Classroom Rules for High School Students

Students using cell phones in a classroom

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Rules are an important aspect of every classroom, especially when you're working with high school students. Teenagers—with their budding hormones and complex social lives—can be easily distracted, and though many are mature and highly capable, they can still benefit from structure and rules. Classroom rules provide guidelines that allow students to know what is expected of them. Ideally, they should be simple, easy to follow, and posted somewhere for all of your students to see. One of the keys to writing effective classroom rules is to keep them general enough to cover a variety of situations but also specific to your students, classroom, and school.

Key Takeaways: Classroom Rules for High School Students

  • Classroom rules provide the structure and guidelines needed to create a productive learning environment.
  • You can create a set of classroom rules yourself or solicit input from your students and work together to make a list of rules.

At the beginning of each school year or semester, go over the rules in class with your students, leaving time for questions and discussion. Students are more likely to follow the rules when they understand the purpose behind them; rules that seem excessive or unnecessary are more likely to be ignored. For this reason, it is important to communicate why you have established certain rules and how those rules will help create an effective, well-run classroom.

Sample Classroom Rules for High School Students

There are a number of different ways to create a list of classroom rules. You could do it all yourself, setting the rules however you see fit. Another way is to solicit suggestions from your students; you might even have them vote on which rules they prefer. The benefit of this method is that it allows you to learn more about what kind of classroom environment your students favor. Some possible rules for a high school classroom include:

  1. Arrive on Time: To keep the classroom running smoothly, everyone needs to be on time and ready to start class. Students outside the door and rushing in after the bell has begun to ring will be considered tardy. You must be in your seat when the bell rings to be counted present.
  2. Turn Off Cell Phones and Electronic Devices: When class is in session, cell phones and other electronic devices (mp3 players, tablets) must be turned off. If they are not turned off, they will be confiscated.
  3. No Food or Drinks: Eating and drinking should be reserved for lunchtime and breaks between class. (However, exceptions should be made for students with medical needs.)
  4. Attend to Personal Needs Before Class: Use the restroom or stop at your locker before class to avoid causing disruption for your fellow students. Hall passes are limited, so please do not ask for a pass unless you have a true emergency.
  5. Bring Required Materials Every Day: Unless you have been instructed otherwise, come to class prepared with all of the required materials you were advised to bring at the beginning of the school year. Do not interrupt the teacher or other students to ask to borrow items you forgot to bring to class.
  6. Start Your Assignment When the Bell Rings: Directions will be posted on the board or on the projection screen when you arrive for class. Please do not wait to be reminded to begin your assignment.
  7. Use Polite Speech and Body Language: Always behave in a way that is respectful to your teacher and fellow students. Unkind teasing and impolite behavior are unacceptable at all times and may lead to disciplinary actions. Be respectful of other students when they are speaking. Any form of bullying will not be tolerated.
  8. Speak When Permitted: Most of the time, you must raise your hand in class and wait to be called on before speaking. There may be times during group work when quiet talking is permitted. Be aware of when talking is and isn't allowed. It is important that students remain quiet during exams until all students have finished.
  9. No Cheating: Students caught cheating will receive a zero and a phone call home. Both the student who shares his work and the person who copies it will suffer the same consequences. Be mindful of accidental cheating by covering your paper during exams and preparation of other graded assignments.
  10. Listen and Follow Directions: It is important for you to pay attention in class and follow the teacher's directions. You will be a more successful student if you listen in class and follow instructions.
  11. Never Pack up Before It's Time to Leave: It may be tempting to pack up early when it's getting close to the end of class. Nevertheless, you should wait until the teacher has dismissed you before preparing to leave.
  12. Turn in Work on Time: Unless you have been given an extension, always turn in your work on time. Late assignments will receive a lower score.
  13. Use Technology for Learning: If the class is using a form of technology such as computers or tablets for a lesson, use the technology for its intended purpose—learning. Don't browse the web or use social media.
  14. Make up Missed Work: If you have missed a lesson or an assignment, make arrangements with your teacher to complete the work.
  15. If You Have a Question, Ask for Help: If something is confusing—such as assignment instructions or something in your reading materials—ask your teacher or another student for help.