06 Oct 2022

Kilkenny students: Going back to school – start as you mean to go on

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A new school term is under way

I presume if you have gone to the bother to google ‘how to do well in school then you are interested in doing well’. So here is my advice to you.

Start as you mean to go on. Students come back after the summer and think that this is easy and we will ease back into it. They take the first six weeks back nice and slow. They suddenly realise that this is hard. The first six weeks are difficult to adjust. Do not be afraid of this. You need to get into a structure.

I have taught maths for over 30 years so I have seen every sort of student, but I am convinced that there are two key factors in how you are going to do:

1. Your God-given ability. Your brain. There is not a lot you can do about this.

2. Your work rate. This you have complete control over.
Work rate

What would I say to my class no matter what level they are at?

1. You must be in. This is the key factor. You will miss a class or two. You will be sick, You might have a match that you are going to. There are a million other reasons that you will miss days, but - and it is a big BUT - you must keep it to a minimum.

2. You need to set up where you are going to study
Is there after-school study in the school? Is it well run? Does it suit you? Can you afford it? Are you better working on your own at home? If you are using the home option have you a nice quiet warm room? Have you an option to do study in an organised setting like we have running through in Cavan and Kilkenny?

3. You must do your homework
It does not have to be perfect. It must be done with a proper effort with some TLC. Doing homework on a bus or at break time is no use. Homework is not a punishment it is for you to see that you understand the concepts being taught.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Ask your teachers when you’re stuck in class. Ask your teacher, year head or principal if you need some help either with subjects or with study. If the first person doesn’t help move to the next one. Most people will go out of their way to make life easier for you.

5. The phone is a big issue
It is nearly impossible to get this right. If I were you, when I was in study I would have the phone off. If I am using it for study then keep it short and sweet. Off really is the better option and use some other device for google.

6. Do I get grinds? Well this comes down to a few questions. Do you need them? Can you afford them? Are there any good ones around? Will they make a difference? Some people get grinds for the sake of it. Only get a grind if you really need them and only in one or two subjects. They can cost as much as €50 per hour so make sure they are worthwhile.

The bottom line is you want to do your best - it’s not rocket science. Be in, ask questions, do your homework as best you can and you will be fine.

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