For Educators

Virtue Based Classroom Management - Classroom Expectations

VBCM 1: Classroom Expectations


Welcome to the Virtue Based Classroom Management Series where you will find ideas and free downloads for implementing Education in Virtue in your classroom. This is the first post. For a complete list of posts, topics, and free downloads click here.

Virtue Based Classroom Management - Classroom Expectations

CLICK HERE for your free download of Classroom Expectations Using the Language of Virtue.

The best classroom rules are simple – simple to define and simple to enforce. They are specific behavior expectations that are clear and easy to understand. That being said, they also must be expansive enough to cover every sort of behavior. We often define virtue as “the habit of doing good.” Doesn’t every teacher want their students to be in the habit of doing good? 

A few years ago, I took a good look at my classroom rules in light of virtue. They were relatively standard, like “Follow all directions,” “Keep your hands and your feet to yourself,” and “Raise your hand if you want to speak.” I soon realized that those classroom rules could be reframed in the language of the virtues. Classroom rules and the way they are enforced are opportunities for intentional behavioral instruction. I knew I wanted students who practiced virtue, who lived a life of discipleship in their daily interactions, who were in the habit of doing good. My classroom rules became concrete expectations of a virtuous life. “Follow all directions” became “Be obedient to all teachers.” The language of virtue (or these virtues at least!) began to become the language of our classroom. The students can learn to practice obedience, respect, kindness, charity, self-control, and responsibility in the classroom. 

Teach the classroom expectations as you would teach any other lesson. Discuss the virtue in each rule, and discuss what it “looks like” and “sounds like” in your classroom.

  • Obedience – follow directions, look at the teacher when she is talking, do your work neatly.
  • Respect – look at the person who is talking to you, say “please and thank you,” don’t interrupt.
  • Kindness & Charity – treat others the way you want to be treated, hold the door for each other, help pass out supplies, don’t shove or push, especially when in line or at the lockers
  • Self-Control – raise your hand when you want to speak or get up, keep your hands and feet to yourself, don’t run in the hallways.

Virtue Based Classroom Management - Classroom Expectations

Little things set the tone of a classroom. Every teacher wants an open and positive classroom environment, one where the students feel welcome and free to grow and make mistakes along the way. As Christian educators, our classrooms are places of shared discipleship, places where we encounter Christ and one another in Him. That means they are places of prayer and intercession. When you have a student having a hard time with a specific virtue (say, self-control), encourage that student to pray, and maybe pray with him or her. “God gives the growth” (1 Cor. 3:7), it is His grace at work in us. Reach out to the saints, they are powerful intercessors and great examples of heroic and virtuous lives. 

CLICK HERE for your free download of Classroom Expectations Using the Language of Virtue.