16 Ways to Get On Your Teachers Good Side

‘In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something else.’
This Lee Iacocca’s quote is true on many levels.

Have you ever wondered why do we go to school? Is it to get a good job when we grow up? That is true but school alone doesn’t guarantee a successful life; rather it is our “schooling” which makes us stand out from the rest. It is our teachers, who will ultimately help us stand among the “haves”, away from “have nots”

Getting to know your teachers, therefore, is a big part of your education. And here are some of the ways to NOT become your teachers’ “pet”, but check all the right boxes in their books.

  1. Be academically sound– This is a no-brainer, but the age-old, tried and tested “recipe” still holds true. It’s not hard to believe that a scholastically weak student will not make it into his/her teacher’s good books, however, if you are one, you must make the effort to improve.
  2. Earning his/her trustIn addition to getting good grades, you will need to strike a personal chord with your teacher. The best way to do that is by visiting him/her during office hours and NOT just for the sake of it. Visit when you have a genuine question or problem that needs to be addressed. Don’t be shy to reach out. Good teachers always appreciate a self starter.
  3. Professional v personalThis is critical to building a healthy relationship with your teacher without causing any problems. Discussing your teacher’s publications or books with him/her is fine; inviting them for a drink may be pushing it. If you’re not sure, simply ask. This will send a signal to your teacher that you want to develop a professional relationship without crossing the normally accepted lines.
  4. Going the extra mileThis does not mean washing your teacher’s car for free for some brownie points. It simply means going the extra mile. This may include offering to help your teacher, once in a while, collect and carry books or quizzes.
  5. Extra creditIf you have the time and energy, choose the extra credit assignment, whenever offered. Since not many in the class would go for it, therefore by opting and doing well, you only stand to gain.
  6. Developing a wholesome personality Your gym teacher is your teacher too. By participating in different sports, you can make yourself stand out. This may be the difference between getting that glowing letter of recommendation for a sports scholarship.
  7. It’s the small things that matterFor example, saying “present or here” audibly when attendance is being taken as compared to mumbling in a muffled voice. This may not make you an A grade student, but something which will get your teachers appreciation, even when it doesn’t always show.
  8. Don’t be a BackbencherThere’s a stigma attached to back-benchers, so avoid it; make occasional eye-contact with your teacher, so that they know that you’re listening and willing to learn.
  9. Rex v Dr. HarrisIf your teacher’s name is Rex Harris and he holds a PhD and wants to be addressed as Rex, then call him Rex. No point in being too formal and calling him Dr. Harris; Dr. Rex is a no no too.
  10. Never be lateOr as much as humanly possible, avoid that awkward moment when the lecture is underway and you decide to make an entrance. Tardiness applies to assignments as well; never hand in your assignment late and if you think you won’t be able to meet the deadline, inform your teacher in advance, and cut your losses.
  11. Don’t assumeIf you were acing your exams and quizzes before and now for some reason your grades have dropped, don’t assume your teacher didn’t or wouldn’t notice. You have a genuine concern, therefore email, make an appointment (if you can’t visit during office hours), visit and discuss what can be done about your grades. Your teacher will appreciate that you took the initiative and handled the situation like a responsible adult.
  12. Be considerate of othersEven if you know all the right answers don’t always act as a Mr/Ms ‘Know it All’. For one, you will be getting on everyone’s nerves, may earn the unenviable title of a snob, plus your teacher might get the impression that you want all the lime light. So be selective.
  13. Your teacher, your mentorYou may ask your teacher about what future classes you should take, how the employment outlook is for your chosen profession, etc.
  14. Online studentsThese students may have it easy building a rapport with their teachers as their participation is recorded. So participate.
  15. How to ask for that awesome letter of recommendationSimply ask for it. Remind your teacher, if the need arises, that you’ve been a good student in class and now want to enroll in a graduate. school Good teachers always know who their good students are.  
  16. Be preparedIf you are going to ask your teacher for that letter of recommendation, be prepared to answer some of his/her questions. Your teacher would like to know (in addition to which schools you are applying to), why are you applying for that particular program.

The key is to engage your teacher and not come across as a brown noser. Now that you know how to engage your teacher, go see him/her during office hours with some smart questions, comments and genuine problems, instead of just trying to get some brownie points.


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