3 Reasons Why You Should Talk to Your Teachers
The inherent challenges in an evolving education system have made teachers the prime target of criticism, particularly when students struggle. Classes are jam packed, and the workload is greater in order to meet the demands of college admission. It’s similar to a restaurant – you complain the waiter because the chef overcooked your food. Of course, the teacher is the most important component of a good educational experience, and some teachers are better than others, but I would like to offer a few ideas you may not have considered regarding the value of the good teachers.
Below are three reasons why your teachers are probably really cool, and you should make the most of your time with them:
1. Extra Instruction
I’ve worked with TutorNerds for a while, and I’ve seen the value of private instruction. However, your first source of assistance, or at least one of them, should be your teachers. I have yet to meet a teacher who would not allow time for extra instruction during lunch, before school, or after school. In fact, many schools mandate such opportunities, in a similar fashion to professors’ “office hours” at the university level. And just like in college, students rarely take advantage of these opportunities for extra help.
Your teachers create the class curriculum, set expectations, and write exams (and grade them). If you need help in a particular class, why not go right to the source? If you show initiative and a genuine interest in learning the content better, teachers will almost always make time for you (READ: “Tips From a Private San Diego Tutor: Sleep, a Healthy Lifestyle, and Academic Success”).
(And actually, the heading above is a bit disingenuous – you’re already paying for their time, either through tuition or taxes, so why not get your money’s worth?)
2. They have made it their professional mission to educate students
I don’t think many teachers choose to pursue their careers for financial reasons. Many teachers simply love to teach. I have interviewed many teachers for TutorNerds, and consistently these individuals can’t help but be enthused by their profession. Not only do teachers love teaching math, history, or English, many like to teach in a more global sense–they present the material from the class into a larger context and teach students about life in general. Great teachers know that quality learning neither starts with a textbook and nor ends with an exam. To paraphrase Mark Twain, “school should not get in the way of your education.”
3. Teachers learn from their students
Few people understand the value of consistently learning like teachers. Like nearly all professionals, they attend conferences and otherwise further their education to hone their craft. Their goal is to produce better results with their students. On one hand, these results are reflected by class performance (i.e. grades). However, feedback from students helps put grades in context, giving a full picture of teachers’ effectiveness (READ: “5 Ways to (Unintentionally) Sabotage Summer Test Prep”).
Any improvement in the instruction of a course is a direct benefit to you as a student. Just letting your teacher know what you do and do not understand can prompt him or her to devote more teaching time to the topics that challenge students the most, or format the course in a way that is more conducive to sensible study. Reciprocally, your teacher can help you improve your performance in the course as it currently exists. Win-win!
Both as a student and as an academic director at TutorNerds, I’ve had the privilege of meeting and working with some phenomenal teachers. And while not every teacher you have will have a profound, life-changing impact (and some may be downright bad) most can at least help you improve your grade. Even if you find your teachers lacking, and especially if you have fallen out of their favor for whatever reason, it is advisable you make the best of your situation. And now you have three solid reasons to do so.
Written by: John Sawicki is a former tutor and current vice president of TutorNerds LLC, an in-home tutoring company in Orange County, California.
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