You can hear it in the air, in homes, and at the stores. School is reopening amidst a myriad of emotions. Some emotions bring tears of separation at watching a kindergartner get on her very first school bus; some are tears of elation watching their summer-vacation- “I’m bored” children return to the halls of learning and busyness. For some working parents, it is a relief from expensive day-care and for others it is that parent’s turn to transport the neighborhood crew to and from school. How do the kids feel about returning to school? They either laugh, cry or throw up.
Whatever the scenario, the upbeat reason to return to school is to acquire wisdom, knowledge, and skills that will allow creativity and thought-provoking processes as well as behavioral and social experiences. There can be serious times – sometimes challenging or frustrating — but it can also be fun times with clubs, sports, class trips, and special activities. Also on the plus side, there are friendships formed that can last a lifetime and even short friendship spurts teach versatility and diversity in getting along with others. A ‘special’ teacher can be an influence or mentor in future endeavors.
Guidelines and rules for school behavior are similar to those that students’ parents may have had, but here’s some tips for going back to school starting with a really good attitude. I offer the following – not for the parents – but for the returning students.
1) “Rules” cover a multitude of guidelines that all schools set forth for their students. Everyone must follow them if there is to be order and learning. Rules are important because you will be asked to follow rules all your life. And it causes stress and problems if you don’t abide by them. This is as true in school as it is in your life now or will be in your adult life.
2) Each school has dress codes. It’s important you follow them to the letter so that you won’t be surprised if you are sent home if you wear a pajama top to school. Or a curse word on your T-shirt. Or your underwear is showing more than your pants are.
3) The use of cell phones, iPods, and other electronic devices are usually strictly prohibited during the school day. Yes, that includes texting. Cell phones are distracting not only during class but in the halls. If you can’t control yourself – then leave them home or silenced in your locker.
4) Although we all get colds or sick, try to attend class regularly and be on time. It is important to ‘keep up’ with new lessons and equally important to be on time so that your tardiness does not take away from class time. Besides, it looks bad on your record which won’t matter to you now but may in the future.
5) Do your homework and check it twice. Homework done hastily or while playing video games can affect your grade if it is incorrect. Give it your best efforts – it reflects who you are and what you know and how you express it.
6) Try to be friendly to all. Avoid ’cliques’ or being rude to other students who may be different. It can escalate to bullying or cyber bullying or discrimination which are detriments to all.
If you follow the rules, you can have a pleasant learning experience that will prepare you for adult life. If there are situations that arise that are against school rules or are questionable in safety to you or others, don’t hesitate to notify a teacher or the principal. They want everyone in their school to have a safe environment.
I’ll add for good measure and take a slogan from the Army — Be All That You Can Be. It doesn’t mean living up to anyone else’s standards or trying to get a better grade than Amy or Juan – but simply doing the best work you can to your ability and being the best kind of person you want to be. It’s all up to you. Have a great and successful school year.
© Marie Coppola, Revised August 2017