1. Participating too much or too little
There’s always that kid who never says a word in class (is his mouth actually able to form words?) and then the annoying loquacious one who overshares. How do you reach a balance between being mute and being obnoxious?
Raise your hand and offer to answer a question every time you know the answer (so your teacher won’t call on you when you’re unprepared or don’t know the answer), but limit your actual contributions to 2-3 significant answers per class period. That way you stay on your teacher’s radar in a positive way.
2. Taking or whispering to your friends and passing notes
You may be able to evade your teacher’s attention at first, but eventually your teacher will catch you. STAR students don’t let themselves be distracted during class. If a friend passes you a note or someone tries to distract you, just nod or smile and resume the conversation after class. You can always say (after class, of course) that you can’t read lips.
3. Passively not actively listening
Each lecture is like a script. Adapt your note taking style in each class to how the teacher presents the material. It takes time to be able to differentiate when your teacher is making a side-note and digressing from the main topic, when he’s revealing important information that will be on the next test, and when he’s summarizing or recapping a topic already discussed. Going over past tests helps you figure that out.
4. Appearing bored
Repeatedly checking the clock on the wall or the watch on your wrist (does anyone wear watches anymore?) is pointless. Even if you’re in a class so boring that you’re desperate to make the seconds tick by faster, it’s disrespectful to your teacher.
And even if your teacher doesn’t see you constantly looking at the clock or yawning, she’ll probably pick up on the vibe that you’d rather be anywhere but in her classroom.
Read more tips for teens in You Rock! How To Be A Star Student & Still Have Fun