The Superintendent's Report: Hints for Success in Schools

Posted by Daniel Seamans on 3/3/2020 12:00:00 PM

Dr. Jerry L. Oates, Superintendent of Schools


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Frequently a parent will ask me before or after a meeting or sometimes even stop me during my frequent trips to Walmart and ask me what they can do to help their child be successful in school. Most of the time I do not know their child, but I do know that my experience in education has taught me while all students are different and learn at different rates, there are some basic principles which can facilitate their academic success in school.


I have never met a teacher who did not want every child in his or her class to succeed. They want them to demonstrate growth and improvement throughout the school year and their school career. They care about each and every one. However, it is not their job to do the students’ thinking or learning. That is the responsibility of the student. There are some strategies, I believe, which help each student succeed both in school and life.


A friend of mine told me that while visiting a navy destroyer, he saw a sign which he has never forgotten. It had real meaning to him and to me as well. The sign read, “He who asks a question is a fool for a minute. He who never asks a question is a fool forever.”  The bottom line and first rule to success in school is simple. If your child does not understand or something that is being taught is “fuzzy” to him or her, ask questions immediately. Seek a full understanding from the teacher.


A second rule for success is one my mother taught me. Always be positive. Teachers love to work with students (and parents) who are positive. The positivity will also create a “can do” attitude that will help your child have the confidence to ask questions if they do not understand. It will also help them be a role model for their peers about the power of positive thinking.


A quote I read recently was, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you are bound to end up somewhere.” This reinforced to me that the third rule essential for student success in school is simple--follow directions. Following rules and directions is an essential aspect of being a good student. Not doing so can lead to mistakes and decrease success.


Completing assignments and homework on time is another critical element in being a good student and developing the habits so essential for future success. It is important for students to remember that they will probably change jobs--on average--seven times in a lifetime. This means they must be lifelong learners who have to study and learn when assuming a new job. Doing their homework will be a requirement in any new work situation.


Summarily, it is important for parents and students to remember that success in school depends on actually building a skill set for future achievements in life. Ask questions if you don’t understand. Always be positive. Follow directions and make sure tasks are completed on time. These nuggets for success continue well into adulthood!