Teacher’s pet. I am pretty sure I have some PTSD from the number of times that phrase was thrown my way in middle school. Honestly, I know I fit the bill. I was never late, read all the material, asked questions about upcoming tests until even the teacher was irritated, and pretty much did everything a teacher’s pet does except bring apples…
I was more of a chocolate chip cookie kind of kid. But as most kid’s do, I eventually became aware and then very self-conscious of not fitting in with the cool kids, and changed my behavior accordingly. This probably would have continued straight through college if I had been a traditional student. Yet, living over an hour away from campus, I started my college experience with a full load of online classes. By not having any other students to interact with, I was free to learn in whatever fashion came naturally, and within a couple weeks, I was back to my A-type student ways. Even when I transitioned to in-person classes, I refused to change the way I learn in order to make others feel comfortable. In time, I realized that there were huge, I’m taking mountain high, advantages to being the type of student others label “teacher’s pet”.
Your grades will improve
I went from a B and C student, to straight A honors in one semester. And I kept getting A’s for the remainder of my schooling. That wasn’t because I was suddenly smarter, got a tutor, or made some big change in my study habits. It was purely from the approach I took to my time in the classroom. I came prepared, having at least reviewed the material, and I asked questions whenever I didn’t understand something. I mean, every time I wasn’t clear on something, I raised my hand. Here’s the thing no one tells you; just because students aren’t asking questions, doesn’t mean they understand ANY of it. In fact, they probably are grateful for you, because you ask the questions they are too shy to. So whether it’s asking questions, needing examples, or wanting to see a visual representation, do whatever you need to do to learn, and your grades will sky rock.
You will have more wiggle room
I’d love to say that every teacher is completely unbiased and never lets a student’s reputation or prior academic performance impact the way they grade, but it would be a lie. Teachers are actually humans, even the biology professors, and they are subject to the same human habits as everyone else. So, if a student is known for turning in C papers, that notion, that grade, is already in the teacher’s mind before the paper is ever in his hand. Likewise, if the faculty knows you as a good student who works hard, they tend to grade accordingly. And, if you have a relationship with teachers, i.e. don’t just come into class with one minute to spare and leave before anyone else is out of their seats, they are more likely to work with you on things like extensions, revisions, even extra credit if need be. These advantages may seem small but so is the difference between an 89% and 90%.
Your opportunities will expand
This may not be the biggest thing on your mind freshmen year, but when you’re looking down the barrel at Graduation, opportunities are a huge deal. Unless you are plugged into every facet of your school, there are opportunities you don’t know about. I’m talking scholarships, grants, research projects, department internships, publication opportunities, the list goes on and on. You may not know about them, but guess who does; faculty. And, if you are one of their best students, you’re going to be the one they offer those opportunities to. I got an internship with the English department without even applying for it and two papers published in an anthology submitted by two different professors. Make yourself known to the people in your field of study, and it will set you up for future success.
So if we can’t get rid of the label, embrace it. Be a teacher’s pet and don’t apologize for it, because it’s your education, future career, and ultimately your success on the line.
Are you a teacher’s pet? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured image source: weheartit.com
Hi, I am Nancy Strahan. I recently graduated with my BA in English Literature and am working to gain experience in the writing/content creation business. I was born and raised in Alaska and I love it here. I am pretty much an outdoor and adrenaline junkie, so if it is crazy or in nature, I'm there. So, naturally all things camping, backpacking, and adventure related are my favorite topics to write about.