Sunday, October 20, 2013

Keep Calm and Be a Blazer: Tips for the Best School Year Ever!

As a former high school newspaper columnist (shout out to the LCHS Hilite!), I was thrilled when the newspaper staff at my new school asked me to be the first teacher guest columnist of the year.

I thought I'd share with you what I wrote: 

Keep Calm and be a Blazer

Can you smell that?  Fresh pencils, crisp paper, falling leaves – a new school year has begun.  With new classes and unfamiliar teachers, it can be easy to panic.  As a teacher new to Timberline, I’ll share my game plan for the best school year ever: Keep Calm and Be a Blazer! Huddle up, and I’ll give you the details.

Control what you can.  As much as we might try, we can’t control our parents, friends, teachers, coaches, or classmates.  However, there is someone you can control: you.  Like a wise colleague told me, “Let problems roll off your back like water off a duck’s back.” That’s what you can control.   Trying to control everything else will just frustrate you!  Be the duck.

Aim high and work hard.  What do you want to accomplish by May?  Is it a grade or SAT score?  A leadership position in a club or sports team?  A commitment to a college or workplace?  Pinpoint your most important goals and focus your energy like a laser beam.  If you don’t succeed at your first attempt, keep trying.  After all, Abraham Lincoln lost 8 elections before becoming president!

Learn something new.  A few years ago, my dad decided to take piano lessons.  As any daughter would, I teased him relentlessly (“Were there pianos in the Paleolithic Age, Dad?”), but it was inspirational to watch him learn something totally foreign.  It’s never too late to try something new.  Audition for the musical.  Join a club.  Try out for swim team.  You never know what may spark a new passion. 

Meet people.  I heard a statistic once (I don’t know if it’s true because 73% of statistics are made up) that most people spend 90% of their time with the same 10 people.  That’s fine, but there are many interesting people walking the halls of Timberline who you don’t yet know!  Start a conversation with someone new.  I did during my freshman year and met Mr. Groen (Side note: he didn’t go by Mr. Groen back then.  That would’ve been weird)!  

While this advice is aimed at students, it can absolutely apply to teachers, too!  What are your tips for having the best school year ever?

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