The ABCs of Succeeding in High School: A Student’s Guide to Getting What You Want from Your Teacher

Hello, high school students, and welcome to class!

My goal is to help you succeed in our course and, ultimately, in life. I have dedicated myself to your progress as a student and as a person, but despite my 100% commitment, you will need to meet me at least halfway. I understand that some of you hail from less than stellar circumstances, and some of you do not have a support system at home. The good news is that everyone is created equal in my classroom and I’m a fantastic cheerleader. I love my job and want to help you overcome any obstacle that stands in the way of your education, which, by the way, is currently free. Word on the street is that if you dive into this thing now, future academic endeavors may be paid for by a third-party. Awesome, right?

So let’s get this party started. Today’s lesson was designed with you in mind, and by following these tips, you are ensuring your success. Or at least that I won’t hate you.

ABCs of Succeeding in HS

Always ask questions and voice your concerns (about course content, not a yeast infection <— that really happened). I’m here to help, but you have to tell me what you need. And if what you need is a gynecologist and/or to keep your pants on, for the love of GOD shut up.

Be proactive. If you know you’re going to miss class, give me a heads up. If you’re going to be out on a week’s vacation to Disney World because your parents didn’t get the memo that Mickey is available June – August, you’re taking all of your work to the Magic Kingdom.

C-Rules, as in The Rules of the 4-Cs:

a. Cursing: don’t do it. One of you submitted an essay with the title “Fuck This” emblazoned in 46-point font on the title page. Aside from the obvious (it should have been italicized and not in quotes), the use of an F-bomb is generally frowned upon. I’m as liberal as they come, so if I’m saying it, you know it must be real talk.

b. Capitalization: unlike cursing, i encourage this practice.

c. Communication: I’m sure your mother is a very nice person; however, I do not wish to spend all of my free time on the phone with her. Especially if she is an ignorant bitch which, consequently, is often the case. You will earn respect by fending for yourself instead of sourcing out all those dirty jobs like talking to a human being.

d. Cheating: another no-no, but not for the reasons you think. Sure it’s dishonest, can be a form of stealing, blahblahblah. But do you have any friggin’ idea how long it takes me to straighten that shit out? I’ve got to find the original source (including hyperlinks in your final draft is helpful, and I thank those of you are committed to this practice), make copies of the original and your work to give to my principals and your helicopter nightmare of a parent who, despite the glaring evidence, will blame me for “making you feel the need to cheat,” and then I’ve got to give you another chance. I don’t so much mind the latter, as life is about second chances. Let’s read that sentence again: …life is about SECOND CHANCES. Not third, sixth, or fifteenth chances. Yet, I’m professionally bullied into enabling you. If you’ve submitted the same essay four different times plagiarized four different ways, and included a hand-written note that reads, “This was really tough but I did my best!”, you’re obviously headed for a career scraping carrion off of the freeways; why should I bother reviewing proper MLA formatting with you? In sum, I’m busy. Don’t cheat, mmmmkay?

And because you’re always looking for some extra credit, I’ve added a bonus portion at the end of our list:

Don’t be a dickhead. This is an invaluable piece of advice, yet some of you don’t heed its weighty benefits.

There you have it, The ABCs of Succeeding in High School. I wish you all the best and remember: I’m here to help. Go get’m, tiger.

Author Signature


  1. If the children are our future, we are so doomed. The future of humanity is in peril.

    • Doomed and peril are a bit harsh; I prefer challenged and downward spiral.

      All snark aside, there are some FABULOUS students out there–don’t worry, there is hope!

  2. Christie says:

    Oh, if only I had a teacher like you in high school! I might have actually showed up a little more often! ;)

    • Bahahahaha! I actually loved my job and had some really fantastic students, it’s just that they didn’t work my nerves into a tizzy and force blog posts outta me!

  3. “Don’t be a dickhead.” LOL! I love it. Stephanie for Teacher of the Year! :D

  4. Oh Stephanie! I have no idea how you do it! I’m just sitting here trying to imagine what it would take to figure out if someone has plagiarized let alone finding the original source. What a pain in the butt! Are these kids in a classroom during the day and just taking an online course from you??

