Teacher’s Pet

How to get on a teacher’s good side

The words “teacher’s pet” make most teachers cringe. They do not want to play favorites or see a child consumed with sucking up, in the hopes of getting a good grade. But teachers do appreciate students who care what the teacher thinks and who try their hardest to do a good job.

While the school year is well on its way, there’s still plenty of time to help your child earn praise for his or her classroom behavior and schoolwork. The following is a bit of advice from three local teachers: 
Advice from Anne, a high school math teacher:  
• Be an active participant in class.
• Be respectful: Know your teacher’s name and address your teacher as such.  
• A classroom is for learning; use it that way. I love a student who participates and tries in class and uses the opportunity to learn something new.  
• Follow the rules.  
• Teachers make mistakes, too, so when you make a mistake, they will understand.
• Unless the teacher says you don’t have to do an assignment, you need to do it. Make an effort.
• Stop asking the teacher, “When are we ever going to use this?” 

Advice from Charlene, a middle and high school history teacher:
• The number one thing for me is showing respect with manners: Say “yes sir,” “yes ma’am,” “thank you,” “please.” I cannot stand when kids answer, “yeah.”
• Raise your hands; wait for your turn.
• Participate in class discussions. Teachers love it when kids willingly participate. Also, if a teacher asks you a question, answer them. The blank stare or the shrugging of shoulders is not a way to keep teachers happy or impress them. If you don’t know the answer, then say so. 
• Come prepared for class with materials and homework. Yes, we all forget once in a while, but when it becomes a habit, it becomes old really quickly.
• If a teacher offers extra credit, do it. You are showing us that you care about your work and you are putting forth effort. 
• Look for ways to help the teacher: pick up trash, stack books back up, pass out papers.

Advice from Susie, a second grade teacher:
• Most teachers are not looking for anything over-the-top. It’s really quite simple: What really makes a teacher happy is to see effort. No teacher expects perfection. We all make mistakes, and we all have our areas to work on. But, if a child is trying to work toward some sort of gain, whether it is an academic goal or a behavioral goal, it is most appreciated. What does effort look like? It can be children paying attention with eyes on the teacher during a lesson. It can be pairs of students huddled over a book searching for an answer. Or it might be eager hands in the air participating in a lesson. 
• Effort should be seen on the part of the parent as well. In my class, I ask that the parents check the homework for completion and accuracy each night and then sign the planner. I also rely on the parents to make sure that the children are reading each night, which is part of their nightly homework. Independent reading is vital to the development of a child’s reading skills. Some children will not do this on their own, and they need their parents to monitor their reading. Parents need to help their children stay on top of their schoolwork, since [in second grade] children do not yet have the maturity and time management skills to be successful on their own. I really appreciate parents who support my classroom routines.

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