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Asking for Help in the Teaching Profession

Janelle Cox

Requesting assistance when in need is something that many of us struggle with in the teaching profession. In a society where you can Google just about anything to find out the answer, or go to any blog or bookstore and browse the self-help section, why is it still so hard to ask for help? There are many reasons people fear asking for assistance in the teaching profession, primarily because they don’t want to look incompetent to their colleagues. They think if they ask for help, then they look weak, and looking weak and incapable is not something that anyone wants to be known for. Even the most-experienced and confident teachers don’t know everything. They, too, have questions and need answers. Like a lot of others in the teaching profession, the veterans started out nervous and anxious to ask for help, but throughout years they realized that the only way to face a challenge is to walk right through it. If that means asking for help, then they’ll do it.

Reaching Out for Help

Asking for help is never easy, in fact it can be downright nervewracking. But reaching out for help will get you the help and answers that you need. When you don’t know what you are doing, instead of torturing yourself and completing something that you don’t understand, ask for help. When you have too much on your plate, instead of getting buried alive in your work, ask for some assistance. When you make a mistake, instead of sweeping it under the rug (which can make the problem worse), tell someone, so they can help you. When you need some insight or someone’s expertise, don’t hesitant to ask for the advice of someone, because you’ll be able to greatly benefit from their knowledge.

Teachers Helping Their Fellow Teachers

There is no denying the fact that when you are a first-year teacher you will have questions. Even if you have been teaching for a while, you will have questions. If your school doesn’t have a mentoring program, then you must seek out your own mentor. Many veterans are happy to take on a mentoring role because they’ve been in your shoes, and know how you feel. You want to find someone that has been in the profession for quite some time and who knows the ropes; Someone who you can openly address your concerns with and freely speak your mind.

Veteran teachers have questions too, and also need to ask for help from time to time. But if they are the expert, then whom are they supposed to ask for help? This is where it’s important to have that colleague who you can go to for anything and won’t feel judged. Building a rapport and strong relationship with your coworkers can take some time. It can be intimidating at first, but once you do it, they can provide you will the emotional support that can help you through your career. Talk to your colleagues at lunchtime, during breaks, and at your teacher meetings. Get to know how they teach and what their educational philosophy is. The closer you get, the easier it will be for you to ask for their help.

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In short, asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but actually a sign of competency. People won’t perceive you as weak if you need to assistance, they will see you as self-aware and with great strength. It means that you are self-assured enough to know when it’s time to call in the reinforcements. The next you have a question, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Do you think asking for help makes you look incompetent in the teaching profession? What is your view on this topic? Please share your thoughts and expertise in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.