Communication: Learning how to ask for help

This week’s featured photo is of Helen, Georgia, a place I am looking forward to visiting sometime soon! According to the city’s website Helen, Georgia is the state’s “third most visited city” (http://www.helenga.org/) despite only have 430 residents! Wow! Located in  White County the city is viewed as a little slice of Bavaria or Germany right here in our state. Please comment in the blog comment box below any suggestions of fun things to do for those of us who still haven’t experienced Helen.

Communication: Learning how to ask for help

Have you ever heard the phrase “communication is key” and thought what in the world does that mean? It literally means that communicating is the key to solving most of the problems we face in our daily lives. Check out all of the times communicating can help you solve issues that are plaguing you:

  • Upset or uncomfortable with how your roommate has been treating you? Talk about it!
  • Feeling sick or not like yourself? Talk about it!
  • Need help understanding the terms of your loan? Talk about it!
  • Stressed due to your hours at work? Talk about it!
  • Moving out of your house and not sure what you need to do to keep your security deposit? Talk about it!
  • You need help reaching out to a teacher or professor but you don’t know what to say?Talk about it!!

As you can see solving issues you may be facing really is as simple as doing one simple thing, talking!

Communicating about YOUR Academics: But who I do talk too?

Because there are so many awesome resources put in place to support you sometimes knowing who to talk about certain issues can be confusing for students. Please download and look at the graphic below to learn about all of the great things in place to help YOU succeed. 

Communication Slide

I will break down the resources that are available to you and what you can expect from each resource below 🙂

  1. GAC Counselor– Your GAC professional school counselor is your GO-TO source for all things relating to credits, transcripts, class schedules, and college and career readiness. In addition, anytime you need someone to vent to about how you are feeling, the counselor is your go-to person for that as well. If you are confused about why you are enrolled in a certain course ask your counselor for a phone call. If you would like to see how many credits you have earned and how many you still need to earn to graduate,  ask your counselor for this information. Your counselor can also explain post-secondary processes to you such as preparing for a job interview, writing a resume, applying for college, and how to fill out financial aid. Your counselor LOVES being able to answer your questions and assisting you with finding ways to deal with the curveballs life can throw at you, but we ask that you give your counselor 24-48 hours to respond to all phone calls and emails.
  2. GAC Center Leader- Each of our physical centers has a center leader, the YCA sites have a partnership manager, and the virtual students have a Virtual Manager (me). Your GAC Center Leader is your GO-TO source for assistance connecting with other resources. If you are unsure who to reach out to about an issue (hopefully you won’t be after this blog post 😉 ) reach out to your center leader. If you are having an issue getting a response or support from any other person on this list your center leader is the person you should contact. In addition, your center leader can provide you with additional supports such as helping you pace yourself in your classes and can provide you with additional tools and opportunities to make the most of your experience at GACHS. Your center leader loves to help remove obstacles for you and provide you with resources whenever you are in a bind, but we ask that you give your center leader 24-48 hours to respond to all phone calls and emails.
  3. Edgenuity Teachers– Your Edgenuity teachers are your GO TO source any time you feel as though you need more assistance academically. If you feel like you need one on one tutoring for various concepts, contact your Edgenuity teacher to schedule a blackboard session or attend their virtual study hall. Your Edgenuity teachers can also assist you in providing supplementary materials to assist you in better understanding your coursework. Your teachers LOVE to hear from you, but we ask that you give them 24-48 hours to respond to all phone calls and emails so they can do the best job of creating a personalized plan of support to help you learn.
  4. Edgenuity Success Coach-Your Edgenuity success coach is your GO-TO source for anything related to Edgenuity. If you need an in-depth explanation of how to utilize any Edgenuity resource, talk to your coach! Your coach can also help you figure out the best way to reach a particular Edgenuity teacher and provide you with ideas to help you enhance your learning experience. Your coaches love it when they get to check in with you, but we ask that you give them 24-48 hours to answer any phone calls or emails from you. 
  5. FEV Tutor– Whenever you log onto FEV tutor via the website gac.fevtutor.com you will be connected with a tutor who is tasked with helping you in the specific course, unit, and lesson you select. This resource really is incredible and can be used in a multitude of ways. To learn more about FEV tutor please refer to my post on this wonderful tool which features a live session video made by Ms. Kelsea. Anytime you have an issue with FEV tutor, please contact their support team at gac@fevtutor.com. For larger requests, we ask that you give the folks at FEV tutor 24-48 hours to respond to your phone calls or email.
  6. Other– There are other various support systems in place for groups of students. These include special education services, 504 planning services, ESOL services, graduation coach guidance and support, and the math teachers available through CatchUp Math. If you are interested in learning more about any of these resources please contact your GAC Center Leader and she or he can provide you with additional information 🙂 

