5 Tips for Talking with Your Teacher

5 Tips for talking to your teacher. Photo of a tutoring session with a smiling tutor and a student on her laptop.

A resource we believe should be utilized more is talking with your teachers, especially the one who teaches the subject you are trying to improve in. 

Your teacher is likely familiar with the subject they are teaching. They also have been trained in school how to identify and share the most important information in effective ways. While some teachers are better at making school fun and exciting, all teachers assign homework and tests which means they know what information is important for you to know and how you can do well on assignments. 

Your teacher also sees you more frequently than a tutor does, meaning they know what aspects of their class you are struggling in- perhaps you are doing well participating in class, but your test scores aren’t very high.

Many students find the idea of talking with their teacher intimidating, or unhelpful, but we’ll share tips below for how you can talk with your teacher and get more out of class.

Tip 1: Your Teacher is There to Help You Learn

Remember a teacher’s job is, well… to teach! They are supposed to help you learn. So instead of thinking of your teacher as someone who is out to get you, make you look bad, or fail, think of them as a resource. Many teachers choose their profession because they like working with students and enjoy seeing their students succeed.

Tip 2: Start by Asking for Clarification or Advice

When you get a test or assignment back and your teacher has included feedback, ask them to clarify or explain. This can give you a better idea of how you can improve on the next assignment. You can ask questions like, “What can I do to improve on the next test?” or “What did you mean by this comment on my paper?”

Tip 3: Be Honest If You’re Not Understanding Something

Perhaps you just can’t understand Romeo and Juliet, no matter how many times you reread the passages. Tell your teacher that you aren’t understanding it. Tell them what you’ve been doing so far, and they should offer alternative suggestions. 

They might say instead of rereading a passage several times, you should take notes, or try to summarize the paragraph then reference your summary with an online Shakespeare translation guide. Once your teacher knows you are struggling in a specific area, they can offer advice for how to improve or learn in a different way.

Tip 4: Ask If You Can Review Your Last Test

Not all teachers will allow you to take your test home, so ask if you can review your test with them after class. You can see the specific questions you missed and ask your teacher to show you how you could have gotten the right answer.

Tip 5: Be Proactive; Don’t Wait Until the Final Exam to Ask for Help

Some students make the mistake of falling behind in class and then attempt to cram for the final in order to get a decent grade. This very rarely results in a great outcome. Not to mention, you won’t retain the information as well if you cram it. 

Your teacher will likely be very busy before the final exam with other students asking for help, and the teacher’s own responsibilities to finalize grades before the end of term.

Your teacher will appreciate your motivation if you contact them earlier for help, and you are much more likely to retain information and set a strong foundation so your final isn’t your last chance to get a good grade.

And consider getting a tutor to boost your grade. Hodis Learning & Music has expert tutors on staff who can help with all subjects K-12 and college. Call us at 626-227-1149 or email us here.