Tip Jar: Using Those Teacher Comments

How you can use faculty comments to your advantage in each and every class

On Oct. 17, Berkeley teachers released their first round of biannual comments, one for each student in each class.  While almost any Berkeley teacher will tell you that they spend hours writing comments for their classes, it may be tempting to ignore them entirely, especially if you’re doing well in the class.


But to ignore these comments could be a detriment to your understanding of the teacher and the class. Upperclassmen recommend reading teacher comments, for they often put in information about how the class will progress or how you can improve in the class.  These words can be especially crucial as the end of the semester approaches and the window for improving grades diminishes.  


“A lot of teachers will put one or two things that you should pay attention to that they think you’re lacking on,” said Aimee Laxer ’19, who emphasized that teachers work hard to put detail into each comment.  “Take [a] little piece of input and use it.”


Laxer has even used her own advice when striving to improve her math grade.  “In my comments [the teacher] put certain chapters I should probably review–that was really useful.”

Emma Edmund
ACCESSING YOUR TEACHER COMMENTS: You can access your teacher comments under the “My Day” section of MyBerkeley, under the tab “Progress.” Your comments can then be seen as a report card.

If you’re a busy student, comments can also be a fast track to improving in a class without spending time figuring out what you’re doing wrong.  “I think it’s good to know what the teachers think you’re doing well, so you can continue doing that, and what they think you need to improve on,” said Melinda Lu ’19, whose activities include playing basketball, softball and fulfilling her duties as Secretary of Student Forum.


Lu also said that if you don’t understand something in a comment, you should meet with your teacher to make sure you understand all of the comments.  These meetings can be a great way to build a strong relationship with your teacher for the remainder of the school year.

Not only do comments help build relationships with teachers, but they provide a starting point for discussions about school with your parents.  “It’s a better communication between your teachers, your parents and you because it offers insightful help that you might not get otherwise,” said Jackson Meyer ’18.  Laxer also commented on the subject, and said that many comments highlight your strengths in a class, and that you could use them to reassure your parents that you are working hard in your class.


No matter what you do with the comments, the upperclassmen said, you should always read them.  “A lot of kids will just ignore them,” said Laxer.  “But it’s kind of insulting to teachers because they do spend a lot of time on them.”  

Do you want advice?  Email [email protected] for requests.