Ask Seniors: Dealing with Teachers


John Kirages

“If you don’t agree or get along with a teacher, how do you approach the situation?”

-A.S., freshman

Dear A.S.,

Everyone has been there, stuck with a teacher that you just can’t deal with. The simple thought of going to their class makes you close your eyes, set your head down on your desk, and groan, dreading the 45 minutes of torture headed your way. However, it is possible to survive this most horrid of fates.

There are two options for anyone in this situation: run away or address the difference in opinion. First of all, running away is not necessarily a bad solution. It takes very little work to email your counselor to set a meeting, walk down to the counselor’s office, and politely ask to be rescued. If you’re lucky, you can just switch into the same class taught by another teacher. Problem solved. Unfortunately, that’s not always an option. Maybe there is no other teacher for the class, or maybe you’d rather stay in a class with your friends. In that case, you need to find a way to work with your teacher.

If you’ve decided to stay in your class, the first rule is to not make things worse. Snapping at your teacher, being rude, and acting like you hate the class are sure-fire ways to make your situation 10 times worse. The age-old adage “let sleeping dogs lie” works best here. Ensure that your teacher doesn’t have reason to be upset with you.

Next, try to make the teacher feel as if you care about the class; show interest in what you are learning. Nobody wants to feel that they are wasting their time, so asking questions, doing all of your homework, and studying hard for tests will demonstrate that you care. It may be irritating pretend that you care when all you want to do is stare off into space, but this is the best way to show appreciation for your teacher.

Finally, as with pretty much anyone else, have meaningful conversations that have nothing to do with the class. People love to talk about themselves, so ask your teacher about college, family, or what they do in their free time. Being a genuinely friendly person to your teacher can, big surprise, result in you becoming friends with them — shocking, I know. If there are issues that you and your teacher disagree on, then ensure that they understand your point of view. Friendships are based on mutual understanding and respect; hence, being respectful to your teacher, trying to understand their perspective, and making it easier for them to understand you will all make for a better student-teacher relationship.

Having a teacher with whom you don’t get along can make it nearly impossible to succeed in a class. You won’t want to do your homework or study and you might start to despise the material itself. Whichever solution you choose whether you join another class or decide to address the disconnect between you and your teacher do so quickly, as you don’t want your grade to slip too far as a result of your issues with the teacher.

Good luck,

The Seniors