Ten Things All Returning Students Should Know:
Mike K
United States
Fairless Hills
Pennsylvania
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One very nice aspect of the teaching profession in the US: we get summer's off. (For me, that was only August, as I spent five weeks in June & July teaching summer school.) All that is coming to an end; teachers report for work next week in my district, with students coming a week later.

The following is a personal-opinion list of ten things I would stress that all returning students should know.
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1. Board Game: Return to Oz [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Mike K
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Fairless Hills
Pennsylvania
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Teachers are just as enthusiastic to return as students.

Though I enjoyed having these last 4 weeks off, I'm actually looking forward to earning my keep once again, and perhaps inspiring a student or two in the process.

I'm hopeful that the majority of students aren't simply thinking, "Where'd the summer go?", but that some small part of their minds is also looking forward to returning.
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2. Board Game: Starship Troopers: Prepare For Battle! [Average Rating:5.73 Overall Rank:10037]
Mike K
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Fairless Hills
Pennsylvania
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Be prepared.

It drives me insane how many students can't even have a pencil and/or simple notebook for the first days of school. Pencils are cheap, kids; be ready to at least write down info for the teachers' requests.
 
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3. Board Game: Starters [Average Rating:4.67 Unranked]
Mike K
United States
Fairless Hills
Pennsylvania
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It's a Fresh Start.

It doesn't matter if you barely squeaked by on low Ds last year, or had to work through summer school to make up some Fs. Everyone's back to 100% in all classes on that first day, so step up to the challenge of maintaining it.
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4. Board Game: Build [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Mike K
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Fairless Hills
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Build upon what you've done.

This runs a bit counter to the previous comment, but it's important. Hopefully you didn't just empty your brain of everything you got out of last year.

If such is the case, make a point to catch up before the new work bogs you down. Most classes do review work over the first week anyway; if you can't cut that material, it's not too early to seek a little after-school help.
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5. Board Game: Help Arrives! [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
 
Mike K
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Get help sooner rather than later.

Similar to the previous comment. If after one or two weeks you find that you can't do the homework, or you're faring poorly on your quizzes, get extra help.

I know that many kids (especially in HS) have multiple activities and/or after-school jobs that may prevent a lot of help, but you need to prioritize. If you struggle early and fail to catch up, you'll have a miserable semester in that class. If you can't stay after school, come before school. Get help during lunch if possible. Be proactive.
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6. Board Game: Grandmama's Improved Game of Useful Knowledge [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Mike K
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Fairless Hills
Pennsylvania
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What you learn IS useful.

Whatever you think of the subject material, there's a reason you're learning it ... and it's not just so you can answer questions on some game show or teach your kids in the future.

English and Reading (hopefully) are important in day-to-day life. History tells you where we've been, and helps us with where we're going. Science explains all around us, helps us understand the magic of our world, and steers us to how best to tackle upcoming problems. And even if you're not going to use the Cosine function in day-to-day life, skill in math translates into skill in logical thinking, reasoning, and puzzle-solving. Master math, and you can master virtually any subject.
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7. Board Game: The Club [Average Rating:4.48 Overall Rank:15212]
Mike K
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Fairless Hills
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Get involved in clubs & activities.

The school experience should not end when the last class of the day does. Every school has a myriad of sports, clubs, and activities that suit a number of interests. Take advantage, and take part in something that you'll really enjoy, with others who share your interests.

I was about as big an introvert as anyone could be in high school, but I found acceptance in clubs like the Chess Club, Mathletics, and Scholar's Bowl. Today I help run my school's Chess Club (and perhaps, eventually, introduce Eurogames to the mix). Those who come greatly enjoy it; I suspect the same is true for all clubs.
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8. Board Game: Express Yourself [Average Rating:4.96 Unranked]
Mike K
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Fairless Hills
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Be yourself.

Never forget who you are. Don't try to force yourself into another group just because they seem like the 'cool' kids. It's OK to get out of your comfort area from time to time ... I strongly recommend that ... but hold true to your own values and beliefs.
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9. Board Game: Money, Power, Respect [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Mike K
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Fairless Hills
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Respect everyone.

Respect your teachers. They work hard to educate you to the best of their abilities. Don't act up in class or cause arguments; if there's a problem, see the teacher after class and explain your problems in a one-on-one fashion.

Respect your fellow classmates. Disruptions in class hurt them as much as the teacher, and they don't deserve it even if you think the teacher does. In the hallway, don't get into childish name-calling or other putdowns. Everyone has a right to feel accepted in school.

Respect yourself. Strive to be the best you can be. Don't slack off or give up when the going gets tough. Don't resort to plagiarism or cheating, even if you think you can get away with it. A hard-earned C beats an ill-gotten A.
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10. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:391]
Mike K
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Fairless Hills
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Give a little thanks.

With some classes that I get, I often feel the need to thank them for their cooperation and hard work. If you feel the same way about a teacher or two, reciprocate.

Every now and then I get a little "thanks, Mr. K" as a student leaves; I love those moments.
 
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11. Board Game: Diplomacy [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:500]
M Hellyer
United States
Aurora
Illinois
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For many teachers returning to the classroom means confronting a class of 35 unmotivated kids whose parents are drunks, crack addicts or in jail, and the kids have the attention span of a flea. Good luck to all you dedicated teachers. A great career (summers off and retire in your 50s) but day to day for many is as stressful as walking a highwire over the Grand Canyon.
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