    • Yeah, it’s basically a time-sucker. I tell the students not to cheat for that reason!!!!!! I only have online students at this point, but some of them are in a traditional classroom with a teacher there to help; others are at home; others are in jail…

  5. I would like to print these and hang them outside my door…

  6. I think, in particular, high school teachers have a direct path to Heaven or Day Spas or Other good places were saintly people end up.

  7. Kristen Daikas says:

    Oh Steph!!! I need a post like this for Ten to Twenty!!! Love it!!!

  8. This is fantastic! Now I know what to teach my kids before they get too much farther… (Kindergarten now). Although, I did have to school my boys how NOT to lie to their teacher.. link below. They each wrote an apology letter.

  9. Psst . . . seriously I’m not the grammar police but I just have to ask if you didn’t capitalize the I after telling about the capitalization on purpose or not. :) No . . . seriously, did you do that on purpose?

    LOVE it!!!

  10. I love this post. I fear for our future because our current generation lacks the ability to respect, work hard, and learn with any gusto.

  11. Ugh! I don’t know how you deal with all of this on a daily basis. My brother is a teacher and I get so enraged with the stories he tells me about his principals and deans and the ridiculous things they say to him.

    He had one kid he sent to the principal’s office for being difficult, and as he was walking the kid to the principal, the kid told him to eff off.

    He told the principal, and went back to his class. The principal then called my brother and said the kid said he didn’t tell my brother to eff off, and the principal was acting like he believed the kid.
    WHAT?! Why would my brother make that up? He has no incentive. It’s more work for him.

    You’re a stronger woman than I am. I would not be willing to give a second chance if someone cheated. Hence, why I’m a lawyer and not a teacher! :-)

    • Your brother and I should have drinks. I mean, with my husband present because I’m not tryin’ to hit on another man, I’m just saying we could chat.

      I’m leaving now…

  12. Personally I think teachers deserve a medal for all that they put up with including parents who insist on blaming the teacher rather than little Johnny. Hysterical post…and yet at the same, not. :)

    • You’re right: it’s funny, but so…not. There are A LOT of great students; they just don’t entice as much blog fodder outta me ;)

  13. This must all be very frustrating for you, and for our society and stuff, but those little dipshits are pure comedy. You are so lucky to have access to all of these great stories!

  14. Jumpin' Jack Flash says:

    I laughed quite heartily upon reading about the ignorant bitch of the mother comment….HA! True in most cases. The world (at the least the USA) is changing rapidly. I remember my first superintendent 12-years ago standing in front of all the teachers on the 1st inservice day. He would always say, “students have the right to fail your class.” Old-school Vince Lombardi lover type of guy that insisted kids EARN their grades. No pressure to pass little Timmy because he suffers from depression and his dad is a crack head. If a superintendent had that attitude today, he would probably be fired. We aren’t helping the kids by passing them when they didn’t earn it. We are hurting them and doing them and the tax-payer a great disservice.

    • I appreciate the old-school mentality, but you should probably be a *bit* more sensitive to the topic of depression and crack head parents…

  15. As a teacher myself, I can’t agree more…especially on the cheating! That sends me over the edge! Great, honest post!

  16. You forgot N: Name- put your NAME on your freaking paper!! I love you and think you are awesome but that does not mean i have memorized your handwriting or I am able to decipher it is your paper based on your highly intellectual discussion. Help a girl out, people, and put your NAME on the paper.

    • My husband actually makes students sing for their work if they forget to put their names on it! The kiddos are usually pretty amused and some of them really shine…until a parent called and threaten to have my husband’s job if he continued to “humiliate” the students. Let’s take ALL of the fun out of education, shall we?

  17. Ahahaha! I love this. I am also a high school teacher, and dear GOD, they drive us to some crazy places, don’t they?

  18. Don’t be a dickhead should be written on the chalk board of every classroom from 8th grade on!!


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