A Set of Behavioral Rules to Be Implemented in a Urban Scholars Classroom

Published: 2021-09-29 08:40:10
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In my Urban Scholars classroom in the afternoon, there are many explicit and implicit expectations to be met by both the students and the mentors. Most expectations on the first day are explicit where the instructor lists what she wants in the classroom and how she wants the students to behave. She asked on the first day for all students and mentors to not use their cell phones while in class because it can be extremely distracting and can cause for lost time in the classroom. For the most part, students will check their phones once or twice in the class session, but if one student sees a mentor using their phone, then all cooperation is lost and the student’s focusing abilities are lost. I saw this happen one day where one of the high school mentors kept texting on his phone. As a response, a student kept taking out his phone each time the instructor turned around to prove that he, too, can use his phone without being caught. The instructor seemed uncomfortable addressing the high school mentor because, from the viewpoint of the students, it doesn’t look good when the older kids have to be spoken to.
There were various times where I needed to address inappropriate language in the classroom and during walks from Roger Bacon to the dining hall. Some of the older kids gathered at the same table and together felt entitled to speaking with derogatory words. There seems to be an obvious different treatment of students as their age differs. The older students should act as role models so the received less warnings when doing inappropriate actions. One example being when a fifth grader continually kept logging on the laptop when they were told not to, I gave him a warning then I sat with him to keep him from touching it. When the older table all would log on, it was easier to just put my laptop and other materials at their table and to sit with them. They always seemed to have negative attitudes, but when I would talk to them and reward them with free time in Minecraft or the ability to have more freedom in the classroom, they listened.There didn’t seem to be a different treatment of students based on gender, ethnicity, skin color or sexuality. The overall atmosphere in the room was positive and there were enough mentors to have nearly a 1 mentor to 2-3 student ratio. This kept anyone from being treated differently because the relationships were so close in these small groups. Nobody was ever called out in these situations and anything that needed to be addressed was with proper reasoning and in a private place, away from the other students in the classroom. One example of this was when a group of students were griefing a spot in Minecraft, but they were unaware of the land being owned by any other student. The student who owned the land responded by nearly breaking down and throwing a fit. We brought him outside, asked him to explain the situation, get him to understand that the griefing was not intentional and how we would give him what he desired in Minecraft to make up for the mistake.
Overall, the students have great intentions, are always ready and happy to learn, responsible and always willing to help out. The most extreme rule-breaking that I’ve seen is when students continually talk when a teacher is talking- totally harmless and innocent. I’m excited to see some of my students again in the fall.

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