and saw his name, she quickly exclaimed, “You’ve got Kevin in your class this year? Ha! Good luck with him! He’s so bad!” I hadn’t once thought I would have needed to look up classroom behavior expectations examples within the first couple hours of in-service.
You’ve probably experienced some conversation like this before about one of your students. Even though some students present more challenging behaviors than others, each time I heard another teacher say something like this, it broke my heart. Every child deserved someone in his corner who believed in him!
Classroom Behavior Expectations Examples
Now, don’t get me wrong. I had my share of students with challenging behaviors and shed many tears after hard days when I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. Yet, I found that these “bad” kids were usually asking for help in the most unloving ways. I believed that every child placed in my classroom had been placed there for a reason and that it was my job as a teacher to be their biggest advocate! We cannot give up on them! Here are some classroom behavior expectations examples that we can use to help students like Kevin succeed in our classrooms, and to be honest, these may help the teachers more than the students.
Watch our language
Let’s begin by changing the way we talk about students—we need to stop labeling kids as “bad” or “good.” There are no bad kids. Yes, some kids choose to make bad choices or have learned bad behaviors, but every child is of great worth and is capable of success!
Speak truth into the child’s life
Our words are powerful because they reflect our beliefs and can become the soundtrack in our students’ hearts and minds. This one may be the most important when it comes to classroom behavior expectations examples. We need to make sure we speak the truth in our students’ lives, especially those struggling students. When I first had Kevin in the classroom, he would tell me he made bad choices because “he was a bad kid.” He had heard so many people refer to him as the “bad kid” that he had begun to believe the lie that that was who he was.
So, I spent months working with him, and each morning spoke truth into his life that I believed in him and that he was a good kid and was capable of making good choices! I have found, too, that giving students positive notes helps so much because it gives them a tangible reminder of truth and of how much we believe in them!!
I would love to tell you that life transformation happens immediately and that Kevin never struggled again. But change doesn’t happen overnight. However, eventually, I began to see changes in Kevin’s behavior and his language about himself. I’ll never forget the day I pulled him aside after he had difficulty making good choices. I asked him what was happening, and he said, “I’m believing the lie.” Don’t give up, friend! Truth always wins out against lies!
Give kids a fresh start
One of the beautiful things about having a new teacher every school year is that it gives all of us a fresh start. Yes, some years and classes are more challenging than others, but every year and every day should start with fresh grace. We need it, and our kids need it. Kids, like Kevin often need it the most. You may be the only champion your student has in his life right now. Let them know they are loved and a valuable part of the classroom.
Find the positive
I promise it is there, and the positive needs to be acknowledged and celebrated! One of the best pieces of advice I got from my principal during my first year of teaching was to make my first parent contact positive because often, there will be tough calls and conversations needed in the future. So, for students like Kevin, I made sure to make a positive call home the first day or two of school.
It’s also important to highlight the positives with the student and his family throughout the year! Keeping a parent communication log can help you keep track of this and ensure that you are making positive contacts and not just those necessary difficult calls that happen after a hard day.
Some days will be hard, and you will leave work feeling like you can’t make it one more day, but students like Kevin need you not to give up on them. They need your consistent love and support, even when it feels like progress isn’t being made. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and tomorrow is a fresh start. Seeds don’t become flowers overnight; they take time, love, and hard work to grow. Progress can be painfully slow, but don’t give up, and keep watering your student’s heart with truth.
Ask for help
Please know you are not alone in this! Some students need more support than we can give in our classrooms, which is okay. It’s the beauty of teamwork and having experts in different areas of our schools. Don’t be afraid to seek help from other professionals in your school who have training and resources they can offer to help.
“Bad” Kids Need Teachers Like You!
I could go through a ton of different classroom behavior expectations examples with you. But the one thing you need to remember is while there are no “bad” kids, there is no doubt that it can be draining as a teacher to have students in your classroom who ask for help in the most unloving ways. Please remember that while change can be slow, you are a difference-maker! And students like Kevin need you to be their biggest advocate! I can’t thank you enough for all that you do!! If you have found other ways to help students know you are in their corner, please let me know by leaving a comment below! I’d love to hear!
Save Time With These Positive Relationship-Building & Classroom Behavior Expectations Examples Resources!
If you need ready-to-go, easy-to-use resources to speak truth into your students’ lives and ensure that you are finding and communicating the positives with families, then you’ll love the resources below that I mentioned in this post!