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Back to school with character

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It’s almost August and that means back to school for students, parents and teachers. Below are a few tips for students (and parents) that may not appear on the standard list, but are good to keep in mind. Some of these are taken from Woodburn Press’s Study Skills InfoGuide – Succeeding in Class. You’ll notice that these tips also fall under the character education umbrella. Part of being a successful student/parent/employee is the integrity of good character.

*Adapt to your teachers. You may be of the opinion that the teacher should adapt to you. In the classroom however, teachers have earned the educational level required to be in charge, and the rules, procedures and curriculum do have merit. Part of a well rounded education and preparation for the future world of work is learning how to adapt to different sets of rules, personalities and teaching styles. It is not your responsibility to like a teacher; it is your responsibility to learn. Teachers have a valuable service to offer. Take it. The day will come when you have to adapt to a work situation. Learning that skill now will keep you employed. In character education, we call it cooperation and respect.

*Be a good group member. Working on school projects, extracurricular activities, the band or school play, you must be able to get along with others. Employers often say that the number one reason people get fired from their jobs is an inability to get along with their supervisors and/or co-workers. Share your ideas, be open-minded to the suggestions of others, and do your share. In character education, this is another example of cooperation as well as citizenship and responsibility.

*Participate! Even if you are shy or feel lost. The more you speak up and ask questions, the more focused you’ll be. You will also build the valuable skill of assertiveness, which, among many other things, will reduce your chances of being the target of a bully. Class, just like anything else is more fun on the playing field than in the sidelines. You can always contribute something; get involved! Character education calls this courage.

*Take responsibility for your work or lack thereof. Do your own work and refrain from making excuses and laying blame. Be in charge of you! If it is a challenge, get help. If you just don’t feel like it, do it anyway. If you lose it, re-do it and take the penalty. If you need guidance, find someone at home, at school, church or a buddy to help you stay accountable. Character education calls this responsibility and trustworthiness.

You have all the power when you make the choices. Make the decision to do what you’re supposed to do, when you’re supposed to do it, whether or not you feel like it. That is self discipline and that creates achievement!

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” Robert Collier