Saturday, August 08, 2009

Managing School the Easy Way (Part 1)

A number of years ago, I composed an article for a parent newsletter entitled "Managing School the Easy Way" when I was serving as principal at Graham Elementary School. Two years ago, I broke that article down into 5 relatively short posts. Over the next two weeks, I will be re-posting those hints for getting the school year off to a good start and keeping it going.

Managing School the Easy Way (Part I)

Experienced teachers will tell us that school success and intelligence do not always go hand-in-hand. Often, very bright young people don’t remember to do assignments, lose their work, and spend inordinate amounts of time frantically looking for things on a messy desk.

At the same time, other students breeze through school. They seem to make school look easy, but not because they are necessarily smarter than their peers. They have acquired some very easy, very teachable habits. Over the next several weeks, I will share some suggestions which make navigating school much easier.

The first of these tips is to write down the things you have to do as soon as they occur to you. Try to simply remember everything you have to do and you are headed for trouble. Even young people today have many activities on which you must focus your attention—homework, athletic practices, family activities, and chores are just some of the obligations you have. The easy thing to do is let pencil and paper do the remembering. 

Get it on paper and you can get it off your mind! A student planner is the perfect tool for this purpose. The big advantage of using such a book is that all commitments are in one place.

The planner should not just be for school assignments. It can and should be the one place which traps every responsibility you have. As you list athletic games and practices, after-school activities, school projects as well as day-to-day assignments, you begin to see the big picture and can begin to budget your time.

Therefore, the first step towards managing school the easy way is to write down things you have to do as soon as they occur to you.
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