School Rules

Vignette #7


I am a student-teacher and I teach English. During our study, each year we do an internship in a school. We are supposed to switch schools every year,  to build on our experience in different school settings. At the moment I am in my third year, and I am working in my third internship.  

One thing I have run into on multiple occasions is the schools’ ruling with regard to pupils being late and pupils being removed from the classroom. Every school handles this differently. At my current internship, the rules are not clear. What actions are required is a pupil is late? What paperwork or registration needs to be done? 

The fact that I do not know the rules makes it difficult for me to act according to the rules. It also makes me feel uncertain about my behaviour towards pupils in maintaining the rules. Should I be strict or can I be gentle? What freedom do I have as a teacher in my own classroom in finding my way in dealing with these rules? Can I make exceptions to rules in my judgement of a situation?


If I do act according to the school-rules, I feel obliged to act in a way that sometimes does not suit the situation. I do not want to become a robot that strictly applies rules, I want to be a ‘fair’ teacher for my pupils.

On the other hand, if I do not act according to the school-rules, I am not a good colleague and I undermine the school policy.


  • Take a look at the school guide or other materials that are available within the school 
  • Find out what theoretical solutions might be, for example in a handbook class management (tool 1)
  • Reflect on own values and choices according to pupil behaviour (tool 5 and 7)
  • Interview students/pupils on what they think a teacher should act upon (tool 13)
  • Talk to the mentor teacher about application of school rules  
  • Talk to colleagues either informal or in a more structured matter (interview) (tool 9)
  • Observe colleagues in a lesson (tool 4)
  • Based on the above: design an experiment (tool 14)