There are so many rules that schools have that just drive me insane.

The general public only get to hear about these stupid rules when they hit the headlines: “Nelson student’s dyed hair shade too much for school” or “Students angry about make-up ban at Auckland’s Rangitoto College”.

These kind of rules have very little to do with learning outcomes and I really struggle to enforce them in my class. This is for two reasons: I do not really believe in them and I just really do not notice it. I don’t sit there and stare at a student’s face to decide if they have too much make-up on or if their hair is too long and needs to be tied up. I have so many other things that I need to do.

Now some teachers will say that I need to spend time on enforcing these “rules” to be a good colleague, to be one of the team but they never are willing to bend to my idea that maybe I shouldn’t waste class time on such unimportant matters. Maybe I’m not prepared to destroy the hard fought and carefully managed positive relationship I’ve created with a student over them not having their socks pulled up or over them wearing their school scarf inside because it’s cold as charity in my classroom.

I’ve had a teacher interrupt my lesson to check that a student had his permission slip letting him have his long hair. Now this colleague didn’t ask me if I had checked he had it (I had). They didn’t think about the disruption this would have caused to my class (it did). They didn’t think about the relationship they had with the student and the impact this petty action would have on it (it destroyed it). Was it worth it? For this teacher, yes because they were enforcing the rules and that is a key part of the job. But for me it was not worth it because I got lumped in with this teacher and I had to start all over again in forming a positive relationship with this student.

These rules do nothing to improve educational outcomes and just create more issues then they fix.

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