My teacher is a toaster?
Heh, students, here’s a little inside information you should know: teachers are people, too. Shocking, I know. But true.
When my daughter was in my school, I’d bring her along to the watering hole we teachers escaped to on Fridays. She’d sit at a nearby table and enjoy bar food and a soda. After a few weeks she started inviting friends from school to sit with her, which seemed fine — until I learned that what she was doing was bringing her friends to listen to us do what teachers do on a Friday: complain about our students. “Oh my God,” my daughter told me, “I didn’t realize that teachers have a life!”
Yep, and like you, they complain a lot. Make that all the time.
So, students, what’s in it for you?
Your teachers are actually more than a toaster that spits out lectures, homework, and grades. If they were machines, we’d could sure use better engineers. Actually, thank God they’re not all the same model.
Instead, we’ve got a different personality, a different mood, and a different perspective in every classroom. Some we like, some we don’t, some are good, some not so much. All of them, however, set our grades, so we’d better be careful about who we’re blaming for what. We hear it all the time, “That teacher is soooo boring!” You know the routine, and you also know you can’t change classes just because you don’t like the teacher.
You can blame the teacher all day long, but it’s still up to you to do the work, figure out what the teacher wants, and do well on the tests. The best students can do all that and still hate the teacher. Annoying, yes, but a lot more productive than to do poorly because you don’t like the teacher.
But we can do a few simple, little things, meanwhile.
If the purpose of the teacher is to give you a grade, and your not getting the grade you want, then, truly, it’s up to you and not the teacher. So what can you do?
A first step is to get the teacher on your side. You do it with simple, easy salesmanship. Your teacher is your education provider, and your job is to get the highest grade possible out of each teacher. If what you’re doing is not working out, then let’s figure out a couple easy strategies to get that teacher on your side:
- Smile and say “good morning” on your way in to the classroom. Can’t hurt. And maybe that will change your teacher’s vision of you from an unconcerned or detached underperformer to someone who not only needs but wants help. Suddenly, your teacher is seeing you as an individual, not as a malfunctioning machine
- Ask a question or two. You may not feel up to it in front of class, but you can always ask a question before or after class, or write it on a paper or send an email later on. Your job is to make your teacher think of you outside of your grades and to worry about you as a person and not as a student. You will be amazed by how your teacher will suddenly be concerned for you if you ask for help.
- Seek out your teacher before or after school. No need to suck up, but just by showing up for extra help — and not the last week of the quarter — your teacher is now seeing you as someone he or she can help, which means your teacher will now care about you more.
These are simple human interactions. The best salesperson doesn’t care who or what the client is, and just focuses on the sale. Your sale is your grade. Focus on it. Worry about it, not your teacher. Your best sales tool is communication. You will get out of your relationship with your teacher exactly what you put into it. The more you become a partner to the classroom, the more likely your teacher will perceive you as a partner to him or herself personally. Then you got ’em.
Teachers are people, too (sort of)
As with any relationship, honesty, kindness, and care will work with these fellow human beings we call teachers. Ultimately, teachers have a job to do, and it will guide their decisions and grades more than anything else. But if you can perceive them as individuals who are trying to do their best, but who have flaws and ticks and their own ways of being and doing things, maybe you will open up a new opportunity for yourself.
Think of how you are with those teachers you like and respect, and how beneficial that relationship can be for you. Then, maybe you can do that with the rest of them, and get similar, positive results.
The A+ Club from School4Schools.com LLC, based in Arlington, VA, is dedicated to helping students across the U.S.A. meet their goals and find the academic success the want and deserve. Contact us here or call now to (703) 271-5334 to see how we can help.