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Students: Increase Your Grades… Talk To Your Teachers
Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s all about who you know”? Every adult could probably tell you about some opportunity that arose because they knew the right person at the right time.
As human beings, relationships influence everything we do! Why do you think golf is such an integrated part of the business world? Because golf gives business-people the opportunity to build trust and develop relationships that are vital for successful business deals. This same principle applies in school, too.
I am not suggesting you take your teachers out for a few rounds of golf. However, you can get better grades, and many other benefits, from developing positive relationships with your teachers. First, I will explain WHY you should make the effort to connect with your teachers, then I will give simple suggestions for HOW to do it.
Most middle and high-school teachers see 90-170 students everyday! This makes it impossible for teachers to know and provide individualized attention to everyone. You must stand out in the crowd and make a positive impression!
A positive impression can boost your grades. Most teachers have “participation points” that allows them to add points to students’ scores, if they have earned the privilege. For example, when I calculated grades for report cards, several students were only a few points away from earning a higher grade. If a student had been rude or irresponsible in class, I let him keep the grade he earned. However, if he demonstrated that he cared about his work and was a responsible student, I would often add two or three points to increase his grade from, for example, a “B+” to an “A-”.
If you have taken the time to make a positive impression on your teachers, they may also be willing to bend the rules for you on occasion. For example, they may extend a due date (once) if you forgot an assignment or give opportunities for extra credit. Many teachers do things like this because we know that the amount of points earned does not always give a complete picture of what a student has accomplished.
Like the saying, “It’s all in who you know,” teachers can also open windows of opportunity. They may connect you with business-owners who are looking for part-time employees (many employers ask teachers to recommend reliable candidates), may provide a good letter of recommendation for college applications, or may even take you on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
My husband is a high-school teacher who takes a small, select group of students to New York for a marketing convention every year. The selection committee chooses students based upon their applications and, most importantly, their reputation. When they are on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, they cannot risk having a student who may violate national security!
*** Action Plan ***
How do you make a positive impact on your teachers? It is actually quite simple! Try a couple of the following:
- Raise your hand to ask or answer questions at least three times a week.
- If there is something you do not understand in your homework, circle it and ask about it the next day.
- If you are not comfortable raising your hand in front of others, stay after class to ask for clarification on an assignment or to check your grades.
- If you notice a common interest with your teacher, let him know. My husband has a few Star Wars posters in his classroom, which prompts several students to share their interest in Star Wars, too. This has helped my husband initiate conversations with these students before, and even during, class.
- Always be polite to your teachers. Thank them as they pass papers to you, wish them a “good day”, or simply give them a smile and say “Hello” anytime you see them.
These simple actions will encourage your teachers to notice you in a positive light and will benefit you in ways you may not realize for a long time!
*** In Conclusion… ***
Teachers have A LOT of students and need you to stand out in the crowd of faces they see each day. Raising your hand, asking questions, being polite, and initiating small conversations with teachers encourages them to notice you in a positive way. As they get to know you, they may help boost your grades or open new opportunities for you.
Helping teachers notice YOU is also very rewarding for your teachers. After all, 99.9% of them went into the profession to make a positive impact, but it is easy to get overwhelmed with so many students. TEACHERS appreciate your efforts to connect with them because your efforts make their days much more rewarding!
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