How to Learn When Your Teacher Doesn't Teach

Updated: Mar 21

We've all had our share of funny stories regarding our teachers from school. But sometimes, it can get a little hard. Sometimes teachers, who are supposed to be there to mentor us and guide us, can make learning much harder than it should be. Here is how to deal with those teachers who just make you hate school.


By: Ava Kesler

Read more to find out meaningful strategies for dealing with teachers who don't talk all class, talk too much but only about themselves, or those who simply aren't good with teaching.




1. Find Review Books and Extra Resources.

There is a plethora of resources out their on the Internet. (Even if you have a great teacher, these resources are super helpful.) I like reading reviews for different books online, and now I have a few go-to brands for review books! If you can't afford to buy extra books, you can always go to YouTube, where you are almost always guaranteed to find a helpful video (just be careful you don't get distracted by your recommendations).


When doing extra research, it is important to not feel overwhelmed. The Internet is packed with tons of websites trying to explain concepts, and not all of them always retain to what you are looking for. Before you even begin reading the tips, make sure you are under the correct topic so you avoid wasting time feeling confused or stressed about a topic you haven't even covered yet.


When it comes to using review books, one thing I have found is that it is better to use only 1-2 really good books, rather than a bunch of different ones. This way you are not stretched too thin, and you can really take the time to indulge in a certain book. Otherwise, you are dealing with not only a huge amount of material, but also 5-10 different ways of representing it. It takes enough time to read one book as it is, you don't need to worry about a ton of others too. The hard part with this is making sure the one book you use is actually a good book. The best thing you can do is find articles and reviews and decide which book is best for you, based on your learning style, time frame, and level on the material. Then you can buy several, if possible, and flip through them to get a feel for the representation. With a little trial and error, you will eventually figure out which book is best for you and your needs. After all, there wouldn't be so many different books out there if people weren't using them. So don't feel overwhelmed when you see all the options.


2. Have Study Groups

Study groups can provide a great atmosphere for learning content, especially since it is similar to that of a classroom. If all of you are struggling with the same difficult teacher, it can be a good idea to meet up and make a study plan together. This is especially important since study groups have the tendency to become social time.


So it is helpful to make an agreement with everyone on how exactly you will be studying. Whether that be by quizzing each other with flashcards, playing study games, watching Khan Academy, working on a study guide, or just sharing notes and ideas, make sure that everyone knows the plan so that there is less risk of getting off task.


If big study groups aren't your thing, then just find one good friend who you can study with. This can be someone you don't have to know very well, which is good in that you two probably won't become as easily distracted chatting, or it can be a close, but focused and serious friend.


I have one friend who is very close to me, but she has the amazing ability to focus and work hard, so we like to FaceTime and study together. This is really helpful for one class in which our teacher doesn't really teach the content. We like to read out our notes and really try to reword them and explain them to fully absorb the material.


3. Find a Tutor

Find out if your school offers tutoring. This can be really helpful because it is school specific, so the tutors will understand what your teacher is like and will be able to help you more effectively. This can also lead to new friendships and better bonds, especially if the tutors are other teachers or upperclass men.


You can also find tutors outside of school. There are plenty of online organizations that offer various forms of tutoring. This can also be helpful by providing a fresh perspective on learning the material, that might be different from that of your school.


You can also find help from a neighbor or family friend. Many students have to get service hours for school, so by tutoring you, both of you will benefit.


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