BY TED SHOCKLEY, Eastern Shore Post
To those high-achieving, book bag-carrying, pencil-sharp students teachers tout and principals praise, this note isn’t for you. So go hang your wash on someone else’s line.
I am now holding the annual meeting of the Eastern Shore Mediocre and Bad Students Club, of which I am president, and honor roll students are not invited.
Admission to the club is open to students in Accomack or Northampton counties who had a report card or classroom actions that made their mamas cry, their daddies curse, or their teachers quit.
Most of us don’t take pride in our club membership. We just learned too late that hunches and prayers aren’t good test-taking strategies.
We have excuses. Some of us ended up in classes we didn’t really care about. Some of us never really went to class at all.
After school, some of us were too busy piddling to fool with homework. We didn’t like chemistry but we really liked to piddle.
It is no sin to be a member of the Eastern Shore Mediocre and Poor Students Club. But it is shameful to be a lifetime member, like I am.
Here are some tips on how even a dummy like me can do better in school and climb out of our club:
1. Just show up. A lot of people do not understand the many advantages incurred by just being there — at school, work, the ballgame, anything.
As I always say, 70% of the secret to life is just showing up. The other 60% percent is math.
2. Take advantage of the first month or so of class. A bare, first-day-of-school gradebook is your friend —there are no bad grades in it.
And the first month or so of class is usually the easiest — most of the material is review.
So load that gradebook with plenty of good grades to start the year. It will help balance out the bad grades you get when the material becomes harder.
3. Do your homework. Some classes count homework as a big part of your final grade.
That’s good because any numbskull can scribble out some homework answers.
You could fail every test but submit all of the homework and other assignments, and you stand a good chance of getting a “C” for your final grade.
Remember: There are no “As” or “Bs” in the word “success.” But there are two “Cs.”
4. Look attentive. Teachers notice who is paying attention, and who isn’t.
By looking attentive, the teachers might think you are paying attention and following along.
This can help in two ways: By paying attention, you might learn something. But even if you don’t learn anything, the teachers will think you are active and engaged, which could benefit you.
5. Ask for help after class. Of course, if you are like me, you need all the help you can get.
But asking for help will make it look like you want to improve. It will make you look dedicated. Teachers appreciate stuff like that.
So fellow members of the Mediocre and Bad Students Club — follow those rules. Go to school every day. Start strong. Do your homework. Look attentive. Ask for help. You might fail every test. But you’ll probably pass the class based on your perceived effort.
If not, I’ll see you at next year’s club meeting.
The writer is editor of the Eastern Shore Post. Reach him at [email protected]