How to turn teachers’ views around and get them on your side

teacher and students in classroom

Worried your teacher isn’t your biggest fan? There are lots of things you can do to fix the situation – and they don’t necessarily involve having to get higher grades

If you have an inkling that your teacher doesn’t have the best impression of you, don’t feel defeated. Pete Langley, a former teacher with more than 30 years of experience, has put together a few common pitfalls to help you figure out why your teacher might feel that way and given some advice on how you could fix things. 

It’s worth remembering that you don’t have to be getting the highest marks to be a good student (although if you follow this advice you might see your grades taking a natural boost).  Rather, the more you seem interested, alert and willing to work, the better an impression you’ll create. Keep this in mind and you should have your teacher back on side in no time.

Are you ever late (even just a little bit)?

The problem

We’ve all been there – hitting snooze on the alarm just one more time until suddenly you only have ten minutes to take a shower, get dressed and bolt out the door.

Sadly, no matter how relatable it is, students being late is a big pet peeve for teachers. And ‘being late’ doesn’t necessarily mean strolling into school halfway through the day, either. Even if you’re only late by a few minutes a couple of times a week, it can still be really disruptive for teachers to have to keep repeating themselves to stragglers at the beginning of a lesson.

The solution

Sit down and figure out how long you realistically need for your morning routine in order to leave the house on time, then set your alarm accordingly. If there’s anything you can get ready the night before – like packing your bag or making sure you have a clean outfit ready to wear – do it to buy yourself some more time.

Set an alarm clock. And don't put it by your bedside, so that when you wake up you stay awake.

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And if your bus or train always gets you to school a little bit late, start catching one that runs early instead.

students doing homework while looking bored

Do you get your homework in on time?

The problem

Juggling lots of sets of different homework can feel like a real pain, and the temptation to just ignore it until you’re really up against the deadline is very understandable.

But handing work in late or sloppily rushing your assignments gives your teacher the impression that you just don’t care – which isn’t going to warm them to you as a student.

The solution

Keep track of all your homework. Get a decent diary to record what’s due when, and block out the time to get it done properly. You could even use our study planner to create a homework timetable.

Try writing out a schedule. Instead of doing homework every day you could dedicate one or two evenings to it a week.

Jess.1819
student sleeping at desk

Do you look like you’re interested in class?

The problem

If you spend the whole class slumped miserably over your desk, alternating between staring out of the window and at your mobile phone, your teacher is going to notice. Acting disengaged and uninterested in the lesson is likely to give your teacher a bad impression, because you’ll seem like you don’t want to learn.

The solution

When you’re in class, sit up in your chair and look like you’re ready to start working. Get your textbook and pens out before the lesson starts so you’re ready to go.

When the lesson begins, make it obvious that you’re concentrating. Keep eye contact with your teacher and make sure your phone is packed away so you won’t be tempted to keep sneakily checking it every five minutes.

And if you regularly find yourself drawn into whispered conversations with friends sitting nearby, perhaps consider moving to sit next to someone less likely to distract you.

Sit at the front, answer questions, interact, put your hand up and ask questions.

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You could prove your interest in a subject by doing a bit of reading outside of the lessons. For example, you could take a look at some news websites and see if there’s anything relevant happening that you could mention to your teacher during class.

Teachers like intelligent students who show their thoughts to prove interest in the subject.

Fadel

If you want to, speak to your teacher

Once you’ve figured out what you need to improve, and if you feel confident enough to do it, you might want to speak to your teacher. If you decide to do this, you could let them know that you’re aware you’ve given a bad impression but you’re taking steps to fix it and that you’d love feedback on how you’re doing.

If that feels too scary, don’t worry about it – make these little adjustments with the aim of being an alert, interested and willing student and your teacher should hopefully take notice by themselves.

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