As a scholarship organisation with 110 kids in 12 schools, we get to hear about teacher troubles a lot. The reality is that over the course of your high school life, you are going to have around 30 teachers and whilst some will be great and others will not. What can you do?
Step 1: Is this just me?
Start by evaluating your own behaviour. Are you turning up to class on time? Are you neat and respectful? Are you participating in class, asking and answering questions? Do you put your best effort into your homework? If your behaviour and attitude are not up to scratch then this will affect how the teacher responds to you. Teachers are more likely to interact with students who are motivated and positive about learning. If you and your teacher are stuck in a negative cycle of interactions, it is up to you to change them. Tidy up your appearance and behaviour and see if the problem goes away.
Step 2: Or is this the teacher?
There was probably a time when you liked this subject or it made sense, sometime in the not so distant past there was a teacher who got through to you and explained things so you could understand. Think about what is different now in the way your class runs and is taught. The reality is that not every teacher will “click” with you right away.
Take some time to understand how this teacher works. TALK to your teacher. Get to know him/ her. It is easier to listen to someone you like. Teachers are unique individuals. They all have their own way of getting information across. As there is one teacher and thirty students, it is going to have to be you who adapts to the way the information is presented, your teacher can’t take into account 30 lots of individual preferences.
Don’t be too quick to make a judgement on a teacher. You might be closing your ears to what could have been a good learning experience.
Step 3: Getting some help
It is not just you, you’ve really tried with this teacher but things aren’t working. Your whole class is complaining and your class average has gone down. What can you do?
First up, you should give your teacher some feedback. Think about how you like to get feedback and follow two general guidelines.
- No one likes being compared to someone else. (I wish you were more like…)
- No one likes being put down or blamed (It is your fault that our marks are terrible)
Try for some constructive comments that are clear about what would work better like: “It would really help us if you could work some examples on the board instead of just telling us to look in our books”.
Your next option is to ask your parents for help in raising the matter with the school, probably first through your class teacher and then if needed, your grade or academic head. Your parents should check with the teacher about YOUR behaviour in class and can also ask about class averages compared to other classes. The goal of this meeting is supposed to be to create a more positive learning environment for you so lots of patience and respect is needed from both sides, so that the situation does not become worse.
Most schools are able to resolve problems between families and teachers but if the problem persists, you are going to check out part 2 of this blog for Survival Strategies!