Implementing tips #1 and #2, or how to make sure your teacher doesn’t murder you

Did anyone raise an eyebrow at the fact that I recommended doing math homework in an English class? Well, you should have.

Ordinarily, teachers don’t like it (they hate it!) when students do unrelated work in class. So, most of the time, it isn’t a terribly nice thing to be doing math homework in an English class, or vice versa. How do we circumvent this problem? By being nice.

Get permission from your teacher to move on to other tasks if you need to, and explain that it is because you want to make full use of your time. Most teachers will be happy that you’re such a hardworking, driven student. Some teachers may give you additional, more difficult tasks related to the lesson. If you find yourself cringing at the thought of having to complete a more difficult task, think about it this way: your teacher is helping you increase your chances of an eventual A. It’ll be worth it.

Tip #2 for students: be nice

What does being nice have to do with doing well at school or at life? Everything.

We have a stereotype of the successful rich person as a backstabbing, unethical, even evil kind of person, and some of us blindly adhere to the stereotype, unconsciously believing that if we’re nasty like successful adults, we’ll be successful like nasty adults. I’m here to bust that myth.

Research has shown that the stereotypes of the rich, while they used to be true (perhaps a century ago), are no longer true. The richest people among us tend to view themselves as hardworking, risk-taking, pro-social people. Pro-social? That’s a complicated word to describe a simple concept: they are good to the people around them. (One could argue that while they view themselves as pro-social, they are actually anti-social on in a larger, societal sense — but that’s an argument for another essay.)

So, be nice. Think about it: which food stall would you rather patronise? The stall with the nasty owner who keeps on nagging at customers for taking too much chili, or the stall with the friendly owner who remembers that you’re the one who jokes around every time you visit? I’m sure most of us would choose the stall with the friendly owner.

You scratch my back, I scratch yours. You’d be surprised how far that principle goes in real life.

In school, be nice to your teachers. This is an ugly truth, but human beings are nicer to people who are nice to them, even though teachers may try to be fair to everyone. What your teacher thinks of you even affects your grades!

And of course, be nice to your classmates and friends — but don’t get bullied! You have to be nice to others, but don’t forget to be nice to yourself.

So, be nice. It’s a good way to live.

Further reading:
Cool to be kind: the benefits of being altruistic