Back to school basics

Published August 19, 2017
Illustration by Ahmed Amin
Illustration by Ahmed Amin

Going to school is an exciting as well as a daunting task that students have to face every day. While for many, being in school is all cool and stress-free, for others it can be a tough job that they just don’t seem to get right.

What many of us don’t realise — and yes we may finish our education without realising it — is that proper school and student etiquettes are things that may not come naturally to everyone. And even if some kids are good enough to pick it up on their way towards adulthood, they still need a lot of constant guidance from parents, teachers and others, to show them the right way of doing things in schools.

Of course our parents and teachers keep guiding us, but we should also make an effort to know what we should do and what we shouldn’t do at school. And for this, here are a few of the things you need to take care of, some which you already know and some which you may have ignored, so that school time is the best time of your day.

parents and teachers keep guiding us, but we should also make an effort to know what we should and what we shouldn’t do at school. And for this, here are a few things you need to take care of, some of which you already know and some you may have ignored, so that school time is the best time of your day.

Be on time

Anyone can be late to school once in a while, but coming late every day, or every other day, is a big no-no. If you are frequently late, then it means something isn’t happening the right way in the morning.

You may not be getting up early enough to be ready and on your way to school before time, your transportation system to school isn’t right, your parents are not doing enough to ensure you are ready and at school on time, or you really don’t care about school.

Whatever it is, it needs to be fixed. You know the reason best, so you are also in the best position to find a way to fix the problem and arrive at least a few minutes before school starts, so that you can settle down well in the class before the lesson begins. And if you have to attend the school assembly, you can do so without still carrying your bag because you didn’t have time to put it in the classroom.

Latecomers also leave a poor impression on teachers and classmates, so don’t spoil your image.

Be regular

You know better than anyone what it means if you miss school frequently — missed classes means missed class work and class tests, missed lectures so you can’t fully understand what was taught. And there is so much more that is lost this way, so regular attendance is important.

Be well-groomed

Be in proper uniform and polished shoes. Your hair and nails should be short and neat. Everyone knows when they are well-groomed, neat and looking smart, so be that way each morning. It will improve your self-esteem and confidence too.

Of course, grooming doesn’t mean you overdo it and dress up the way you are not supposed to at school.

Illustration by Ahmed Amin
Illustration by Ahmed Amin

Have all your supplies

Packing your bag at night to make sure you have all that you need in the morning is a practice that will help not just in school, but also at university and your job. Once you get into the habit, it will become second nature to you and you will be less likely to forget something important at home that you may need the next day at school.

It is really annoying for teachers if students don’t bring their notebooks or textbooks, and for classmates when someone forgets their stationery and borrows it from them.

And one should also make it a habit to keep an extra pen or pencil, whichever is used, and a rough notebook for emergencies. You never know when it can come in handy.

Know the school rules

Knowing your school rules helps you stay out of trouble and also get out of trouble. If you get into the habit of breaking school rules, especially if it means only getting a scolding or light punishment, this habit will become a part of your personality and you will be careless about rules in general.

And this is why we see people being least bothered about rules on the road, like the traffic signal, or standing in queues and waiting for their turn.

Cleanliness is king

You have to own your school, you make it into what it is. The staff do have the job of running and maintenance, but you need to play your part too.

It takes one person to make a mess, but all must work to keep it tidy, just as it is the case with our homes.

Respect your teachers and classmates

To get respect, you need to give it too. Teachers are your guides, they shape your personalities and future, if you make the effort to form a good relationship with them based on respect and obedience, they will care more for you and help you gladly.

The same goes for your classmates, if you are friendly and helpful, others will be the same way with you. It is fine to joke around with friends and have fun, but don’t make fun of others as it hurts to be laughed at. And making fun can turn into bullying quickly.

Never be a bully because it can cause psychological damage to the victim, that is more harmful than any physical injury that they may receive.

Be prepared for class

By reading, or at least glancing, what lesson is going to be taught in the class beforehand, you will find it easy to follow the lecture and grasp what is being done in the class. You will also be in a better position to answer questions and take part in class discussions.

Do your work on time

Time management is as important as studying well for a student. You need good time management to complete all the note-taking during classes, turning in your homework on time, meeting all deadlines and complete your tests and exams in the allocated time.

And it is a good idea to get into the habit of wearing a watch and glancing at it often to remain on schedule for all things. Keeping a close eye on the watch will help you all your life, especially when you starting working.

Don’t be the class clown or a nuisance

Speaking too much in the class, even if it is by asking too many questions, is only going to make you a nuisance. Don’t speak up just for the sake of it or to make others laugh. It will waste everyone’s time, cause distraction, break the rhythm of the lecture and others may not get the chance to ask serious and meaningful questions.

Nobody likes a person who tries to dominate class discussions or conversations in general, so don’t be that person as it will make you seem less intelligent and more overbearing.

No chatting and pranks

Well, this may seem like taking all the fun away from school time, but when serious studying is going on, do not chat with others, even in whispers. Nothing is more irritating to a teacher than seeing students talking or distracted in class.

There are breaks during each class when general discussion is going, you are noting down things from the board or the teacher has wrapped up teaching and is letting you absorb what has been taught. These are the times you can, after seeking permission, speak up or say something to someone.

No gadgets or expensive things

Most schools do not allow cellphones and other gadgets in school. You should follow this rule too, don’t get tempted to sneak in the new gadget your dad got, to show off, or bring your designer accessories to impress others.

Such things can be lost, stolen and confiscated at school. Plus showing off this way is really a very cheap way to behave. Try to impress others with your manners and performance in class rather than your possessions.

And also don’t bring a lot of money to school, just enough for the canteen and emergency needs, if at all you are allowed to bring money to school.

No slang words or fights

Don’t use slang words at all, especially at school. A lot of words that are slang have become fashionable, but that doesn’t make them acceptable, so avoid them.

Fights, especially physical ones, are totally unacceptable. If there are arguments, report them to a teacher rather than take matters in your own hands and settle it in an aggressive manner. Things can get out of hand very quickly and anyone can get hurt. Avoiding fights and aggression is a sign of maturity that will help you all your life.

These are some of the things that will make your school life a successful one and which will pave the way for how well you do later on in other situations. So good luck with school and studies.

Published in Dawn, Young World August 19th, 2017


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