Student-Teacher Contract Template

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Developing a contract with students can be a respectful and productive behavior management strategy. This lesson offers you a template for how such a contract might work.

Why a Student-Teacher Contract?

Sometimes, student behaviors and attitudes do not change in response to typical classroom management strategies. Perhaps a student does not understand what you are asking of them, or maybe there are other things going on in his life that prevent him from responding to traditional disciplinary strategies. For teachers, this can be extremely frustrating. One way to address this is by creating a contract with the student in question. Student-teacher contracts are beneficial for many reasons, including:

  • They help you develop personal relationships with students, showing them that you see them as individuals and are willing to take the time to focus on their needs.
  • They teach students about contracts and professionalism, cultivating a sense of seriousness and maturity around what happens in the classroom.
  • They provide a venue for documenting the interventions you are trying with students, so that you can look back to the contract when challenges arise.
  • They can be a useful way to involve families in a behavior modification plan.

Though contracts will look different depending on the age of the student and the specific behaviors you are hoping to address, this lesson provides a general template for how you will develop the contract. It is important to read the contract together with the student and make sure he or she understands all of its stipulations prior to signing it.

Contract Template

Now let's take a look at a student-teacher contract template.

State the Purpose

The first thing you should do in a student-teacher contract is explicate the purpose for the contract in one or two sentences. Examples of a statement of purpose might include:

  • This contract will ensure that Mary completes her homework every week.
  • The purpose of this contract is to show students what behaviors are expected of them in fifth grade.
  • Signers of this contract agree that they will follow guidelines during writer's workshop.

Student Expectations

The next section of the contract will get into your expectations for the student(s) signing the contract. In this section, it is important to get specific. You cannot expect students to uphold aspects of your contract that you have not clearly written in. An example of a student expectation section might look like this.

As a student in this class, I will. . .

  • Complete my homework each evening.
  • Edit each page of my homework carefully for spelling, punctuation and capitalization.
  • Bring my homework to one of my parents for their signature.
  • Put my homework neatly into a folder in my backpack.
  • Take the homework out when I get to school and place it in the appropriate bin in my classroom.

It might seem like a list such as this one breaks down a task excessively; however, many professional contracts involve this degree of description. Breaking the task down will actually help students achieve the goals you have set for them, and you might discover along the way exactly what aspects of the target behaviors have been challenging.

Teacher Expectations

As a teacher, you are part of the contract, too. It is only fair if you also describe in clear detail what a student can expect from you. This section will help you clarify your own goals and will show your students that you take them seriously. An example of a teacher expectation section might look like this.

As a teacher, I will. . .

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