As the Back-to-School Sales spring into full force, I extend my best wishes to administrators, faculty, and students in hopes that 2016-2017 is the best year ever! Respectfully, I have several suggestions.
For parents, I suggest that you attend all PTA Meetings. Introduce yourselves to your children’s teachers, and express your unwavering support for their efforts at all educational endeavors. Express your commitment to the dress code and your intention to keep track of all assignments (e.g., papers, tests, projects, and examinations), and then make good on the commitment. Have dinner with your children and discuss assignments and any upcoming deadlines. Read the newspaper and insist that your children do the same. At the dinner table, talk about what you have read.
For students, I recommend that you assume the student role. On the first day of class, introduce yourselves to your teachers and express your determination to do well during the upcoming year. Remember that you only have one opportunity to make a good first impression. Observe and respect the dress code, and do what you can to maintain and enhance the learning atmosphere of the classroom. Resist the temptation to get a cheap laugh, and don’t feed into the negative behavior of others. Come to class having read all assigned materials, and keep track of upcoming deadlines. Do not write term papers the night before they are due. When test papers are returned to you, look up the answers to any questions you did not understand. Do not mock the determination you see in your classmates. Express gratitude!
For faculty, I suggest that you do not look to your students to get your friendship needs met. It is possible to be cordial without being overly-familiar. Maintain some reserve. In hopes of inspiring enthusiasm, you may be tempted to give students better grades than they deserve. Resist the temptation.
Best wishes for 2016-2017!
Andrew J. Billups, PsyD