Thursday, September 19, 2013

Academic Toolbox: Talking to your Instructors

We are three weeks into the semester.  Have you communicated with your instructor outside of class?  If you haven’t, now is a good time to initiate the conversation, whether it is through email, text message, on the phone, or face-to-face.  It is natural to feel like your instructor will not be receptive to your inquiries, but they really do have an interest in making sure you are learning and succeeding.  Don’t think of them as the mean school teacher, but rather as partner in your learning.

What do you say?

·         Ask follow up questions about readings, lectures, or classroom activities.

·         Inquire about your grade, or upcoming quizzes and tests.

·         Give them feedback about the class and how you think you are progressing.  Let them know if something would help you to be more successful in the class.

·          Discuss challenges you have with the material.

Why do this now?

·         Good communication with your instructor will make it easier when you need to ask questions about the material, or need help understanding your grade.  You are also more likely to know where you stand in the course.

·         Your instructor can be an important mentor for the rest of your time at college and in your career.  His or her experience and network of professionals can be beneficial when you are applying for jobs or transferring to another college. 

How to contact my instructor?

·         Most instructors give their preferred contact information on their syllabi.  They might prefer email or for you to visit during office hours.  If you are unsure how to contact your instructor, ask them before or after class. 


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