Are you present?

Near the end of the school-year, after final Exams have been written, there is always a drop-off in the number of students present in class. As I teach secondary school students, at an after-school math program, this is partly understandable. What I have noticed, is that the top students in terms of performance in my class are generally the ones who show up for the final few classes.

Make it a habit to observe the people around you who are succeeding and those who are not, and you’ll start to see patterns in their behavior. As Jim Rohn tells us, “If you will change, then everything will change for you”. Because we operate a lot of the time based on our habits, change is difficult, but worth it when you change for the better. A small change in the direction you are heading in life can have a huge impact on where you end up!

So, it occurred to me that the students who continue to show up every week are the top students because they always show up. They have formed the habit of extracting as much knowledge as they can, and that means they must go to all the classes.

If instead we look at students who are frequently absent from class, I am sure we will find that they have results that match. As an example, one student comes to mind that I have worked with in the past, whom I will call Mark. Every time there was a test, I noticed Mark was absent from class. I suppose Mark felt he wasn’t confident in his ability to write the test, so he would delay writing for a week. This had a negative effect on Mark’s understanding, because he missed the lesson that was taught in the week of the test, and he was no more prepared to write the test the following week! So, my advice in this case is simple; come to class every week and make your best effort to be prepared, and you will surely improve.

It seems to me that some students get stuck in a habit loop that goes like this:

  1. I believe I’m not a good student
  2. Because I don’t believe in myself, I won’t give my best effort
  3. Because I didn’t give my best effort, my results were poor
  4. Because my results are poor, that means I’m not a good student

Perhaps they fail to see the truth contained in step 3; that their results are poor because of their effort. Make the effort to go to all the classes so you get all the information you can. Be very careful what you tell yourself every day, since you become what you think about. Set yourself up for success by choosing a positive attitude and remind yourself constantly that you can do it. Make a choice to only let positive thoughts enter your mind. Make the effort to go to all the classes, and to fully focus on listening and thinking  so you get all the information you can.

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