Show your essay to a teacher who doesn’t like you – or at least doesn’t know you.

Students who actually do go the extra mile and show their essay to a teacher before sending it often go straight to their favorite teacher, or at least one who likes them a lot. That’s natural, but if that person is your favorite teacher, then he/she probably likes you, too, and may be likely to pat you on the back and tell you what you want to hear rather than give you the honest feedback your essay needs to improve. This isn’t always the case, but it can be, especially with that teacher who seems to want to be good buddies with lots of the students (every school has one). On the other hand, a teacher who doesn’t know you (and especially one who does know you and isn’t particularly fond of you) doesn’t have any reason to lie to you about your essay’s shortcomings. In fact, a teacher who doesn’t like you may enjoy the opportunity to criticize you. You might as well let him/her do so in a way that helps you out – you could get some very useful feedback from the process. Plus, as an aside, you’ll probably earn some respect from that teacher as well. If you know he/she doesn’t like you and you still go ask for his/her expertise, that shows guts.

NOTE: I know some of you reading this are thinking something like, “Gosh, I know all the teachers, and I can’t even think of ONE teacher who doesn’t like me. They all like me!” If that’s the case, then – well, good for you. Keep in touch with as many of them as you can for future recommendation letters and references!

2 thoughts on “Show your essay to a teacher who doesn’t like you – or at least doesn’t know you.”

  1. Dear Josh,

    I realize that you’re probably much too busy to respond to the majority, if not all, the comments GMS gets, but maybe another reader can tell me…. Isn’t there a chance that this teacher will, for lack of emotional attachment, write the essay off as “really great–doesn’t need improvement” to get the darn thing over with? As in, a “this kid doesn’t even deserve editorial comments from me” sort of attitude… Is that not as likely?

  2. @ Signe Clemente

    Of course. I think the key is going to teachers that are just good critics in general. I go to several teachers sometimes for essay revision – back when I completed them enough ahead of time – but I got to know the teachers’ styles/what they’re useful for after some time. All of these teachers I have a good relationship with, otherwise I feel like (what you said) they wouldn’t bother. As far as the teachers go, I know which ones are good for brainstorming, confirming my ideas (but not helping come up with them), grammar/spelling/syntax/the formal stuff, and/or helping revise and rewrite my essays.

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