Why Talk to Your Teachers?
The last thing you want is a bad grade on a paper that took a lot of hard work and time. What a nightmare! If you don't understand an assignment, you might do the assignment wrong!
To be successful in school, you have to make sure you know what assignments you're supposed to complete and exactly how and when you're expected to complete each assignment. Otherwise, you could end up writing a five-page paper in the wrong format, or turning in a big research paper on a topic that doesn't fit the assignment.
When Should You Talk to a Teacher?
You don't have to become a dork and follow the teacher around. You don't have to speak to the teacher at the end of every class. However, you should check in with your teacher every time he or she assigns a project that is new or unfamiliar.
You should also communicate with your teacher if you receive a poor grade unexpectedly. Teachers are human, and they make mistakes. If you don't understand why your grade is low, go ask! Be polite. Your teacher will explain (and maybe appreciate the opportunity to fix any potential mistakes).
You should also ask questions any time a big test day is approaching. On test review day, pay attention and ask if there are any themes or patterns that were covered during the test period. Ask the teacher to explain any terms or exercises that aren't absolutely clear to you.
How to Talk to a Teacher
Your teacher will provide contact information and let you know how he or she wants to communicate with you. If the teacher provides an email address, use it often! Be sure to be respectful in your wording, watch your grammar, and proofread before you send a message to your teacher.
If your teacher gives you his/her cell phone or home phone number, then use it, but use it sparingly. Don't be a pest, and don't call your teacher after dinnertime. Teachers have lives and they might use the evening hours to take care of family matters and to sleep!
Does your class have a web site or forum? Definitely visit those often. Many teachers update information on a web site to post study guides, homework hints, test prompts, and helpful links.