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How to Get On Your Teacher’s Good Side: A Millburn Student's Guide to Glory

By Anusha Veluri |

When junior year rolls around, there’s one big thing on students’ minds: recs. That is, teacher recommendations for college applications next year. Each junior needs to find one or two teachers that know them well enough to speak to the student’s integrity, personality, and willingness to help others.

The thing is, if you’re a typical Millburner, chances are you have none of those things! That’s why I spoke with experts, to help you establish a true connection with the teachers that will write your recs next fall. For guaranteed success, read, absorb, and react.

Step 1. Don’t participate.

Teacher’s aren’t inclined to like a student that dominates the classroom with their voice. They like the student that is quiet, confusing, mysterious.

Sarah Jones, Math professor at Yale University explains, “When my students respond to questions, I always get taken aback. It's not polite, and to be quite frank, it's not normal! Like, shut up.”

So true, Sarah! Sorry you have to deal with tricky situations like that.

Step 2. Always ask, “Are you finished grading our assessment?”

Teachers love to be kept on their toes. Motivation is key to any job, and teaching is no exception.

Step 3. Do homework for other classes in front of your teacher.

Teachers like to know that you feel confident enough in the subject that you don’t even have to pay attention. Rocky Solomon, pedagogical expert from Johns Hopkins tells us, “It’s important to demonstrate nonchalance in certain situations, and school is the perfect setting. Teachers love to see a lack of interest in their students; It leaves them feeling confident, relaxed, and ready for whatever the future holds.”

Great findings, Dr. Solomon. Rock on!

Step 4. Make sure to get your homework from other people.

Collaboration is key, and teachers are aware of that. They love to see students working together, and letting your friends do your homework for you really exemplifies that. As a great academic musical once said, we are all in this together!

Step 5. Always lie!

Teachers love to know that their students have a wily side. As we said earlier, it’s a lot easier for teachers to write recs if they know who you are, and being a liar is a great personality trait to show them! Tell them “My printer exploded,” every day. Or say, “My great grandmother passed away, again.” This is a great tactic, and an even greater personality developer. Get to work, juniors!

These are the steps you should follow to get that glowing recommendation! Remember, don't be yourself, and don't let any part of the student-teacher relationship feel natural. Can’t wait to see these strategies in action, and even more excited to see the amazing schools you kids get into with these great recs. All the best!

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