Building a strong relationship with your teacher can make all the difference in your education experience and future career.
Unfortunately, many students are intimidated by the idea of interacting with their teachers outside of the classroom, or don’t know how to even begin building a relationship with their educator.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way!
Here are eight tips to help you build a strong relationship with your teacher and succeed in school—and beyond!
1) Get to Know Them
The best way to build a relationship with your teacher is to get to know them. Let them know more about you and what you’re doing outside of the classroom.
Get their phone number and call or text them when you have time.
You’ll be surprised how much they will want to talk with you! Try to find out as many details about them as possible, too.
Ask questions and show that you are interested in who they are as a person and not just as an authority figure in your life.
They should be able to tell if you really care for them on the inside and not just going through the motions, so make sure that’s true.
Tell them things like where you would like to go after school, or ask them what they think about movies or TV shows.
If you are feeling shy and don’t want to initiate a conversation, ask them simple questions about themselves instead of trying to delve into deep conversations from the beginning.
Find Out What They Like, Teachers love it when students actually listen and pay attention in class – especially when it comes to their own subject areas!
2) Attend Their Office Hours
In order to build rapport with your teacher, make sure that you are attending their office hours.
Office hours are often when students can ask for extra help, get feedback on projects and tests, and talk about other concerns.
The easiest way to ensure that you are seeing them during office hours is by setting up an appointment ahead of time through email or text message.
Teachers usually provide specific times they want to see each student so it’s important to be respectful of their schedule.
Plus, this makes it easier for teachers because they know they will have no interruptions while they are meeting with you one-on-one.
3) Respect Their Time
Teachers are often underpaid and overworked. This can leave them feeling exhausted and unappreciated.
One way you can help build their relationship with you is by respecting their time.
If they are busy when you come into the classroom, then don’t ask them for extra help or take up any more of their time than necessary.
If they seem stressed or overwhelmed, do your best not to contribute to that feeling.
Keep in mind they may be coming from an even more difficult lesson before yours, so offer to provide assistance after class if it’s appropriate.
Be Polite: You know what I’m talking about. Use please and thank you!
Keep Track of What They Say: One great way to make friends with your teacher is by keeping track of what they say in class.
4) Be Prepared
Prepare for class by reading the assigned texts and being familiar with any accompanying readings.
It will help you understand the material more fully and be prepared to ask questions in class.
Arrive at least 15 minutes before class so that you have time to find your seat, organize your materials, and get settled. Sit in the front of the room or near the teacher’s desk. -Take notes.
Ask lots of questions! Teachers want students who are engaged in the material.
Stay after class if you have further questions about the course content or assignments.
The classroom is often a better place than email for these conversations because it allows the two of you to stay focused on one topic without distractions.
If the professor doesn’t offer this opportunity during class, take advantage of office hours or set up an appointment outside of class.
Meet one-on-one with your teacher early in the semester so they can get to know you and learn what motivates you academically as well as personally.
5) Follow Up
✓. Show up on time and prepared for class.
✓. Ask for help when you need it, but don’t be afraid to do the work yourself if your teacher doesn’t have time or isn’t able to answer your question.
✓. Be polite and respectful in every interaction with them (and everyone else).
✓. Do something nice for them outside of class, like bring them coffee or something they mentioned they enjoy that you can get locally (or order online) and deliver it yourself.
6) Be Enthusiastic
The best relationships are built on mutual respect and common ground. So, if you want your teacher to know you as more than just another student in the class, it’s important that you be enthusiastic when they come in the room.
Smile and make eye contact with them when they walk by your desk. And make sure they’re having a good day by asking them how their morning was or what they did last night.
Showing interest in their lives is a great way to start building that relationship. If you find out they love something (hobbies, sports teams, etc.)
Show some interest by talking about it at the water fountain or before school starts.
Once you have found something to connect over, ask for their opinion on something going on in your life so they feel like part of your life outside of school too.
7) Offer Help
The best way to show your gratitude for your teacher is by taking the time to help them in any way that you can.
It could be as simple as helping them with their tasks at home or it could be going beyond and volunteering at the school.
If they have an event coming up, offer to help set-up, organize, clean up, or even just bring some food.
Remember that sometimes they have events outside of school hours where they need help, so do what you can when they ask! Every little bit helps!
8) Let Them Know You Care:
Teachers work very hard each day and deserve to know how much we appreciate them.
Send thank you notes or emails on occasion to let them know how much they mean to us.
Teachers also like hearing about our accomplishments because we want them to see us as more than just students.
We want them to see us as people who are doing something meaningful with our lives.