As teachers, we work everyday with students whom we challenge to become good students. Good students are not born; they are made through dedication, hard work and perseverance. It takes students, parents and teachers to develop good students.
Good students are not those who make straight A’s (although they may be). Good students are not those who score “commended” on their TAKS tests (although they may be). Good students are not those who get into their college of choice with a full scholarship (although they might).
Good students are simply students who work and take responsibility for their education. They don’t have excuses why the work wasn’t done. They don’t have excuses why they failed a test. They take an active part in their education. They don’t wait for the teacher to pour the information into their brain. They ask questions, want to learn more, and are willing to work and to try new things.
So, now that we know what a good student is (and is not), what makes a good student?
First off, plenty of sleep and enough of the right foods are both important components. Without sufficient sleep and healthy food, a person becomes lethargic and has difficulty focusing. Daily exercise is another important piece of this puzzle.
Curiosity should be encouraged and modeled. As parents, we can show our children how to be curious about the world around them. We can show them how to think about things, how to wonder, how to evaluate and even how to form opinions.
Dedication is also necessary to the formation of a good student. A student should be committed to the idea of actively seeking an education. The idea of being a good student should be a priority, something to work toward.
A sense of discipline encourages students to prioritize their tasks and complete work on time.
Learning good study habits is another key concept. Learning how to take notes, learning how to skim and read passages, learning how to study for tests, learning how to master vocabulary are all important facets to student success.
We support all students at the high school in many ways. We challenge them to do their best. We expect them to take responsibility for their work and their education. We support and assist struggling students with tutoring, re-teaching and differentiated instruction to compel each student to reach his or her highest potential.
We have software available to read books aloud to students. We have paraprofessionals assisting in many classrooms. We have programs in place to help students achieve success in the classroom and on the TAKS tests. We have software available for credit recovery. We challenge students to think more deeply about ideas. We push each student to grow into responsible, productive adults. We want each student to complete assigned work, actively participate in class and ask questions.
If any student follows these guidelines are they guaranteed to receive all As? No. Are they guaranteed to pass all tests? No. Are they guaranteed admission to any college or university? No.
But if a student follows these guidelines I will guarantee a good education. This good student will emerge from the process with an understanding of the world. This good student will be a young adult with self-respect, self-confidence and self-reliance. Isn’t that what we want for each student?