Normally, having inconsistent expectations in the classroom is a very bad thing. It gives the kids license to do whatever they want and find loopholes to get away with it. My expectations for my students are not inconsistent normally. My classroom, to the untrained eye, looks like a chaotic free-for-all, but that is far from the truth. I have so many systems and procedures in place and the kids know what to do. However, I have discovered that my expectations for my students are not consistent for every situation.
Yesterday our wonderful elementary counselor came in to teach a friendship lesson to my students. As I watched the lesson, I took a step back and put myself in the counselor’s shoes. From her perspective my kids looked super disrespectful, disengaged and even downright bored. They were using the room the way I had trained them: sitting at desks, laying on the floor, or standing. I know how each of my students learns best and I know that even if a particular kid is laying on the floor with their head down they are still listening because they are an auditory learner. But the counselor doesn’t know that.
Here my kids are reading, but this is about what they look like during a lesson as well.
So I had a discussion with my class about how we have to behave a little differently when there is a guest teacher. I had the kids help me come up with reasons why having different expectations is important and what that looks like in my classroom. Having the students help me come up with those reasons and making it more of a discussion made them more invested in their own behavior.