For many high school students, August seems to be the favored month for the start of back-to-school. For students involved in sports, many have actually been training and working out even before the traditional pre-season of the school year officially began, and August means the start of when they can demonstrate their hard work. For others, the start of school means the reduction or the stopping of work for summer jobs as they begin to focus on their studies.
As a high school principal, my previous talks to students at the start of the school year focused on these four rules—applicable to all whether you’re an athlete, have a part-time job or anyone else.
- Show up. Attendance is critical to your success—you have to be there to get the instruction offered by your teachers. For online students, you have to open up your coursework and you have to submit assignments frequently so that there is evidence of your involvement and participation on a frequent basis. Ask questions of your online teachers [firstname.lastname@example.org]—this lets them know you’re engaged in the process.
- Do your work. Not only is it critical that you do the assignments and work assigned to you by your teachers, but you should do quality work. Remember, everything you turn in has your name on it. Your name should mean something—it is who you are and stands for the integrity of your good character. Be proud of each and every assignment you submit because it represents (or should), your very best efforts.
- Practice civility. Students who really care about their education demonstrate great amounts of civility toward others—even folks they don’t know. Your words and actions matter, whether it is how you speak and act towards members of your community, others are forming an impression of how you manage yourself as a human being. Keep your words and actions positive and reflective of your dedication to yourself. Your words matter to your teachers as they grade your work and your projects. Use them wisely and carefully. Online teachers can quickly pick up the “tone” of your comments in your writing. Make it a point to practice your civility online!
- School comes first. If you continue to work during the school year, which is perfectly fine (and more power to you!), just remember that your schoolwork should be your priority.
If you follow these simple rules, you are more likely to enjoy the learning experience this year.
I hope that what you will take away from this is experience is a life-long love of learning that will guide you along a very productive life. Have a great start to your year!