Talk to your Teacher
All classes are different. Some are quiet, some are loud. Some are passive, some are active. Some teach something new, and some improve your current knowledge. There is no correct way to teach or learn. However, if there is one thing that is a must, it is communication. Without communication, at best, lessons may be dull or boring; and at worst, lessons won’t be understood by anyone.
So, how should you talk to your teacher?
What makes a good teacher? Should they be wise? Patient? Organised? Serious? Critical? Fun?
And what makes a good student? Should they be disciplined? Studious? Focussed? Punctual?
Again, there is no clear answer, however, teachers and students are interdependent. Without a teacher, a student studies alone. Without a student, a teacher can’t exist! It is this relationship that makes communication so important. All students like to receive feedback from their teachers. This might be formal feedback, like grades or report comments, or it might be informal feedback, like a quick “Well done, Paula!”. Well guess what? Teachers like to receive feedback too!
Give your teacher feedback
Luckily you don’t have to set exams or write a report card! Your feedback can (and should) be verbal. If you liked a class, as you are walking out, tell your teacher. As an experienced teacher of children and adults I can tell you that it feels great to hear a simple sentence like “Thanks! That a was great class!“.
If there is something that you don’t enjoy about your classes, then it is even more important to tell your teacher. If you don’t say anything, perhaps your teacher won’t realise that you have a problem – especially if there are many students in your class. If you are going to say something critical, then perhaps you can wait until after the class is finished.
Mr. Brown, I feel like we spend a lot of time doing listening exercises. Maybe it could be a good idea if we spend more time practising conversation?
Talking about problems
First, decide if your problem or comment is personal to you, or if it is something that others in your class share. If you want to talk about a problem that you have, or get some personal advice, then it is better to speak to your teacher when other students aren’t around, and when you aren’t using the class’s time.
If you’d like to make a comment about the class in general, make sure that the class agrees with you first! After having talked to your classmates outside of class, it is fine to bring something up in class. “Mr. Brown. I think we all feel comfortable with the conditional now”. Don’t forget to be polite!
Back and Forth
When giving feedback to your teacher (or anyone else) try to keep the message positive rather than negative, when possible. For example, by suggesting “Can we do more of X” rather than “Can we do less of Y?”. Try to feel empathy for your teachers’ situation – remembering that they are probably bound by certain factors, like time, a set of subjects that they have to teach, and different types of people that they have to keep happy!
It is very common for children to say things like “My teacher doesn’t like me!“. It is very likely that by improving communication between a child and their teacher, this feeling would go away. As adults, we know how important communication is for all types of relationship. Carry this feeling into class with you, and you can improve the class environment for you, your classmates, and your teacher.
Tell us your experience in previous or current classes. Do you find it easier to talk to your teacher? If not, we can help you in the comment section below! Be open! Be communicative!