2014-09-02T08_16_38

Advice to Students Preparing for the First Day of the New School Year

Every year, at the end of the summer, parents and children get a chance to anticipate and then enjoy a very special day, the first day back at school. This is a very important time of the year. Expectations for the year ahead will be set for students, teachers and parents alike. It makes sense to spend a little time planning for the first day of school to make it as successful as possible. Here are my recommendations for a great start to the school year.

Firstly, do what you are doing now! Think about the first day back at school a little before the day arrives. If you are returning to the same school that you were in last year you will have an impression of what that first day will hold for you. Think through the details and plan to respond accordingly. If this is a new school, you will likely have an optional orientation day. If this is the case, take advantage of that day. You will get the chance to learn how the school works and know the lay of the land on that first day.

Everyone will almost certainly have a new teacher on the first day back at school. Do you know this teacher, even by reputation, already? If so, think about the first day of school from his or her perspective. The teacher will want to get to know his or her pupils as quickly as possible. He or she will want to know who the talkative children are, who may be unruly, who can be trusted to be responsible and so on. Although great teachers know that first impressions may be wrong, it can take a while to recover from faulty first impressions. So make an effort to present yourself well on that first day. This is a particularly important day to be paying attention to the teacher, not chattering with your friends, and it is also a great day to be neat and tidy and to adopt a reasonably low key approach to stretching the fashion envelope of the school.

I hope that you are not horrified by the superficiality of this recommendation. Unfortunately, the numbers support the 'make a sound first impressions' approach. A typical class these days will contain 30 or so children. If you imagine how long it would take to form an accurate understanding of a given person, say 4 hours of one-to-one conversation, and realize that for the whole class this would take 120 hours. You then have to realize that three weeks of concentrated one-to-one conversation is required to get to know the whole class, and no teaching would be occurring during this time. No teacher has that amount of time, these days. So, it is clear that teachers must allow themselves to make snap judgments. Sadly, at school, just as in the world in general, people form impressions based on whether your shoes are clean and your hair is tidy!

So, on that first day back at school, and for that matter for the first few days back at school, pay attention and be smartly turned out. You will find that a favorably formed impression will be slow to fade!

Those first few days are also good days to make sure that you are well rested, have had breakfast, and have the appropriate materials that you need for your lessons. If you were given a letter containing needed supplies, make sure that you have obtained them.

This will allow the teacher and your fellow pupils to understand that you are well organized and prepared at school.

If you need signed forms on the first day back at school, make sure that you have these too and that they are appropriately signed, too!

If you are lucky enough to have been away from your home town during the summer vacation now is a good time not to allow your wonderful vacation to impinge on the beginning of the school year. Some pupils will not have had the chance to escape for a vacation and if you have not allowed yourself some time to recover from jet lag and get organized for the school year you will be sending the wrong impression to your teacher too. You want you teacher to know that you are attending school to learn and that you are an eager student not a jet setter who unfortunately has to attend school between holidays!

Take a moment to think through and plan what your first few days back at school will be like. You will find that it is a great investment and will set you up for a spectacular year!

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