Monday, 23 September 2013

How to connect with your teacher


That droning robot of a geometry teacher only smiles when he starts the class with a pop quiz. Your English teacher has yet to say one positive thing about your writing, which you were always told is more than good. It's weeks into the semester, and your third period history teacher has yet to learn anyone's name. The movies and TV are filled with examples of teachers who don't do their job very well. Now this year you meet one of the reasons why.







Most of us have been lucky enough to learn firsthand that there are some incredible teachers in this world, but just like with any other profession, there are a few who are less than incredible. Whether you've lucked out this term or are dealing with teachers, establishing at least a respectful relationship with your teachers is important. Teachers have the power to appoint and recommend, to advise and support, to grade generously or not. You have the power to put yourself in a positive light, regardless of how boring or unfair or bad-tempered you believe your teacher to be.


Put yourself in your teacher's shoes. Who would you feel more
kindly towards: the kids who chat and pass notes and roll their eyes, or the ones who make eye contact, raise their hands and ask questions? 
The simple truth is that teachers have the educational background to equip you with knowledge. But they are not psychiatrists or social workers. The most dedicated cannot take a pack of students ready to party and force information into their brains.



If you're dealing with teachers and not connecting with them, try these tips:

Schedule a private conference to ask questions, inquire about a career in the subject (it's obviously your teacher's favorite), or talk about how you're doing in class. Lots of times, dealing with
teachers one-on-one will be more relaxed than the teacher standing in front of the room.
Diffuse a shouting match by letting your teacher have his say first before responding, even if you think you're being treated unjustly. Maybe putting your reply in writing, saying something like, "I'd like to tell you my version of what happened. The facts have been somewhat distorted," or "It embarrasses me in class when..." Or, I can't learn in class when you..." Keep it short, simple, calm, and factual.
Be aware when dealing with teachers that they are heavily influenced by appearance. Students who dress conservatively are usually given higher marks.
Talk to students who get along with this teacher better. They might suggest a plan of action to help.
Pick your battles carefully. Avoid squabbling over your grades. Doing this too often will lead to friction.

Don't try too hard. No extravagant gifts. No phony compliments. Teachers are perceptive enough to recognize insincerity.
As a last resort, tell your parents and have them meet with your teacher. Try to solve the problem yourself first, though.


The truth is most teachers are helpful, compassionate, hard working, and under appreciated. If they aren't all inspiring and charismatic, well, neither are 90% of the people you deal with each day. Your successful efforts at dealing with teachers will gain you valuable experience for the rest of life's difficult situations. Good luck



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