As an upperclassmen, the high school junior may be more well-respected on campus and expected to take on more mature qualities to model to freshmen and sophomore classmates. One of those qualities is networking/building relationships with peers and adults.
Teachers are important adults both inside and outside the classroom and junior year is an important time for students to continue developing relationships with teachers. Teacher relationships are important because it is highly likely that the teachers from junior year will be writing recommendation letters for college. Here are my top 3 tips for how juniors can build good relationship with their teachers:
- Meet after school to ask questions and discuss lessons from class. These meetings should be sincere in that students are making an effort to meet with those teachers that they want to get to know or have an interest in their subject area.
- Review graded exams or assignments with teachers. This extra action will help not only with building a relationship with you teachers but also help with learning the content better. I especially encourage students who may need extra help with written assignments to meet with the teacher afterwards to understand how to improve their writing.
- Request a recommendation for summer program. Applying to a summer program is a low risk way to find out if a teacher can write a strong letter of recommendation for a student. In the past, I have actually had students request a recommendation for a summer program and they were denied acceptance because the teacher didn’t submit the recommendation letter. That was a good lesson for the college applications. The student learned that they should perhaps allow more lead time and/or ask a different teacher!
The wonderful thing about high school teacher relationships is that they often last for years. It’s common for students to go away to college but still return to visit their high school teachers during breaks. I recently had dinner with a high school chemistry teacher and was impressed that two former students stopped by our table to say hello and thanks. The teacher remarked that many former students even from her earliest years of teaching still stay in touch.
Even when meeting after school with a teacher may seem like an extra assignment, it will begin a lifelong relationship. What other steps can students take to build relationships with teachers?