Psychiatry tells us that besides food, clothing, and shelter, everyone has just a few major needs;
  • meaningful involvement with someone else and
  • to feel like we're contributing something worthwhile

People who learn how to meet these needs without depriving others of opportunities to have their needs met are considered responsible. If you either can't get these needs met at all, or are constantly tying to meet your own needs with no regard for anybody else's are pretty much irresponsible.

Some teachers have long lists of rules you have to obey and complicated systems of consequences you will face if you violate their rules. I prefer to let students know that they need to be responsible in my classroom.

Be Responsible


and Fun to be around

If you keep in mind our basic needs, meaningful involvement and meaningful contribution, and remember that these are everybody's needs, not just your own, it's easier to be responsible and respectful.

You don't need rules if you remember that-

you can solve any problem you have, any way you like

so long as you you don't create a problem for someone else

That doesn't mean you can get away with anything. Rather than "consequences," I prefer to talk about compensation. If you're behavior is disruptive, you're depriving your classmates of learning time. You may need to think of how you can compensate them for that. If you're disrespectful, you damage your involvement with others. You have to find a way to reconcile. If you break someone's trust, you need to rebuild that trust. Likewise (in a more concrete sense) if you damage or destroy someone's property, you need to replace it or compensate them for it. So you see, compensation can be inconvenient- it's better to make responsible choices int he first place.

Obviously, this does not mean that you are not responsible for abiding by school rules or various laws in my classroom. Tardy is tardy, the dress code is the dress code, cell phones are still prohibited, harassment is harassment, cheating is cheating and so is plagiarism, theft is theft, assault is assault, and battery is battery. Being responsible and respectful means that you respect the rights of others and the requirements of the school handbook and legal statutes.

I want the Art room to be as comfortable and casual as possible. I want it to be an oasis from the more academic classes in your day. Be that as it may, my job is to educate people. I spend 8 hours a day trying to teach people things to make their lives better. I hope that you will pay attention, but if you can't, it would be respectful of you to not be disruptive or inconsiderate of either my or your classmates. Think about what's polite and impolite. Thank you.

"...profanity and obscenity entitle people who don't want unpleasant information to close their ears and eyes to you."
~Kurt Vonnegut, American Novelist

If you want other people to respect you, listen to you, and give your opinions credibility, you will try your best to refrain from cussing and swearing. While I don't punish students every time a bad word slips out of their mouths, I won't tolerate casual and frequent foul language either. I want to make my classroom as comfortable as possible to the most students. If it is uncomfortable for you to not cuss, then you may be addicted- kind of like smoking. This is an easy, simple way to exercise responsibility and offer respect. If you're severely injured, there may be no other way to express your pain- I'll let that go. But if you're merely disappointed, frustrated, irritated, or annoyed- there is almost always a better way to express yourself.

Meaningful involvement- being part of something, and contributing something worthwhile, making a difference. These take effort and commitment. It can be tough sometimes, but it's very rewarding.

Works CitedCline, Foster. Discipline with Love and Logic: a Guide for Teachers. Boulder, CO: American Training Forum, 1982. Print.Glasser, William. Reality Therapy. 1975. Print.Vonnegut, Kurt. Hocus Pocus. New York: Putnam's, 1990. Print.