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Don’t be “Spooooked” – Reach Out to Your Teachers!
Wendy Faircloth – Social Studies Teacher
You’re sitting there in the library, staring at your laptop and hoping an answer will come to you as you work on your VirtualSC course. You wonder “ How does this work again? How am I supposed to understand the work in my VirtualSC course when there is no teacher standing right here? I have questions and I need help!” What do you do?
Decide you’ll figure this out on your own at the end of the semester.
Text your really smart friend who got an A in her VirtualSC class last year – she probably knows how to do yours too, right?
Tell your older brother you’ll clean his room if he helps you.
Ask your VirtualSC teacher, since you can reach them by phone call, text, a message through your VirtualSC dashboard, or even chat with them on Skype!
Did you get the right answer? The answer is D, of course! Your VirtualSC teachers are here to help you be successful in your course. Did you know that your VSC teachers really want to hear from you? Here are some reasons why.
Helping students is our job! For many of us, hearing from students is the best part of our jobs. True, the glamour and high pay are great perks of being a teacher, (just kidding!) but most of us became teachers because we enjoy working with students. Here’s a little secret: high school teachers are a bit geeky about the subjects we teach. It makes teachers’ hearts happy to explain concepts in science, history, math, English, world languages, or whatever subject we teach. We enjoy taking a concept that may be confusing to you and helping you understand it. We love to hear a genuine “I get it now!” You can bet that makes your teacher’s day. Don’t be shy when you contact your teacher. Sometimes students get a little nervous and worry they are “bothering” their teacher. You are not bothering your teacher – we are here to help you and want you to do your very best in our classes.
We don’t want you to be stuck in the course! We check on your progress every week, and we are concerned when we see you falling behind. Often, a student’s lack of progress is the result of something so easy to prevent, such as not understanding the way a course works. Guess who can help you understand exactly how everything works in your course? Your VirtualSC teacher! As Business Education teacher Mrs. Meredith Bell explains, “I can’t help you if I don’t know if there is a problem!” As smart as your teachers are, we have not mastered the art of mind reading (there is no app for that yet.) We need you to tell us what is causing you difficulty in the course. More likely than not, someone else has had the same problem before, and we know exactly what to tell you. If we don’t know, we are ninja masters at finding out!
Communicating with us lets us know you are actively engaged in the course. Social studies teacher Mrs. Paige Fennell says, “I love hearing from students! Whether it is through email, text, phone call, or a reply to feedback on an assignment, it lets me know that you are engaged in the course! Simple replies reassure me that you understand what I have sent out or instructed you to do. Your responses help enrich the course and make me a better teacher overall.” When students are communicating with us, there are few problems that can’t be solved. Your responses and questions show us areas where we may need to communicate more with the class as a whole or where to clarify assignment directions, so we greatly appreciate hearing what you have to say.
OK, I should contact my teacher when I need help – got any tips? Sure, here’s a few. Many of your teachers teach more than one class, so it is very helpful to let your teacher know in your message or at the beginning of your phone call which class you are in. For example, your teacher might teach both English I and English III, so letting her know which one you are in helps her quickly find your work in the course and understand how she can help. (Also, when texting, include your name so your teacher knows which student you are.)
Another tip is to be specific. When you say “I can’t do that assignment because it won’t let me,” your teacher is sitting there with a puzzled look on his face. He is wondering “Which assignment? What is the issue that won’t let you – and what is it you can’t do?” Because he doesn’t know the answer to those questions, he has to message you back for clarification. That just slows him down in getting the answer you need. If you say “Hi Mr. (Lastname), I am having a problem seeing the website on assignment 3.6. I am using a Chromebook issued by my school,” then your teacher has a great starting point on suggestions to help you.
Students who reach out and communicate with their teachers are on their way to success in their VirtualSC classes. You might feel overwhelmed, intimidated by a subject that you don’t like, or you may be nervous because it’s your first online class. Never fear – just reach out to your teachers and be amazed at how much they can help! As a longtime VirtualSC teacher, I can tell you that I cannot remember a single time that a student who stayed in contact with me throughout the course did not successfully complete the course. That is how helpful communication can be!