Back-to-school tips that are, well, practical


School has started, and while it can be an exciting time of making new friends and learning new things, adults should try to remember that excitement and anxiety are sometimes closely related.

Anything that can be done to relieve the pressure and prepare kids for the new experience is welcome.

To that end, we present some practical advice just in time for back to school.

• Remember, everyone wins during Field Day. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hip-check that little show-off during the cup stacking competition.

• You don’t know anyone in your lunch period? Rather than get anxious about it, use it as an opportunity to meet new friends. For instance, those pale kids at the back table wearing the black dusters sure look nice.

• The crossing guard dressed like Joseph Goebbels is not to be disobeyed.

• Gym class makes fitness fun. And the shorts are so slimming.

• Always remember, the football players and cheerleaders will someday work for you.

• If you live close enough to high school that you start looking for a parking place a block or two from home, go ahead and walk, OK?

• Ignore the stereotypes you have heard about hideous school lunches. First Lunch Lady Michelle Obama now requires that all staffers wearing hair nets be graduates of Le Cordon Bleu.

• The good news? According to federal school lunch regulations, ketchup is no longer considered a vegetable. The bad news? Cauliflower is.

• The capital of South Dakota is Pierre.

• Just because the bus driver has biker gang tattoos doesn’t mean he’s on parole. He could simply be on community supervision.

• For safety’s sake, always sit toward the front of the bus … unless the driver has biker gang tattoos.

• It is true that school buses don’t have the best shocks. But riding on them may be a less painful way to remove kidney stones than traditional methods.

• Don’t worry so much about “high-stakes” standardized tests. Now that they are soon to be used to judge the faculty and not just the students, they are certain to be discontinued.

• Our schools are now bullying-free zones, unlike Congress.

• The principal is your friend, which is why they spell it princiPAL. The vice principal, however, hates your guts.

• Forget what you have heard about school-anxiety nightmares. You won’t start dreaming about forgetting your locker combination, arriving for the final despite having never attended the class and being naked in the hallways until AFTER you graduate.

• Bringing a shiny apple to your teacher is a good way to get her to like you. Bringing a shiny Apple iPhone 5s is even better.

• Clothing-related peer pressure is a thing of the past in uniform schools. But thankfully kids can still express their individuality with some $180 Kobe 8 System iDs from Nike.

• Here’s a high-stakes test to worry about: If you flunk the driver’s exam too many times, you have to take the bus until you graduate.

• You know the photography teacher who wants you to model for him but not tell your parents about it? Tell your parents about it.

• A great way to meet new people is to join a school club. Think twice, however, about any clubs that require body piercings.

• Make friends with the school custodian, a relationship that will come in handy when you empty your lunch tray in the garbage without first removing your retainer.

• Reading is FUNdamental. Reading Milton, however, is just boring.

• The best way to become popular is to be a kind and caring friend to all around you … or if you can learn to burp the entire National Anthem.

• You might be able to get a waiver from gym class if you engage in regular physical exercise such as soccer, basketball or carrying that 40-pound backpack to and from school.

• Pierre, S.D., is pronounced “Peer,” not “PEE-air.”

I hope this helps.

Peter Callaghancan be rached at peter.callaghan@


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