Educational New Years resolutions you should try to keep

It’s New Year, and that time of year again, isn’t it?

Every year, we all say the same thing – how we’re going to lose weight, be more committed to family, stop smoking or whatever.  You get the idea.

When it comes to the educational world, there are many things we can look at that are in need for improvement.  Here’s some things you can do individually and things we can all do to make sure 2014 is worth top marks all round…

Try to take those mock exams seriously

Mock exams have always been the bane of students. Why? Because all it ever is is you sitting exams that prove very little.  Or so you think.

I can always remember sitting them and being told that I got a certain grade for my work and it always turned out to be the one I got at the end.  What did I get out of them?  Very little.

For as long as students are pulled out of valuable lesson time to take part in this tradition, kids are going to have to put up with it.  It’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea and many indeed question why they are needed.

However, for those of you requiring references, teachers can be a bit mean and base predicted grades on what you do in mock exams… Therefore, if you’re doing them, try and take them as seriously as you can.  They are a surprisingly good indicator of what you get (that can be a little morbid to think about sometimes) and it’ll keep some important people happy.

Hate to say it, but your first educational resolution should be to try and take them seriously.

Get helping some of the disadvantaged schoolkids

Sadly, it’s long been determined that schools aren’t so good at this themselves.

Many schools out there have a distinct lack of teachers and resources to help some of the less able students out there realise their maximum potential.  It’s a sad reality, unfortunately, but some schools do give opportunities to get involved and make a difference.  You don’t even have to be qualified, just have an open mind and a good and sometimes patient attitude.

So what could you do?  Well, I can remember being a reading buddy for several kids across my time as a secondary school pupil and even into Sixth Form.  Normally, the children I worked with were dyslexic or had different confidence issues.  These shouldn’t be a barrier to success and it was really rewarding to help those kids out.  You just have to go in with some patience as it might take a little while to bond.Another thing I did was be an assistant in maths lessons.  It is a little worrying that my school thought this was the brightest of ideas – despite there being 8 groups for maths in that particular year group, there was still too many in each class to get the teacher’s attention.  Indeed, this neatly ties in with the news that half of maths teachers don’t have the relevant maths degree.  Yikes.

Still, look past this and you can see the benefit in helping out with a core skill.  I can remember in Year 7 getting some help from some A Level students and I would later take on the role myself in Year 12.  With such as universal skill, you’ll find that your knowledge and experience will go a long way to helping them.  Sometimes you’ll be assigned to help out in a lower-ability set, so depending on what that means to a school, you might need to show some patience, but the results can be great.  I can remember hearing some of the kids I helped out had eventually moved up groups.  It’s a good feeling.

In some way or another, let helping younger and less-able students be another educational resolution.

Complete all your homework!!

Sorry, folks.  Sometimes you’re going to need to hold your tongue and just get on with it…
Homework has always been a horrifically unpopular subject to talk about.  I can remember getting to Year 7 and finding that everyone had different schedules of homework at primary school… but we all united under one common feeling:  We.  Hated.  It.

However, despite that… There is some satisfying feeling when you’re finished and you’ve smashed that essay or nailed that load of algebra.  If nothing else, you’ll have gained a lot of organisational skills because, let’s face it, you’ve always got too much for the amount of time you have available.

Does it help with your learning?  We consider this to be debatable.  But… it will keep you out of detention and you’ll be more organised!  And if there is some benefit from going over things you don’t understand, you’ll find them no trouble.

Of course, if all else goes wrong, you can pull some of our homework excuses out the bag to try and save the day…. but I’m not advocating anything to you.  At all.

Prepare for your future

It sometimes can be a little scary looking ahead, can’t it?  You like to live for now, or are perhaps uncertain of looking at something like that.  Completely understand.

Still, wherever you’re at, whatever you’re doing, my advice is to take some time every so often to make sure you know what you’re doing now, what you’re working towards and what you might want to do in the future.  If you’re in Year 10, start thinking about what you want to achieve in your overall GCSEs and maybe think about what your options are moving forward.  If you’re a Year 12… well, time isn’t exactly on your side!

I’m in my third year of university… When I’m done with this year, I’ll have one left to get through and then I’m out into the big wide world.  I’ve made myself a commitment to go through my options this year so that I know for sure what I want to do when I leave university with degree in hand.

If you’ve ever had a childhood dream about what you wanted to do, my advice is to go back and have a good old think about those days when you could just dream and pick.  You never know, you might find something still appeals.

Happy New Year to you all!

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A student by trade, Daniel spends most of his time working on that essay that's due in a couple of days' time. When he's not working, he can be found working on his salsa steps, or in bed.