Acquisition of knowledge is like the building process of a bridge over a great river. In order to progress from one’s starting point at one end, they must build to meet what is being extended from the opposite end. Once the two ends of the bridge meet in the middle, one has full access to the knowledge and experience on the other side. However, if the side of ignorance and inexperience refuses to begin construction, they will never make the connection in the middle needed to access the side of knowledge and experience. If the side of knowledge and experience continues to build, which they often do because they have a job to complete, several things could happen. One is that the bridge collapses from instability because it is not anchored equally over the long expanse, or, if the connection is made, it will be so far off the intended mark that inexperience and ignorance will have a rough time getting onto the bridge, and in addition they learned nothing about building bridges. A bridge must be extended from both sides in order to be completed successfully and to fulfill its potential of supporting the exchange of knowledge. If a student ever feels that their teacher is not teaching them anything they must first ask themselves one very important question, “Am I making a significant effort toward extending my end of the bridge to meet the teacher in the middle?”
One of the first steps to take in order to begin extending one’s own portion of the bridge is to be prepared for class. Make sure all materials as prescribed on a teacher’s syllabus are obtained and brought to class every day. Not having materials needed to learn is a clear indication that you have no intention of taking part in the learning process. If failure to obtain materials is due to financial hardship, it should be discussed with the teacher, as long as they are able they will certainly be willing to help out.
Having the assigned textbook is important too. As a matter of fact it is crucial. Assignments cannot be completed nor tests studied for if you do not obtain the prescribed textbook. Public schools issue textbooks to students for free, but many times they are left in lockers because students feel that it is a burden to carry them around. Complaints are made that the books are too heavy, but if your goal is to be successful, you know that the inconvenience of totting heavy volumes full of knowledge is small compared to the difficulties you will have attempting to face the real world without an education.
A student should also make an effort to begin and complete classroom assignments, and homework assignments if required. It is impossible for a teacher to assess your abilities and opportunities for growth if you are unwilling to participate in assignments, discussions, and readings. If you are making this effort, the next step will be to identify the area(s) that is causing the most trouble and bring it to the teacher’s attention, if he has not already noticed them himself. If personal effort to engage yourself in studies is being applied, then the teacher will have no trouble understanding your difficulties and easily be able to provide additional assistance needed for mastery of content.
Other issues that may come up if a you feel the teacher is not teaching you anything are: you are in a class that is below your level of achievement, making it necessary to request more challenging learning opportunities; the teacher of record is not qualified in that particular subject area and placed because of a teacher shortage; and in rare cases, the teacher may have problems of their own that affect their ability to teach well, which would have to be dealt by an administrator. Taking into consideration all of these possibilities and ensuring that you are fulfilling all of your own responsibilities should help you determine the appropriate course of action to ensure a positive educational experience.