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I have an issue with my teacher, but they are also my advisor. Who do I talk to?

I totally understand your dilemma! Generally, you should talk to your advisor if an issue arises with another faculty member, but in this situation, it may feel too confrontational.

 With that said, whether they are your advisor or not, every teacher wants to help enhance your student  experience. I would recommend approaching this situation as if your advisor was any other teacher. You may bring an issue to your advisor’s attention, but ultimately, it is you who talks directly to a teacher when there is an issue. Moreover, the fact that they are your advisor should make the conversation easier. Advisors can be even more supportive than other teachers as they know you better. 

However, if a more extreme scenario arises, there are many people to turn to. Fortunately, the support system at Heachel extends beyond your teachers and advisors. Administration members such as Bonnie Altman, Rabbi Dahlia Kronish, Rabbi Noam Silverman, and others are happy to help you problem-solve. Additionally, department heads can offer support on how to address concerns regarding individual teachers. 

How should I approach my teacher if I think their grading is unfair? 

Firstly, you should never be afraid to meet with a teacher. Faculty members are happy to talk about anything class-related with the ultimate goal of helping you learn. That being said, grades can be a tentative topic. While talking to a teacher, you want to avoid being aggressive and attacking their grading system, which is undoubtedly challenging when you are upset or worried.

Rather than immediately asking your teacher to raise your grade, try to approach the conversation with a desire to understand why they gave you the grade they did. Ask how you can improve and about the criteria they used to grade you. If, after a thoughtful conversation, you still disagree with their grading, tell them! Explain why you deserve a better grade and outline specifically what you excelled in on that assignment. Try and reference a rubric or checklist they gave you. 

If your teacher refuses to listen, talk to the department head or your advisor. Sometimes teachers are, in fact, too strict. In other situations, you may have to accept a lower grade than you would like, and in the future, meet with that teacher before the assignment is due to ensure an improved grade. 

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