Rules for Attending School

These are the rules for attending school in the United States.

Kindergarten Through High School

1. Always refer to a teacher by title and last name: Dr. Walker, Mr. Fields, Mrs. Ramirez, Professor McGuinness (never call a a teacher "Teacher").
2. Arrive to class on time or a little early.
3. Raise your hand when you want to ask a question.
4. You may speak to the teacher from your desk while you are seated.
5. When you are absent, you must make up the work you have missed. Ask either the teacher or a classmate for the work.
6. If you expect to be away from school because of an emergency, tell your teacher in advance and ask for the work you will miss.
7. All assignments you hand in must be your own work.
8. Never cheat on a test.
9. If you are having difficulty with a class, schedule an appointment to see the teacher for help. The teacher will be glad to help you.
10. Students must bring a note from a parent explaining any absence or tardiness.
11. the only acceptable excuse for absence is personal illness, a death in the family, or a religious holiday. It is illegal to stay home from school for any other reason.
12. When a teacher asks a question and does not name a particular student to answer it, anyone who knows the answer should raise one hand.



1. A student who receives a failing grade in a course usually needs to repeat the course.
2. Students are expected to work hard in their courses.
3. Students' work is not discussed with parents without the students' permission.
4. After taking the required courses in their major, students may select their other courses.
5. All students are considered equal in the classroom and are judged only by the quality of their work.
6. Students alone are responsible for their progress in a course. They must seek help, either with the professor or in a lab, if they need help with the work.
7. Any student who has the ability and the desire may apply to a college.


After you have read the above rules, be prepared to discuss them with your classmates. Are the same rules true in your country? Consider how you would feel in an American class and why. Choose items on the list that you would have the most difficulty in accepting. Explain why these would be hard for you. Also be prepared to explain which items you would do differently in your country and what the rules are for correct conduct in your country.

Material taken from Culturally Speaking by Rhona Genzal and Martha Cummings, Harper & Row, 1986