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Behavior management: consistency with building rules

Date: May 20th, 2015
By: Polly Bath

Polly Bath: Whose job is it to enforce the building’s rules?

Everybody! It is everybody’s job!

We get problems when someone doesn’t enforce the rules.

For example, if a student walks into school with a hat on, and there is a no hat rule, you say to him, “You know the rule, take your hat off.” And he takes it off. But we know the second he goes around the corner that he is going to put the hat back on.

Same with ear buds. Once they’re out of our sight, the ear buds go back into their ears.

Then, the next adult the student sees says, “Hey, you know the rules. Take the hat off. Take the ear buds out.” He does, for the moment. And again, the hat goes back on and the ear buds back in the ears.

But when the next adult sees him and only says, “Hi, good to see you today,” the student isn’t being called out on breaking the rules.

THAT is our biggest problem in schools–consistency of enforcing the little rules. Just ENFORCING them.

All our job is to say, “Take the hat off,” or “Take the ear buds out,” and keep walking. We don’t have to wait and watch to see if the kid does it. We don’t have to chase the kid around the corner and say, “Wait, hold on. You put that back on. Come here. What’s your name?”

If we were to do that, we would then have to deal with a power struggle.

Validate the fact that all your job is to enforce the rules. If 50 other staff members enforce the rules the same way, then after a few weeks, the kid will automatically take his hat off or the ear buds out.

Consistency is something we all like, whether we are a student or an adult.

We really end up shooting ourselves in the foot when we say, “You know what? I got bigger fish to fry than hats and ear buds.”

Well, the reason you have bigger fish to fry is because you didn’t deal with the little fish!