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As a 6th grade English teacher I spent the year trying to improve my students’ reading and writing skills, and instill a love of literature within them. Along the way, I hope I also taught them the following life lessons:

Focus on the Big Picture:

So you forgot your homework at home for once in your life. So you earned a mark or a detention. So you’re grounded for a couple weeks. So what? It’s not the end of the world. Life goes on, and in the grand scheme of things your detention won’t define who you are as a person. I know it’s hard to believe, but there is more to life than the short-lived wrath of a parent or teacher.

Work Well With Others: 

Whether you’re the slacker or the overachiever, group work never goes away. You will work on teams in middle school, in high school, in college, at work, on sports teams, as a camp counselor, at a game night. Team work lives on for life, so you must learn to embrace it. You must learn to value others’ opinions and contributions, you must learn to match teammates with tasks well-linked to their strengths. You must learn to influence team members to do their share, and well. You must learn how to communicate with others and work toward a common goal. You must.

Listen Closely:

When you don’t listen you may end up doing more work, or not enough. You may hurt someone’s feelings. You might miss out on a life-changing opportunity. You might annoy the heck out of someone you don’t want to annoy the heck out of. Always keep your ears open and clean.

Attitude is Everything:

Life is like a roller coaster, or a box of chocolates, or a bag of jellybeans – there are pleasant moments, horrifying moments, boring moments and thrilling moments. Good luck trying to extract one from the other. It simply doesn’t work that way. What you can control though is how you face each moment. If you have a bad attitude, you feel bad and others feel bad around you. If you focus on the positive, you automatically feel better and others feel happier in your company. Whether you whine or smile, the moment is there. Might as well smile through it and feel the best you can!

Actions Speak Louder:

It is not enough to say yes ma’am or insist that you are a trustworthy person. if your actions don’t back this up, no one will believe you. If your eyes are rolling and your shoulders are slumped you are being rude, even if only ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ are escaping your lips. If you plagiarize or lie, then verbally vouching for your own honesty is meaningless.