Back to School

As my older daughter Martina and I were preparing notebooks, folders, markers for school at the beginning of last week, I came across a paper that her math teacher gave her in first grade and which the students have to have behind the front cover of their notebook. I had kept a copy in my office because I loved it, and I would now like to share it with you because it talks about the basic rules we should all live by.
I have no idea where the teacher got it from, there is a book that talks about something very similar: All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten, by Robert Fulghum.

So here is what Martina has in her math notebook: the title is To be well together…

• Try to express your feelings with nice words even if you’re angry.
• Try to tolerate bad behaviors of some of your classmates.
• Remember though, to ask the teachers for help if someone makes you suffer for any reason.
• Collaborate with your classmates helping who is in need or accepting help from others.
• Share your material with generosity with who forgets theirs; it’ll happen to you too.
• Listen carefully to the teacher’s explanations.
• Ask for clarification only after you’ve listened well.
• Raise your hand when you want to say something and wait for your turn.
• You can chat a little bit in the activities in two or in groups.
• Behave with honesty during the tests: work on your own without looking at your classmates papers.
• Try to sit up right, but remember that you are a child and not a statue.
• Use your free time in a useful way for you

  • Clean up your material
  • Sharpen your colors
  • Complete the assignments that you did carelessly or in a hurry
  • Invent a problem or an operation
  • Go through your multiplication chart

• Or in a useful way for your classmates: help who are in need
• Get in line without discussing or wasting time when the teacher asks for it.

We could all probably go on for pages discussing these wise and simple ‘instructions’.  I think we all pretty much grew up with them, and somewhere along the way, we forget them. Did we forget them, or chose to forget them because caught up by our fear sometimes it is more convenient to take other roads?

In moments of doubt, or sadness, fear or confusion, if you were your own parent, what advice would you give yourself? That’s what you should listen to!

Hope your autumn or spring is off to a great start!

Nancy Cooklin

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