#1 Tip for acing your classes: communicating with your teacher

In teachers on September 17, 2008 at 2:15 am


My number one suggestion for international students who want to do well in school is to communicate with your teachers. I know it’s not always easy to talk with teachers, but when you start a new class, make an effort to have a conversation (in person, not online, if possible). Stop by your teacher’s office hours and introduce yourself. Talking with your teacher now will make it easier to ask questions and get help later in the semester, when you really need it.

But how are you supposed to start a conversation? I’ll tell you a secret that might help. Most teachers get into teaching because we care about our subject (in my case, writing and literature), and we want to share this passion with our students (you). To connect with your teacher, see if you can find something interesting about your teacher’s subject. Then, talk with her about it.

If you approach your teacher and say, “I really want to get an A. How do I get an A?” odds are, she’ll be at least a little annoyed (even if she doesn’t show it). Why? Isn’t it a good thing to want to get an A? Yes, but what most teachers really want is not for you to care about grades but for you to care about learning. Try asking this question instead: “I really want to learn as much as I can in this class (or be a better writer or be more confident speaking in English, or whatever it is). How do you think I could do a better job at that?” Can you see the difference? Try to talk with most teachers about grades, and they will tell you to work harder. Try to talking with them about how to learn, and I’m guessing most teachers will go to the moon and back to help you learn as much as you can from the class (and, as a result, you’ll get a better grade).

Try it, and see how it works?

Photo by tigerplish (thank you!)


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