What are your Educational Non-Negotiables?
I use the term “non-negotiables” often on this blog:
The good news is I am not your Union Representative I am a fellow educator. But I think it would do us both good to identify our educational non-negotiables.
Teachers starting the school year can tell you how important it is to get your classroom procedures established early. Too many ‘rules’ dilutes a student’s ability to adhere to all rules. The same principle is at work with your non-negotiables, less is more.
Could you narrow your rules down to a few guiding principles? A multitude of rules: speak nicely/be respectful/do not interrupt/raise your hand; could all of these be rolled up into a non-negotiable of Kindness? Simplicity and condensing the a long list of rules into a few easy to remember non-negotiables can help students acclimate to your classroom environment quicker and understand the main point of your rules quicker and easier.
What is the standard of work, the importance and reasons behind your views on late/redone work? How do you look at retests, cheating, late work? Policies on isolated topics can become contentious and may seem picky to certain families. Try rolling these up into a non-negotiable where every instance of these undesirable outcomes is a chance to talk about broader life choices and habits.
Demonstrating to our students that educators have a few guiding principles which are not up for negotiation is important. Students can start to connect how similar all classrooms are. Students can start to see how teachers care about all students in basically the same way.
And they can start to consider their personal non-negotiable standards for their own lives too.
Professional Learning Expectations
The non-negotiables you keep for your own personal learning is an important part of showing how standards and expectations are not just for our classrooms, but for people we care about – which should always include ourselves!
Decide what you want from your professional learning early in each school year and stick to it. If your local school leaders are not able to fulfill your needs do not be afraid to go out on your own to meet those needs. If you have to roam further than your district start to aaudit these places for options to fulfill your needs:
Check out my recent post on Professional Learning and Conferences for more in-depth examples.
When your non-negotiables are clear to you it helps you find schools, teacher friends, and a guide to establishing your teacher style which will complement your work life. When your non-negotiables are clear to potential employers, people with whom you work, and those interacting with your classroom everyone understands the
So, do you have some educational non-negotiables?