The Art of the Strategic Suck-up

Last updated on November 27, 2017

Okay, to heck with everyone else, you say, I WANT A GOOD GRADE! Now what do I do?

First, you’ve got to get your head in the right place and looking at that teacher with the right perspective. The teacher is not the enemy, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Think of that teacher as a member of the fraternity or sorority you want to join, or the one that’s doing the hiring for that job you really want, or—to a mild extent—that guy or girl you have a crush on. What do they all have in common?

  • You would be nice to all of those people and you would probably laugh or at least attempt a sincere smile at their jokes, even if it was really lame.
  • You would say “Hi, how’s it going?” if you passed them on campus or around town, or you would at least give them a nod and a friendly smile.
  • You would make eye contact when they were talking to you, unless of course the guy or girl was so hot that you couldn’t maintain eye contact without turning every shade of oh-my-god-I-know-I’m-blushing. But how often is a teacher that hot?

Is it really that simple? Sure. Teachers are people too, and they respond the same way most people do; they remember the people who are nice to them, especially when they just attempted a witty joke that bombed and almost nobody thought it was funny. They also remember the people who aren’t so nice to them, just the way we do.

For the really shy or too cool, there are ways of getting the suck-up benefit without even having to do anything. As part of the strategic suck-up, here’s what you probably don’t want to do and stuff you probably wouldn’t do if the teacher was one of those people that you wanted to like you.

  • You probably wouldn’t glare at them with death ray eyes because it’s exactly the moment that class ended and the teacher is still finishing their last couple of sentences.
  • You probably wouldn’t be late to meet them or for a date.
  • You probably wouldn’t turn to your friend and start whispering while they were talking to you.

Of course, you can really pull out the stops and make sure that teacher will think of you favorably simply by doing the work and then showing the teacher that you are doing the work when they ask the class a question. But that’s not for everybody.

At the bare minimum, think of class as a date: show up on-time and smiling, and show that you’re listening to them when they’re talking. It all helps.


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