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It is the first week of a new school year and some of your children are looking forward to a brand new school year with a new teacher and classmates in the schools in Dorchester.

A few students, okay boys, are not looking forward to leaving their summer holidays to be stuck in a classroom and losing their freedom to learn the 3 Rís.

The school day always seems to start way too early for many teens who have had the pleasure to
sleep in until 10-11 in their comfortable beds all summer long. Rise and shine and have a nutritious breakfast sure helps to start the day.

Grade 8 graduating parents in June had to choose which high school and programs that were a good
fit for enjoyable successful learning. I trust that children who enjoy reading have been placed in the Academia stream while students who are more hands on, not academic, chose the Applied Programs.

There is a funny tale to show how some parents are delusional; not willing to recognize their childrenís strengths and weakness. On Christmas Eve a man and his dog "Amazing" attempt to enter St Peterís Anglican Church in Dorchester to take part in the service. The rector stopped the man and told him
that dogs are not allowed in the service. The man explains that he was willing to donate $1000. to the church if his dog is allowed to chant his prayers. The rector relented and allowed the dog to sit at the front of the congregation during the service The dog sang the carols to perfection; amazing the congregants. After the service members of the church ran to compliment the dog owner telling him that "Amazing" should pursue a career as a choir leader. The dog ownerís answer was no: he wanted "Amazing" to be a doctor/principal/ news paper editor.

I sincerely hope parents have taken the time to listen to the guidance counselor, grade 8 teacherís, advise and have chosen wisely in the best interest of their children.

Often times the first day of school for many children is frightening. I fondly remember a student, now
a successful business man in Dorchester, who every morning stepped onto the school bus and never ever went to his new designated elementary school. He got off at his home on the return trip and was able to thread the needle through a small window in the basement. The parents had no clue until the attendance officer paid a visit to the home.

In real estate they emphasis location, location; in education it all about a studentís/parentís positive attitude and the ability for students to feel that they are appreciated and can do well if they but try and
do their best.

High school students should set aside one hour a day Sunday to Thursday for homework and assignments. Get real. I do not expect students to do homework on Friday or Saturday night.

Reading for FUN should be encouraged: Those who read well succeed. Video games played for hours
by the boys is not intellectually stimulating and should be monitored by the parents. I recently
counseled a young (okay) 30 year old male who was not employed that played video games 8-10 hours
a day on the week days and more on the week-ends.

Part time work for high school students should not take place on school nights but a few hours on Saturday/Sunday is ok.

Parents if you are lucky and hard working you can look forward to having happy successful children
who actually enjoy school. I have never ever met a teen I did not like. I have to confess however that there were some who drove me and their parents/ teachers to distraction. Maturity kicked in when they finally left home. I am most fortunate to have never lost a student to suicide but I have worried about
the parentís survival.

Take a deep breath and relax. If you have a sense of humour you too will survive your childrenís
teenage years.

Len Lesser is an education career counsellor in Dorchester.
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Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com