Back-to-School Tips to Make a Difference this Year

With summer coming to a close and the fall quickly upon us, I felt it would be appropriate to share a few words of wisdom and back-to-school tips with all of us that work with children.

Back to School sign

Hello both veteran and new teachers! Congratulations on being chosen to undertake the daunting task of molding the future of our society and maybe even the world.  You are entering the hallowed halls of teaching my friends! You have been given a gift by the parents and administrators in your community.  Yes, a GIFT! Your gift is the mere opportunity to instill enthusiasm, education, encouragement, and empowerment.  If you cherish your gift and wield it wisely, you could potentially and positively impact a young person forever.  You could open doors to other worlds for some lucky kid; doors he/she thought impossible to open and walk through before meeting you.  You will have the power to make the wrong seem right, turn dark into light, and possibly transform the meek into might.  Please use this gift honorably, it is an awesome responsibility.

But the quest will not be easy. Education is the toughest profession in the world if you tackle it appropriately and it should not be entered into lightly.  Good things and favorable results do not happen “magically” or by chance.  Learning will occur when a compassionate, dedicated, enthusiastic, empathetic, organized, flexible, creative, intelligent and caring individual willingly desires to share his/her time, energy, emotions, soul, and character in order to ATTEMPT to make a difference in the lives of young people.  And there is no guarantee that success will take place.  However, if you “stay the cause” the odds will be in your favor.

I have given a ton of thought and reflection to what new and veteran teachers would both want or need to know before they embark (or continue to embark) on the journey to mold and shape the future of their community and possibly a portion of this great Nation.  I will simply mention what I wish someone had shared with me early in my teaching/coaching career as I navigated my path of trying to make a difference by making a connection.  I will let and encourage you to decide if these back to school tips can help you on your trip. Here it is, plain and simple, from a guy who learned through education, experience, and “trial-by-fire”:

  • Set high expectations
  • Work hard
  • Be creative
  • Seek advice often
  • Over plan EVERYDAY
  • Be friendly, kind, and respectful  
  • Set up and follow routines
  • Be flexible
  • Encourage and reward kids
  • Use appropriate nicknames
  • Follow your heart and your deepest instincts
  • FIND YOUR OWN STYLE and use it
  • Have FUN!
  • Find a BALANCE between work and home
  • Never, ever give up on a kid!

Above all, please remember one simple rule,  You are Always on Stage! Every time you look at or speak to a child/student/athlete you have the incredible power to hurt them or help them, break them down or build them up, insult them or inspire them, enable them or empower them. EVERY interaction is an opportunity to Make a Difference in their lives! Each interaction is an important opportunity to connect with and support children.  Good luck and please use your gift wisely and respectfully.  The future is in your heart, hands, words, and actions. Best of luck and above all else, do everything you can to Make a Difference!

I’d love to hear your back to school tips for being an excellent teacher who expects excellence and looks to Make a Difference EVERYDAY.  Have a great year and make a difference!

Peter is the Director of Athletics at Milford Public Schools in Milford, MA. Previously he was the Elementary Principal & K-12 Wellness Coordinator in Canton, MA and was the Massachusetts K-12 Wellness Director of the Year in 2011-2012.

Peter is the Director of Athletics at Milford Public Schools in Milford, MA. Previously he was the Elementary Principal & K-12 Wellness Coordinator in Canton, MA and was the Massachusetts K-12 Wellness Director of the Year in 2011-2012.

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