Does your teen quake in their Converse when they have to ask a teacher for help?
Believe it or not, teachers (even those in the Dark Arts), do want to be on your teen’s support team! (Severus Snape saved Harry many times! ) And, high school is the perfect time — and environment — to build strong communication skills with adult authority figures.
So, how do you help your teen build that bridge?
Take it slow, and tap into my favorite and most teen-friendly strategies:
Meet your teen where they are.
Understand how your teen feels, so you can help them take that next baby step. It may be difficult to make eye contact or even say “hello” to adults. Others can engage in casual conversation, but have a hard time asking questions. Pick a baby step that works your unique situation. For example, suggest your teen start with an email if your face-to-face conversations are too stressful.
Have your teen ask their teacher when they’re available to meet. Scheduling ahead of time shows respect and organization. Plus, it teaches a life skill
Make it easy for the teacher.
Prepare questions ahead of time. Help your teen identify the specific spot where they get stuck. For example, “Can you help explain when to use the quadratic equation?” is much better than, “Can you explain chapter three?” You’ll score bonus points for avoiding the dreaded phrase “I just don’t get it.”
Make it easy for your teen.
Practice the conversation. I know, I know. Cue the eye-roll. But giving them the language, and asking them to put it in their own words, prepares them for the real dialogue and unexpected questions. What if your teacher says this? Or that? Walking through how the conversation may go will help calm the jitters.
Encourage the buddy system
If your teen brings a friend with them to talk to the teacher, it feels more casual. And, it’s like having a workout partner — the accountability and support are invaluable. When face-to-face meetings aren’t possible, you can offer to sit nearby or have a virtual co-chat with the teacher.
Over time, teens will gain confidence, open up more, and develop healthy relationships with their teachers. They’ll understand the value in seeking their teachers as a resource and trusted advisor. Which sets them up for success in college and beyond.
If you’d like to take this practice further, an academic or life coach could be a great option. They’re great at breaking down daunting goals into manageable steps, inspiring new ways of thinking, and of course celebrating successes! If that sounds helpful, schedule a free strategy session with me here.