I think I can help, but it’s going to take commitment to try my suggestions. Here is a Top Ten list of tips:
- Stay organized. Have an organizational system that allows you to keep papers, assignments, etc. neat and easy to find. A folder with pockets for each class is a great way to have assignments and handouts handy. Put the most recent handout in the front of the pocket so it is easy to see. Don’t just throw your papers in your backpack when the bell rings. Take time to organize them in the right folders.
- Use a calendar and write down all your assignments and activities. Plan out time to study or do homework on the calendar, and stick with it.
- Hone your study skills. Learn how to study for the way you learn best. If you need to rewrite notes or reread passages of text, use notecards with main ideas and examples on them to help you remember. Don’t wait until the last minute to study for a test or write a paper. Start early and do a little at a time. You will be surprised what you remember and how much better your essay will become if you give it time to “sit” and time for you to think.
- Do all the homework and in-class assignments, and turn them in on time. Take notes! This requires motivation and dedication. But if you have done all of the other things listed, it will be easier.
- Every morning before you go to school, take two minutes to make sure you have everything you need for the day. Teachers have heard thousands of excuses about leaving homework or materials at home. Make sure you are prepared for the day by organizing your folders, books, and materials at night for the next day.
- Advocate for yourself. You have to learn to ask for help. Make an appointment with your teacher for some one-on-one tutoring; ask questions if you don’t understand something. Your school’s media specialist is a great resource. Be respectful and show willingness to redo work if possible. ASK! For example, “Mrs. Jones, I didn’t do well on my essay. Can I talk to you about it and redo it for a better grade?” I bet your teacher will be glad to help you.
- Stay focused in class. Don’t let other students pull you off task. A little talking is okay, but you need to make sure you listen, especially during directions and transitions in lessons. Put your cell phone away!
- Start study groups, have peers help you revise and edit writings. Quiz each other over questions you’ve anticipated will be on a test.
- Love to learn just for the sake of knowledge. Maybe science or English isn’t your thing, but it is amazing how much you will learn if you love to learn! Read fun books outside of class, go to good movies, take a walk through a museum, and learn about the past. Watch the news, read a newspaper, and get some exercise.
- Put social media second after your school work. Have meaningful conversations with your friends and family. Participate in activities and see the world!
I hope this helps! It’s sometimes hard to do, and you will occasionally slip up. Stay motivated and find learning fun and rewarding. You’ll never regret being smart and informed!