When I begin teaching a student who is struggling in his or her English class, the very first thing I try to do is get the student to start communicating with his or her teacher. Often, students that are frustrated with their grades are frustrated with their teachers. However, treating teachers like allies instead of enemies can improve students’ understanding of course topics and assignments, and consequently their grades.
You’ll often hear teachers tell students at the beginning of the year, “Please do not be afraid to raise your hand and ask a question.” They really do mean this. Think about it this way: Teachers are educating a class full of students with different learning styles. Their students probably have varying degrees of familiarity and comfort with different topics. Plus, teachers constantly introduce new and challenging material. So, teachers are not surprised when students need help, and they encourage their classes to ask questions to better their understanding.
Students who ask questions also develop better relationships with their teachers. Teachers gain respect for students who take responsibility for their education and are invested in the class. I still remember the handful of students in each class who made an effort to talk to me about our class when I was a teaching assistant at the University of Mississippi. Not only did I admire their dedication to their education, but they also tended to be more interested in and have a better understanding of the class than other students.
Whether asking a question during class or waiting until a break in the school day, students should take time to ask teachers questions about material that they do not understand. They will develop a better understanding of the subject and a better relationship with their teachers.
Have you ever asked your teacher for help? Do you have any tips on when or how to ask for help? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.