If you have heard my story, then you may know that I went from failing fifth grade, onto becoming Valedictorian of my high school graduating class.
Now, while most valedictorians may be the sweet, quiet kid in the back that does not cause much of a fuss for teachers, this was NOT the case for me. In fact, most of teachers didn’t even like me!
Here’s the thing. School did not come easy for me. I was NOT the smartest kid in the class. But I knew that if I wanted to do well in any class, that I had to work my buns off, and seek help when I needed it!
For the most part, if I asked a teacher for some extra help, they were willing to sit and work with me. This is why I made sure to utilize my teachers as a constant and available resources.
I figured, if you are going to give me a huge assignment and make me work, then I’m going to make YOU work!
So what did this look like?
If a teacher gave me a writing assignment. I would work on it that night, and ask them to take a look at it and give corrections BEFORE the assignment was due. That way, I had enough time to correct it and turn it in on time.
Not only would I fix the corrections, but this also gave me an excuse if the teacher tried to make additional corrections after the due date. If the teacher tried to give me less than an A, I would say, “Hey, why didn’t you tell me this before when I asked you to look it over.”
So teachers wouldn’t make additional corrections after the assignment was turned in, because it made them look bad!
Was I a bad student for using my teachers? No. I was going to get the best grade possible!
For a test
If I got an answer wrong on a test that I believed was correct, I would take my test to my teacher and say, “Hey, You marked this answer as incorrect. I believe the answer is correct for these reasons: . . . “
This shows the teacher that you actually did study, and that you did not just take a guess.
Occasionally, this would work because teachers liked that I could present a logical argument for my answer. Sometimes they would give me the credit because they might have thought that their teaching was the reason that students were not getting the answer right.
One time, I argued with a teacher for so long about my test, that she gave me a 100% just to get me our of her office. (True story!)
I now teach students to stand up for themselves when teachers are wrong, to use teachers when needed, and to not accept a grade just because a teachers gives it to you!
As an academic mentor, I teach students self advocacy, because if a teacher makes a mistake, it can be the difference between a C or an A. And we cannot let your child’s grade suffer because of some else’s mistake.
Never heard of self advocacy in school before?
That’s because no one else is teaching it! Teachers that teach study skills on line, like I do, don’t want to admit that people make mistakes. They say to be nice to teachers, and do better next time. But that doesn’t cut it for me!
If you are interested in learning more about self advocacy, and the other skills your child needs for school, you can join our private parent support community membership for a free 30 day trial.
Hey there! My name is Rachael and I have been a private tutor for over 10 years. I earned my undergraduate degree in 2 and a half years and earned my graduate degree by age 22. I have tutored dozens of high school students, college students, and graduate students. I offer support, encouragement, and resources to help parents learn how to best help their teen or child that is struggling in school.