The most critical lessons that I teach my students each year

As I prepare to re-enter the classroom next week for another year of teaching, I was thinking about some of the most important lessons that I will attempt to impart on my students in the coming school year. There are too many to even begin to try listing, of course, but there always seems to be a few that become a constant refrain throughout the year.

The following is a list of twelve that came to mind:



1. One exclamation point. Never more than one regardless of circumstances.

2. Never ever ask a woman if she is pregnant.

3. The world is full of talented people who did nothing with their lives because they didn't try. Effort is everything.

4. If you learn to use you're and your, too, to and two and there, they're and their correctly, you will already be better than half the writers of the world.

5. If you learn to write in complete sentences, you will be better than the other half.

6. Memorization of the multiplication tables is essential if you want to be successful in math. You will fail if you do not memorize them.

7. If you cannot find a good book, you are not trying very hard.

8. Acknowledge blame quickly. Apologize sincerely.

9. Understanding of basic geography will prevent many moments of academic and social embarrassment.

10. Lots of great music was made long before you were born. Don’t be an ageist. Give older music a chance.

11. Excluding anyone from anything for any reason will always make you look like a coward and the biggest jerk in the world.

12. You are the hero of your own story. Act like a hero.