On Wise Use of Study Halls…

Just because you do not have an artifact-producing assignment to submit does not mean that there is nothing to do in Study Hall. Final exams are just around the corner, so start your preparation. Put the pedal to the metal, and finish hard. You’ve worked too hard to phone it in now…

And remember, there is always a next level. If you pursue the next level, you will surely experience success down the road.

On keeping one’s thoughts to oneself…

One of the most difficult urges for the adolescent/budding adult is refraining from speaking every though that enters their heads. The taming of the tongue is a skill of the wise. Grandma always said God made me with one mouth and two ears for a reason! 🙂 Being on the mind does not necessitate coming out of the mouth.

Often, if you hold your piece, the professor will answer your question. Imagine your lesson is a movie with a beginning, middle, and end… the plot is unfolding. Don’t ask what happens before the movie has even started. At the end of Act 3, if you have questions, then ask them for sure. But please avoid under-the-breath commentary during a lesson. Number one, the professor hears better than you think (especially in a small classroom). Worse, she may think you impolite.

On Attendance…

Just because you’re missing from class does not mean that nothing happened. It is your responsibility to not only find out what you missed, but to then get the notes from a classmate, visit the professor for a rundown of the lecture, etc. Deciding not to attend lecture does not make missed content unfair game for a quiz or test. That is, a reduction in class attendance (for whatever reason) does not entitle you to a reduction in content assessment.

On Gift Horses…

When you arrive late for after-school detention, and the monitor says, “No problem. Just sign in, sit down, and be quiet,” you should stop talking, sign in, sit down, and silently count your lucky stars. The exact thing not to do is to begin offering excuses for your tardiness. If the monitor says it’s okay, they don’t care… just sit down!

On Stepping Over Dollars to Pick up Pennies…

Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you earn a poor class participation grade for an activity, don’t whine to the teacher; it’s a very small portion of your grade. Learn the lesson you ignored so that you earn a good grade on the exam which is a more heavily weighted grade. (The participation grade is the penny in this analogy, and the exam score is the dollar.)

On Wise Use of Time Between Periods

Student: Can I go to the bathroom?

Me: You don’t need permission to use the restroom between periods.

Student: But I might be late…

Me: Not if you’d go to the bathroom instead of coming here first!

On Extra Credit…

There is no such thing as extra credit. You can’t eat an extra helping of french fries before you finish a regular helping, can you? So why do students ask for extra credit when they haven’t done the regular credit?

Do the regular credit, and you won’t need extra credit. At the very least ask for a do-over on the regular credit. Remember that crosswords, word searches, and other simplistic puzzles do not eliminate skill gaps. Your grade is (or at least should be) a reflection of your achievement against a set of standards. Last I checked, word searches won’t make you better at solving math problems. But doing more math problems always will.