It’s back to school time across the country. As schools reopen their doors consider the most important conversations to have at the start of the year. Starting the school year with open communication is a great way to create a pathway to academic success.
Back to School Conversation Starters
- Make room in your schedule for meet and greet events, such as open house or departmental socials. As a student, introduce yourself and let the teacher or professor know that you are looking forward to a great school year. A handshake and a formal introduction at the start of the semester sends a message to professors that you are engaged and ready for the journey ahead.
2. Give accurate contact information at the start of the year. The information should always include address, home, cell, and work numbers, and email addresses. It is important that teachers, administrative staff, or professors know how to reach you with easily accessible information. This information allows faculty and staff to keep you informed of regular occurrences, new opportunities, or notify you in case of emergency.
3. Ensure that teachers are aware of any identified needs and the accompanying medical or instructional plans. It’s better to proactively share pertinent information at the start of the year or semester, than wait for a time later in the semester.
- Hours of availability
Make sure you are aware of the days, times, and modes of access that your teacher has for extra assistance or meeting to discuss class concerns.
- Syllabus/Course Description
Often students may store a syllabus away for future reference if there are questions or concerns later. However, being proactively aware, of the policies and procedures of a teacher and course, provides a student with an idea of how to pace their assignments and studying. Be sure to understand the homework and late work policies. Not that you will have late work, but sometimes illness and emergencies happen, and it is best to know before hand how to proceed.
- Additional Resources that may assist in the class
Often when asked, teachers and professors have extra resources in mind that they know will specifically assist you in your studies. These resources are not necessities, but it may be a supplemental book, study strategy, software, community association, or article that could assist in a successful school class experience. A simple question like: “Is there any extra resource or suggestion that you can suggest?” If there is not a readily available answer, your teacher is guaranteed to keep you in mind if something arises later.
- Determine the teacher’s instructional delivery style.
Successful students learn to determine the delivery style of each teacher. In a perfect, utopia all of your instruction would be delivered in your individual learning style. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Take notice of the routines of each of your teachers. Does she tend to give lessons in a lecture style with handouts or power point slides? Does he provide extra information with an expectation of consistent independent chapter reading? Once you have determined the instructional style of each teacher, you will know how to prepare, study, and ask for help or advice.
- Find out the best way to gain clarity when confused (i.e. after class, after school, office hours, online forum)
As a mother and educator, I often reminded students that teachers and students share the responsibility of student success. Be sure to do your part. Be sure to assist the teacher in meeting your needs in the class. Do not settle for less from yourself or from the teacher. Build a partnership with teachers that leverages you for success.
Have a splendid school year reaching higher heights.