Common Ground International Impacts Communities Through Language - Learn Spanish - Learn English - Spanish Immersion Trips - Translation

5 Simple Tips to Impress Your Spanish Teacher

5 Simple Tips to Impress Your Spanish Teacher

How can you get your Spanish Teacher on your Side?

We meet hundreds, maybe thousands, of Spanish teachers every year through our language training and Spanish immersion business. By and large they are a decent crew of people. Maybe we’re biased (because we’re Spanish teachers too) – but I don’t think so. Of course you always have your exceptions (there are some real doozies out there) but if you feel like your Spanish teacher is just out to get you; you need to keep reading this post. There are probably a handful of things you could do to improve your working relationship with your Spanish teacher.

Before we start, let’s get one thing straight; this is not about sucking up or being a brown nose. This post is all about understanding the reality that your class is going to be a lot easier if your teacher is on your side! Additionally, toward the end of your high school career you are going need references for things like jobs, internships, volunteer opportunities, etc.; and teachers to write those references for you.  This is a whole lot easier if you have lots of teachers who can speak highly of you. To ensure that you have teachers in your corner, keep a few of these simple steps in mind:

    1. Obey the fundamentals of being a decent student: Don’t forget the basics. When you are in school, think of your teacher as your boss and you are the employee.  What are the fundamental things that a boss expects from an employee?  These are all pretty simple things that can often get overlooked.
      • Show up on time every day. Your teacher can’t fire you like a boss can, but they sure can make your life miserable if they think you disrespect them by not arriving to class on time.
      • Bring your materials. Forgetting something one time isn’t a mortal sin, but the reality is that multiple students missing their necessary materials slows down class and frustrates any teacher.  Make sure you are coming to class prepared to learn.
      • Do your work. What boss ever said: “I want an employee who doesn’t do their work”? Teachers are pulling their weight and they expect you to pull yours.  Forgetting a homework assignment once in a blue moon won’t be a problem if you are the student who always turns in their work.
    2. Be positive. Nobody likes a bad attitude.  Attitudes are contagious, whether good or bad.  If you keep a positive attitude then others around you will join in and create a more positive experience for everyone. Teachers have to contend with the attitudes of 20-30 students at a time and you make their life a lot easier if you consistently bring positivity to the equation. Remember, teachers are not your benevolent parents who will love all their children equally – they may love you more or less than another student…so give them reasons to love you!
    3. Ask smart questions. No, you shouldn’t raise your hand every 5 minutes screaming “¡Yo tengo una pregunta!” but you should ask your teacher to clarify when you don’t understand something. Remember “I don’t get it” or “This is too hard” aren’t questions and these statements send the message that you are giving up when something is difficult. Make sure to phrase your question in a way that tells the teacher you want their help finding the answer, and that you don’t expect them to just give you the answer. Here are some examples of questions that motivate me to help a student:
      • “Can you help me form the verb in this sentence?”
      • “Can you help me translate this word?”
      • “I’m lost.  Can you help me understand what I should be doing here?”

      Teachers expect their students to ask questions and they are willing to help, especially when you ask a question that implies you’re trying to learn and not just giving up.  Questions like these above show that you are working hard and need a little boost to complete the activity correctly.  It shows that you care about the quality of your work and that is very important to your teacher.

    4. Participate: Again, you don’t need to raise your hand every time the teacher asks for a volunteer, but participation in class will certainly help. All teachers dread the moment when they ask for a volunteer and hear nothing but crickets.  They always appreciate having a “go-to” student who they know will play along in a silly activity or will read aloud for the class. Most importantly, participation sends a very clear message to your teacher that you are motivated to learn.  It demonstrates that you are engaged in the learning process and that you are firing on all cylinders. Even if your accent isn’t perfect, even if you aren’t sure if your answer is correct, raise that hand and see what happens!
    5. Speak Spanish Nothing shows your teacher you are motivated to learn better than actually using the language in class. You may not have the vocabulary to say everything you want to, but you can certainly say the basics in Spanish “Hola, Adiós, Gracias, Por favor”.  Make sure you are always saying these things in Spanish. Research a couple of phrases or expressions and use them when appropriate in the classroom. Your teacher will love to hear you say “¡Qué lástima – What a shame!” when they announce a pop quiz.  You’ll still have to take that quiz but it will give your teacher a good laugh! Remember, your teacher doesn’t expect perfection, so don’t stress if you don’t say something perfectly.  Breaking out of your comfort zone is the best way to push your Spanish skills forward and your teacher will recognize and appreciate your efforts.

It’s not hard to stand out in your Spanish class (for positive reasons) and generate some good will with your teacher. It doesn’t really matter if Spanish is your least favorite subject (or if you’ve had better teachers before), the reality is that these simple strategies will help you get your teacher on your side and set you up for success this year in Spanish class. Give a few of these tips a try and let us know how they go in class!

Rory
Posted on:
Rory is passionate about the Spanish language, an expert instructor, and specifically energized by the practical use of language in industry & community settings.
Post author

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *