Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Talking to Teachers

Student: I have all A's & B's with just one C. I sure wish I could get on the Honor Roll.
Me: What is your C in?
Student: Social Studies
Me: Have you talked to Mrs. Griffey?
Student: No, why?
Me: How do you know what to do to bring up your grade?
Student: I don't. Do you think I should talk to her?
Me: Yes
Student: What do I say?

This conversation today with a student caused me to think about what students don't know about school. Some students know what to say to their teacher, but most will never ask to talk about their grades, or the class. They don't even realize that most teachers welcome a question or concern, if it is done in the right way at the right time. So when? And where?

Guide to Talking to a Teacher

1. Always be respectful and ask for help.
2. Know the problem, and have your questions ready before you talk to the teacher. Write them down.
3. Write a note to the teacher and ask him/her for a meeting to discuss your grades or concerns.
4. Ask the teacher at a time that does not interfere with class, like when you first come in before class starts, or during quiet work time.
5. Take ownership. In other words, admit what you could do better, or what you need to do. Do not make excuses. If you screwed up, say so. Even if you think the teacher or the class is to blame, don't say it. If you take the blame for a problem, you will be much more likely to get help.
6. Be positive. Do not complain. Do not whine. Remember, you are looking for solutions.
7. Write down the teacher's suggestions. Even if you don't like what he says, it may make more sense later and it is the key to a better grade.
8. Thank him for his time. And, if he helps you, write a thank you note afterwards.
9. If you make a promise, follow through. Do what you say you will do. Especially make it a point to do anything he suggests and do it now. If you get an opportunity to do extra credit, or make up an assignment, have it done, and have it done right, when you walk into the class the next time.
The most important point is ASK QUESTIONS! If you don't know, or aren't sure about anything, always ASK QUESTIONS!


Clix said...

I love this! I am totally going to steal it and print it out and smack them with it offer it to my students. :D

(Drat. It won't let me use the 'strike' tag. ;p)

Mr. McGuire said...


I am going to throw it at my students today, and I can't wait to see their comments. Please stop back and let me know how your students reacted.

Trevor S. said...

That is a good list.

Mr. McGuire said...

Why Trevor? What is good about it? Will it help? How? Have you used anything from the list? How did it work?

Cyranda H. said...

The post on the blog is when I talked to Mr.McGuire about my grades. I think that is a good post to put on a blog. The reason why I think that is a good post is because I was trying to ask a teacher why my grade would not change and I have been getting good grades. They would never go up. When I asked the teacher how's come my grade has not been going up and she said because Engrade has been going really slow. That made me happy when my grade went up to a B.

heather p. said...

Yes I have asked about things like what we were doing if I have missed a day or two. I would say yes that it really works. To the people that do not ask questions you should not be scared to. The teacher will help you and it the long run you will gut a better grade. I think that when you ask about something ask nice and when they are not doing anything so that you do not get in to trouble for talking when they are talking or when some one else is. ASK QUESTIONS.

Bree said...

I've only used a couple of tips from the list. I have kept my promises to teachers, if I wouldn't of kept a promise to a teacher it would make me feel bad. I have also have tried my best to be positive. When I talk to teachers I sort of get nervous but just for example(it is true) when I talk to Mr. McGuire and Mrs. Griffey I don't get nervous. I have talked to a teacher about my grades and she said to do extra credit, it didn't really help my grades but my percentage went up. I

Desi said...

I never was afraid to ask question.
Even if they were silly I still asked them.

seth roberts said...

Yes it does help to ask your teacher how you can bring up your grade. If you do not ask your teacher your chances of getting on the honor roll are very slim. If you want honor roll you have got to work and listen in class. If you do not get it ask so your teacher can help you. Thats the only way you are going be successful in life. Some kids are better at some subjects than others and it's o.k. to ask for help.

Seth Roberts said...

Yes it is helpful to ask your teachers for a hand. I learned that you need to ask if you want to achieve and be successful because if you don't ask no one will and you'll be the one with the bad grade with only yourself to blame. All that asking will help in the long run when you get into a good college.

kara M said...

I think its always helpful to ask questions exceptionally if you need to know something from your teacher. You shouldn't have to worry about it you should just do it.

emma h. said...

I don't like talking to teachers. I just never really have. I wish I could talk to teachers more like about my grades and how to bring them up but I never really liked to talk to teachers. I can talk to my mom, dad, and friends and ask them what they think I should do. Thats easy but talking to teachers just seems harder. I don't know why. Its also easy to listen so when the teacher tells the whole class what you can do to get extra credit you know. i think your list will really help though Mr. McGuire. I am going to try that next time I go to ask a teacher something.

Jessika W said...


I have used some of the tips to talk to a teacher. I have done tip number four with Mrs.Stevenson. I went up to her and ask her if I could talk to her at SSR time. When it came time to start ssr time she took me into the hall by the lockers and we talked.

Lily W said...

I think this list helps me a lot! It helps because when Mr. McGuire is checking my letter I'm thinking, Is he going to like it? What if I forgot something really important? What if it's so bad that he throws it away? I get really nervous until he hands me my letter and I only had to fix a few things.

Mr. McGuire said...


Even if the teacher, including me finds a lot wrong, I hope you don't let that keep you from showing your work, and getting help.

Jessika W. said...

Dear Mr.McGuire,

This is a very good list because if you do not know how to talk to a teacher you can read it. If you do know how to talk to a teacher than you can read this and try many different ways to talk to a teacher.