So, your teacher hates you. Or at least that is what it feels like every time you sit down in class. Having a rough relationship with your teacher can be detrimental to your learning, and can have a long lasting impact on your grades and academic performance throughout the year. If you feel like you and your teacher aren’t on the best of terms, here are a few things you can do to improve your relationship, and in turn improve your experience in class.
Take a Walk- In your teacher’s shoes, that is. Take a second and take an outsider’s perspective on the class. If a stranger were to stand at the back of the classroom during a typical day, what would they see? Would they see certain kids giving the teacher a hard time or disrupting the class? Would they see a teacher who is trying to deal with 20+ kids who don’t take the material seriously? Is the teacher dealing with a lack of supplies or uncomfortable working conditions? Try to consider what it must feel like to be responsible for a classroom full of students, and then imagine what it is like when those students make doing your job impossible. Being able to relate to people is a skill you will use for your entire life, and will greatly improve your future relationships, both professional and personal. Remember, your teacher is human too.
Respect The Classroom Rules: By following the rules of the classroom, you are showing your teacher that you are taking the class seriously and that you respect him/her. Be on time, avoid packing up your things five minutes before class is over, avoid talking to your friends during lecture time, take notes, participate and do your work. This is your responsibility as a student, and can help relieve the tension your teacher may have towards you. If you are struggling with the classroom material, ask the teacher for some help one-on-one. As hard as it may be to spend extra time with someone who has been less than pleasant with you, you’d be surprised at how willing teachers are to share their knowledge with their students. However, don’t use this as a way to suck up. If you don’t need the help, don’t pretend like you do. That could just lead to more problems.
Be Humble, Honest, and Open: If you feel that your teacher’s aggression or negative attitude is directed towards you specifically and you honestly don’t know why, ask the teacher if you can stay after class (or a time that is convenient for him/her) to ask a few questions. When you have this one on one time, use phrases like “I feel like you don’t like me and I’m not sure why. Is there something that I did or that I can work on?” This is easier said than done, especially when you feel as you’ve been a target for no apparent reason, but asking your teacher about his/her feelings towards you may open up a line of communication that was closed before. Your teacher may not realize he/she was treating you a certain way, or there may be something you did unintentionally that rubbed your teacher the wrong way. If so, you can immediately clear up any misconceptions. If necessary and appropriate, you can apologize and clear the air.
Document: If following the rules, empathizing with the teacher and an attempt to communicate don’t lead anywhere and you feel that your teacher is still targeting you, write down the incidents so you have examples to provide to parents and authorities when it is time to get them involved. Don’t make a big scene about writing down the offenses, just jot down the date, time and brief description of what was done or said so you can refer back to it if needed
Get Parents Involved: Unfortunately, there is only so much you can do as a student when it comes to dealing with a teacher. After exhausting all of your options, your last option may be to get your parents involved. Provide your parents with the detailed documentation and examples so they can arrange a meeting with the teacher and have this to refer back to. Hopefully your parents can get the issue resolved without having to go to the principal. However, a meeting with a principal or other school authority figure may also be an option.
Remember to take a good long look at yourself, your behavior, and your contribution to the class when evaluating why a teacher may be focused on you in a negative light. Make changes when necessary, it’ll only help YOU in the long run. A year is a long time to spend in a classroom that makes you unhappy or uncomfortable. Adjust your attitude if needed, and chances are your teacher will adjust his or hers.