This is a post for any student readers or children of my adult readers.
When you have an idea or a question, are you able to approach your teacher and confidently voice your opinions? If you already are proficient at this then that is wonderful, for everyone else, this post is aiming to help you develop the strategies to talk with your teachers and hopefully take charge of your education.
1. Think over your concern. Make sure you know what you want before you go in and talk with your teacher. It does not do any good to try and ask for something if you do not know what you are asking for. By outlining your game plan before you reach a critical stage you are setting yourself up for success.
2. Set an appointment. By arranging ahead of time with your teacher, you can assure that they will not be preoccupied and that you will receive their full attention on your ideas. It also shows them that you are serious about your ideas and that it is not something that you are going to give up on or do half-heartedly. Also if other students have similar thoughts or grievances, consider approaching your teacher together. This is a way to insure a stronger message. As the saying goes, there is safety in numbers.
3. Do not offend the teacher. This may seem like a no brainier, but by choosing your words carefully you can make sure that your full message is heard. Words such as “boring” and “easy” are words that will switch off your teacher. Speak with force but do not yell, make sure that you are confident in your words and that you show that you have ginuine interest in trying to help make your idea work. Try to keep your teacher from feeling defensive as this will cause them to be less likely to help you. Remember, sometimes teachers are afraid or feel threatened by gifted students. Try and show them that you are not scary!
4. Listen to the teacher. It does no good to try and garner the attention of someone and then not listen to what they have to say. This does not mean that you have to agree with what your teacher is saying, but rather it means that you need to acknowledge their ideas, but not back down from your views. If you passively accept whatever the teacher is saying then you are not helping your cause.
5. Restate your convictions. When you feel the discussion coming to a close, restate what you have agreed upon as the solution, also make sure that you and your teacher are on the same page so there is no confusion later on. By eliminating this aspect of confusion, you can make sure that your views are know to your teacher, and they cannot go back on the agreement later.
6. Say Thank You. This shows that you appreciated the time the teacher took and also demonstrates a level of maturity, especially if the meeting did you go as planned.
7. Follow up. If something was decided upon during the discussion make sure that it gets implemented during the class. If an idea was put forth that you liked, but nothing is happening during class time, then the whole process was for naught.
Sometimes your teachers will not be responsive to your plight. When this occurs the best course of action is to seek out the next level of the school system. Go talk with a principal or a counselor. They may be able to help you more than your teacher.
I hope that this post has helped you to gain some confidence that will help you take charge of your education. Remember that teachers and administrators will not always see it your way. Try and find a group of supporting teachers or parents that can help vouch and support you. Good Luck in your endeavors!