Initiating effective communication is a great way to create a pathway to academic success. Ensure that you are engaged in strategic conversation. A strong start to the semester can sustain your productivity, optimism, and direction throughout your coursework.

Strategic Conversation Starters

Give information:

1. 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.

Get information:

1. Inquire abut 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.

2. Take a close look at the syllabus/course description. Some students may store a syllabus away and forget to reference it later. However, being proactively aware, of the policies and procedures of a course, provides a student with a plan 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. The course syllabus is a guide to a strategic conversation with your teacher.

3. Find 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.

Be Observant:

4. Determine the teacher’s instructional delivery style. 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.

5. Find out the best way to gain clarity when confused (i.e.  after class, after school, office hours, online forum) 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. Plan ahead for strategic conversation and build a partnership with teachers that leverages you for success.

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