WHY should you worry about how you talk to your teacher? When you learn how to develop a good relationship with your teacher, you get so many benefits—you have to wonder why you wouldn’t want to work on this essential communication skill.
- EASIER school day: When you get along well with your teachers, it makes the whole day easier. Compared to “My teacher hates me” and hating your classes, this is easier!
- Teachers talk to each other. If you’re rude to just one teacher, it’s possible that your other teachers know about it. Bad news travels further and faster than good news!
- Better grades (More money): If you prove you’re making the effort to learn, your teacher will most likely make an even greater effort to give you more help. Better grades make it easier to get merit scholarships!
- Scholarship and College applications (More money): A great recommendation from a teacher is important. Not having one can mean not qualifying for (not getting) a scholarship or college admission.
- Make MORE MONEY in the future: School is training for your future. One day you will have a boss. Learning how to get along well with your teacher is the easiest way to learn how to get along with your future boss. Your boss will decide if you get to keep your job, if you will get a raise or promotion ($$$ more money), and can give a recommendation for a new job.
- You will ALWAYS have a boss! (More money)Even if you start your own business, you will (hopefully) have customers. They will decide if they want to come back and tell their friends (good or bad) things about you. To make money, you will need to make your customers happy.
Hopefully, you noticed most of these benefits can make you MORE MONEY! Scholarship money and the skills employers want you to have—which means you can make MORE MONEY over your lifetime (as opposed to not having great communication skills). That’s how you get raises and promotions (that means MORE MONEY), and it all starts with working on your “adult” communication skills now.
Just talking to an adult isn’t always “adult conversation”. For example: Talking to your teachers in an effort to get more points for an assignment or test despite the fact that you actually messed up is called “grade grubbing” and is actually the exact opposite of an adult conversation.
To start working on a positive relationship with your teachers, thank them for their hard work. Be sincere and genuine in your gratitude. Remember, your teacher could have picked a different job. If he or she seems to be burnt out on teaching, remember that they were once optimistic about their work. Being grateful is a wonderful way of reminding them why they decided to become a teacher. If you work at it, you can find some reason to be glad they’re your teacher. If it’s impossible to start this way, jump to the next step. Sincerity can’t be faked.
Think about what they’re teaching you and tailor your questions to the course or activity. Great conversations can start with these talking points:
- Describe your understanding of the purpose of the course. If you don’t really understand the purpose of the course, your teacher will correct you. It also shows that you’re involved in understanding the purpose of the course.
- If you have career goals or certain skills in mind which you would like to develop, ask how the course can help you prepare for those goals and develop those skills.
- If there is something you don’t understand about the course, read the course material and tell your teacher what you DO understand. When your teacher knows what you do understand, it saves time and they can find a good starting point to fill you in on what you need to know.
Since you’ve prepared for the meeting and you’ve made attempts to understand the course, you are showing the teacher that you respect them and their class. Showing respect builds good relationships!
The ideal conversation will depend on your circumstances. If you started with a bad relationship, have bad grades, and you’re trying to get back on track, this example may help:
“Mr. Johnson, I’m glad I’ve had you as a teacher for Algebra, and I’ve finally realized how important this subject is. I’m studying for the SAT and I’ve been trying to catch up on Math skills. I’m interested in some STEM careers and I now understand why the logic and reasoning in Algebra are so important. I’ve been working on some practice problems and there are a few things I still don’t understand. If you could help me with this, I would really appreciate it.”
The conversation started by being grateful and showing that you understand how important the course and the teacher’s work are:
“Mr. Johnson, I’m glad I’ve had you as a teacher for Algebra, and I’ve finally realized how important this subject is.
The purpose of talking to the teacher and an understanding of the course’s importance:
I’m studying for the SAT and I’ve been trying to catch up on Math skills.
Goals are stated:
I’m interested in some STEM careers and I now understand why the logic and reasoning in Algebra are so important.
Proof that you’ve already invested your time in understanding the course and that you appreciate the teacher’s help:
I’ve been working on some practice problems and there are a few things I still don’t understand. If you could help me with this, I would really appreciate it.”
This is the kind of conversation that can change a relationship with your teacher in a positive way. This can also help with getting a letter of recommendation which can help with College Admissions and Scholarships. Knowing how to talk to your boss this way can keep you from having a misunderstanding that would otherwise result in losing your job. When you know how to show gratitude and initiative, many aspects of communication become easier with the people who will matter most in your personal and professional life.
Call Career Prep Academy at 317-641-4677 for help with your communication skills.