Dear Students,

Dear Students,

You probably don’t need the reminder, but it is that time of year again.  Summer break is ending and school is getting under way.  Perhaps some of you are eager to return; you actually like school.  It is probably no surprise to you that you are in the minority.  Some of you don’t really care about school, but you have missed your friends and can’t wait to see them again.  Most of you, though, are filled with dread.  Sorry!  School is a rite of passage we all must endure.  You might as well make the best of it!

Regardless of which category you fall into, I hope you will keep your future goals in mind and try your best.  Remember that you can’t learn unless you try.  If you try yet still fall short, then seek help.  Though you might feel more comfortable asking a classmate for assistance, that may not always be in your best interest.  For one, how certain are you that he or she actually understands the lesson.  Second, that scenario also brings with it the temptation to simply copy his answers, which will get you both into trouble and doesn’t teach you anything.  If you have a reliable friend who makes good grades and can explain the assignment to you without actually providing you the answers, then great.  Let him tutor you.  Otherwise, your best bet is to seek help from the teacher.  Be prepared to stay after school though if you need significant one-on-one instruction; that simply isn’t possible in class when the teacher has to divide attention between thirty other students.  If you can’t stay after, then write down specific questions you have when you turn work in and see if the teacher responds.

Don’t give up simply because you earn a few low scores.  You won’t achieve your goals by giving up. Keep trying.  Keep asking questions.  And remember the saying, “Practice makes perfect.”  Sooner or later, it will click, and you will figure it out but only if you try. Whatever you do, don’t earn a zero.  At least attempt to do your work.

You might not always appreciate the assignments you are asked to do or understand how they relate to your future goals, but the teacher is privy to a bigger picture and wouldn’t ask you to do it if it wasn’t in support of your goals, or at least in preparation for the state exams.  Yes, I do realize that some teachers do give what you consider busy work.  I am not saying that all teachers are good teachers, but I do believe that the vast majority are rather brilliant.  That being said, not all assignments can be made to be fun.  Sometimes you have to put in some elbow grease to build the foundation before you can construct a beautiful home.  Education is the same principle.  You have to learn the basics and you have to master skills before you can apply them on a cool project or experiment.

If you hate school in general, hate that one class, or simply choose not to try the assignments, do your classmates the favor of not distracting them.  Be a stand up guy – or girl!  Don’t be the one to negatively impact the learning process.  Show not only self-respect but respect for your classmates and teachers as well.  You are not the only one with goals!  Do what you can to help others achieve theirs.

Having a great – or at least a tolerable—school year revolves around integrity and accountability.  Have integrity and be accountable for your own work, your own learning, and your own behavior.  Accept responsibility for your actions.  Do your part to make the classroom a place conducive to education.  Participate.  And if you choose not to participate, then observe rather than distract.  Your teachers and fellow students will thank you, and in the end, you might just realize that you actually learned something in the process.