“Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don't know something, and to learn something new.”
President Barack Obama
Now, perhaps more than ever, during time away from school campus is the need for students to become advocates for themselves. Without the benefit of going to teachers during homeroom or after school, students need to advocate electronically. Self-Advocacy means to speak up for yourself by learning how to get information needed to be successful through reaching out to others when you need help. Follow these steps to recognize when you need help, how to start the conversation with teachers, and why teachers value you contacting them:
First step: Recognize the Need for Assistance!!!
Students should ask themselves:
This assignment requires a lot of work. How should I prepare?
I am missing some assignments, will my teacher allow me to make them up?
I don’t fully understand the material covered by the teacher?
Second Step: Conversation Starters With Teacher
Students can email teachers with conversation starters like:
I’m struggling with _____. Can you reply back to me?
I’m working hard, but I’m still not understanding _____. Can you help me?
I apologize for missing some assignments and would like to make them up. Can you please email me?
Third Step: Assignment Completion and Follow-Up Teacher Contact
Email teachers when missed assignments are completed. Then, inform the teacher you are working on other specific assignments telling the teacher when he/she will receive those assignments.
Reaching out to the teacher signals you are an engaged and motivated student, teachers take notice!!!!
Benefits of Being Your Own Advocate:
Feeling of Empowerment: I DID IT!!!!
Feeling of Self-Control: I HAVE THE ABILITY TO DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN!!!!!
Stephen Thuot, PH.D.