The Queen’s Rules
By Lynn Guinn
When I was a teacher in the California public school system, I always told my students that I was their queen and they were all my princes and princesses. This always delighted third graders, and made sixth graders roll their almost junior high eyes. I was pretty sure they didn’t take it seriously until one day my classroom phone was out of order.
Another teacher came in and said, “Well, doesn’t the queen ever answer her phone?” Their surprised eyes leapt to my face and they said, in awe, “Even Mrs. Weaver knows you are the queen!”
Since I was the queen, my classroom rules were a bit unorthodox. I share them with you now.
1. Please do not tap me to get my attention. The attention you will get from tapping on me is not the kind of attention you want to get.
2. You may accidentally call me “Mom.” You may even accidentally call me “Grandma,” but I draw the line at “Dad.”
3. Please do not block my view of the rest of the class when you are waiting to see me. Now and then there will be a student who uses unguarded moments to slather his hand with glue because he finds it interesting to peel it off when it dries.
4. If you bring me a gift from home, please be sure your mother knows about it.
5. If I am looking at another student’s paper and discussing it with him or her, do not place your paper between my face and the paper I am reading.
6. “Courtesy” is the key word. Rude remarks are unacceptable. In other words you may not say “Duh” when a classmate gives the wrong answer.
7. Add “Shut-up” and “Stupid” to your list of bad words that you must not say.
8. Don’t tattle unless someone is bleeding, or possibly about to bleed.
9. Put your name on your paper. I sold my Ouija board at a garage sale.
10. Spare me your excuses for not having your homework finished. I have heard them all and now I only hear, “I didn’t get to do my homework because bla, bla, bla, bla, bla.” (Except for the time I heard “because my mother had to go to jail.”)
11. Take care of your materials. Everything has been provided for a reason. In two months when I say, “Please get out your red, yellow, and blue crayons,” you should be able to retrieve them and be ready for the activity. “Someone stole my red.” Will not be an acceptable excuse for not having your red crayon.
12. Keep your desk neat. If it is too messy for you to find your math notebook, I will gladly help you by dumping its contents upon the floor, thus illuminating the items therein.
13. Irresponsibility on your part does not create an emergency for me. Therefore, if you lose an important paper, or you accidentally tore it in half to draw upon it an unflattering picture of your ex-best friend, I shall be happy to give you a new one, if I happen to have more. If I don’t have any more extras, it is not my crisis. You may wait until after school for me to dig out the original and go to the copier to make another one for you.
14. During direct instruction, or when I am reading to you, you are to remain in your seat. You may not get up to get a drink of water, get paper, sharpen your pencil, or throw something away. It is distracting to other students and the queen.
15. Exception to Number 14! Vomit. If you feel as if you are about to show us what you had for lunch. Do not hesitate. Run to the restroom! You do not need to come to me to announce your dilemma. My desk is messy enough as it is.
16. When the queen is speaking, you are listening, not whispering to your neighbor, writing notes, sticking pins into your eraser, or digging in your backpack to get something you shouldn’t have at school in the first place.
17. If I decide to do something that is different than the norm, don’t question me about it. I have a reason for everything I do. Besides, I am the queen.
18. When you are doing your homework, remember that parents are consultants only. The queen can tell if homework has been sub-contracted to an older sibling or parents. The queen did not just come in on a load of royal turnips.
19. What happens at recess stays at recess. We do not have time to rehash why Linda and Mary Beth didn’t want to play with you today. We can discuss this after math is over.
20. Clean up after yourself. Your mother isn’t in this class.