30 August 2010

Starting School Right

For many high school and college students, classes either started today, Monday the 29th, or they start soon. (Some unfortunate students started already, so be glad you had additional vacation). Everyone is nervous about their first few days and wants to make a great impression on the teachers and students that they haven't seen since the previous year. I mean really, who wants to start off on the wrong foot?

So how do you avoid starting school on the wrong foot? - There are a few ways to make your life easier the first week but in order for them to be successful, you need to put a lot of energy into them. Let’s start with seating, because everyone needs a seat. Most teachers allow students to sit wherever they want on the first day of class in order to see who they like to talk with and be around. It is a test; your first test of the school year. Where do you sit? The students who choose to sit in the front row are usually the smarter kids that the teacher does not need to worry about. The students in the back are typically the quieter students, or those who do not want to be picked on. You want to try to sit in the middle of the class because it is neither extreme. Sitting in the middle also puts you right in the line of sight of the teacher so that if you ever have questions he/she can see you. This also lets the teacher know that you don't necessarily care where you sit, and teachers typically reward those students with good seats; they generally get to stay in the middle. This is all my theory, but having been to the first day of school many times, I have seen it in action.

Next comes behaving in class the whole day. You want to find a balance of talking with other students and paying attention to the teacher. If you pay attention the whole time, then the teacher will think that you are a nerdy person and treat you as such. On the flip side, if you talk with others and interrupt the entire time, then the teacher will find you disrespectful. Find a balance for each teacher leaning a bit more towards the quiet side. However, humans are social creatures, so the teachers can relate better if you talk with friends on occasion, or even crack a few jokes. There is nothing wrong with joking around with your teachers; it lets them know that it is ok to talk with you and interact with the class. You will get some brownie points if you make them laugh.

Every teacher will hand out a course syllabus and expectations sheet for the entire year. The teachers want these papers back ASAP, so do what they want. Get the papers signed and bring them back as fast as you can. If you start off turning in papers late, then you will leave a bad impression on the teacher that will take some time to correct. It isn't even that hard to do, just remember to get your parents to sign the paper. I knew some teachers in the past that have become very angry when someone did not turn in the signed expectations sheet. You do not want to be that person who forgets it.

You also need to realize that every teacher is different. Some are relaxed and funny while others adhere strictly to the rules and leave no room for error. Watch your teacher and learn how they react to certain things. You do not want to push the rules or make too many jokes if you have a strict teacher because they will feel like you are testing them. The last thing that anyone wants to do is test a teacher. The teacher will always win. At the same time, to not be the awkward quiet one with a teacher who has a more lax approach to class. Judge your teachers and act accordingly. This will help you get along with your teachers, because people like other people who share common interests.

Lastly, try your best. Teachers hate it when students do not try. They spend their time and effort putting knowledge into your head, and not trying is a personal insult to them. Why bother teaching if you are not even going to try. You will lose the teacher's respect very quickly and he or she will leave you behind. Don't do this. It is stupid.

So that is what I have to help you start school right. I am sure that there are many other people with other suggestions out there, but I feel that these are the most relevant and yield the best results. 


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Matthew Burdick said...

I can relate to this statement: "You also need to realize that every teacher is different." This is indeed true because there are some teachers who are really strict especially when they instruct their students to write essay. However, there are other teachers who are very lenient.

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