Vladimira Chalyova

Rules We Follow – Vladka

Rules, Principles, and Change  – Vladimira Chalyova

A rule, law, or regulation is a prescribed guide for action. That could be the definition you can get from any dictionary. For me, a rule is something that you try to keep in mind as a line that shouldn’t be crossed  — unless it is unavoidable.

There are two types of rules: rules people create consciously and set for others to follow and rules we form as we grow, learn and become aware of the world we live in. These are the rules we follow subconsciously. Or can I say we follow such rules at all? Isn’t it more what we call the way of life? And are not such rules in fact the principles we form our own lives around?

As a teacher, often seen as a leader, a decision maker and the ruler,I feel I have a responsibility and maybe even an authority over the space that is there in the learning environment and that can help learners create their own rules and principles —  not to control the situation and people. In this light, I want to share a rule that even though it was formed by someone else and was just passed on to me several years ago, I did internalize immediately. It hung on the wall of my office throughout all the years I spent at my first school and when I was leaving I intentionally left it on the wall to pass on the wisdom to a newcomer.

” Thou shall not steal the time of them that follow thee.”

There was, has been, and always will be something appealing about it. Now, let me share how that single rule changed for me over time, yet still suits me now as a teacher.

At first, I saw in it the time I am with my students and during which I should give them as much information, knowledge and advice as possible – to fill the lesson full!

Later on, when my own role in the class had changed, it started to resonate with something a bit different. The more I see students, the people who found the time to come, share and learn together, the less is that time about me in there. It has transformed to the time that’s their and for them to express themselves, to find their own ways and to form their own rules, principles and beliefs they feel content about and happy to apply outside the classroom as well.

I do not want to steal that time anymore.

Whether we’re talking about rules from the first or the second group of rules, over time we may find ourselves questioning them and may find them unsuitable for the present situation. That is the moment we can be called rule-breakers, inconsiderate or even insane.  That is the moment we look for change and a way to overcome a present situation that no longer allows us to grow. That’s when we change.

Some may have more of such moments in their lives, and some just a few. And the courage to deal with such moments may vary from person to person and time to time. Whatever the case may be for you, fear not.  Such moments help us form the new principles that we later go on to live through and abide by. They help us find our true path.

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Vladimira Chalyova

Vladimira Chalyova teaches English as a foreign language at State Language School in Slovakia. She teaches general and business English to adults and teenagers. She is interested in student-centered approaches, developing learners' autonomy and believes that a teacher shouldn't be a slave of course books and that inspiration, motivation, purpose and meaning are essential in learning. She brings colours, crayons and surpr@ise (surprise + praise) to her classroom and just recently also on the canvas.

One thought on “Rules We Follow – Vladka”

  1. Hi,
    Yes, we help students grow by giving them all our time though time spent with them is also about us whether we want it or not :). Students constantly help us grow too, transform and change.

    Thanks for the great, introspective and soulful post as always Vladimira.


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