Tips for Effective Written Communication

Below read my tried and true tips to ensure that whoever you are attempting to contact can answer any question you may have or provide you with any information you are seeking quickly and effectively.:)

  • Customize your Subject Line– I have seen a lot of my former students use subject lines like “hey” or “help” when writing their teachers or counselor. While whoever you are writing to will still check an email with subject lines like these, they do nothing to increase the effectiveness of your email. In fact, an email with a subject line like this may even be pushed to the bottom of someone’s list because someone else who is customizing their subject line has gotten their attention 🙂 Below are some specific purposes/issues that students commonly need help with and an appropriate custom subject line that would get the attention of those you are sending these emails to 🙂
    • Purpose/Issue: Help on an assignment in a course Custom Subject Line: Assistance on Supply and Demand Graphs in Economics
    • Purpose/Issue: Changing your address or phone number on file Custom Subject Line:  New Address or Phone Number for (First letter of your first name and entire last name)  J. Smith
    • Purpose/issue-Questions about the credits you need to graduate Custom Subject Line: High School credits still needed for (First letter of your first name and entire last name) J. Smith.

Taking the time to customize your subject line provides the person receiving your email with all of the important information to help them solve YOUR issue more quickly. How cool is that? Just by taking a few extra minutes to create a subject line that states what you need you can actually get a quicker response to your question or issue. 

THERE IS ONE EXCEPTION TO CUSTOMIZING YOUR SUBJECT LINE. If you have private information you need to discuss with your teacher or counselor NEVER put this on the subject line. It is actually best to request a phone call for this type of communication. Not sure how to do that? Simple! Title your subject line Sensitive Information Discussion Request. In your email simply ask whoever you need to speak with for a phone call to discuss some private information. 🙂

  • Keep your email brief but be specific The best way to get a quick response to an issue you are having is to be brief in what it is you need. By including a long narrative (story) about what is plaguing you, you are actually hindering the solution process since it will take someone a longer amount of time to read and respond to a long email. Be brief in your email and just like you should be in your subject line, be specific. Instead of saying I need help in math in an email reword the message to read: I need assistance understanding how to work with some of the mathematic formulas in my Advanced Algebra B class. 
  • Be polite- It is very easy to send an email that comes off as rude or impolite especially if you are stressed. Often times we won’t even realize we are sending an email like this because we are writing how we would talk. However, any time you have any sort of written correspondence you need to take extra care to use pleasant phrases in your emails like “please” and “thank you” in order to help make sure you don’t come off as seeming like you are agitated or don’t care. Displaying etiquette in your emails shows the person you are sending your message to that you appreciate their help. This can also assist you in receiving a quicker response than if you sent an email that could be considered rude or snippy. 

Final Remarks

In any relationship, communication is important to keeping everyone on the same page and functioning at peak performance. Your relationship with your school work and with those who care about your academic performance is no different! Giving yourself the best opportunity to quickly solve problems can be boiled down to knowing how to do two things

  1. Knowing the right person to approach to help a particular issue
  2. Knowing how to express the issue you are having in a brief and specific yet polite manner.

I hope that after reading this post you know have a better idea of how to do both of those things, but if not you can always reach out to me for more assistance! My next post will be on managing stress and will post in three weeks after Spring Break on April 12th. See you then 🙂

Sources Used

Featured Image- http://www.exploregeorgia.org/blog/helen

Helen, GA Quote-http://www.helenga.org/

 

 

 

 

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