Some teachers suck.
I just read a story from a reader.
Her teacher gave permission for a student, “Tony” I’ll call him, to go use the restroom. Tony left the classroom. Within two minutes, the teacher was talking to another student (in front of the whole quiet classroom.)
The teacher said something like, “Yea… Tony is what we call a hopeless case. It doesn’t matter if he misses this.”
The student watching this was thinking, “WHAT!?!?”
Talk about brutal honesty from an awfully cynical teacher. What an a-hole…
That’s the kind of stuff that a certain small minority of teachers get away with everyday. (According to the reader, this teacher is having a problem because of the statement.)
I’ve watched teachers get away with this stuff myself. It sucks.
Teachers have this wonderful position of respect and authority and some teachers choose to use it for evil. :/
Here are 5 strategies for dealing with these teachers:
1. Get Away From Them
Can you switch out of their class? If yes, then do it.
Make up an excuse. I would encourage you to avoid telling the truth. If you say that a teacher is mean or rude then, most of the time, you’ll be the one they’ll think has the problem. There is very little forgiveness for honesty from students.
Just say you’re not a good fit for the class. Be vague before you use any details.
If you’re too specific, next thing you know you’ll be sitting with the teacher trying to justify your claims. Don’t fight that battle. Just try to get away without causing problems.
I know it sucks but teachers have friends in the school. You’re the student. You will always be the outsider. Get out of the classroom and move to greener pastures.
2. Minimize Interaction
If you can’t get out of the class then try to let yourself out of the class emotionally.
Don’t go above and beyond in the classroom. Don’t listen too closely if the teacher is going on a rant. Be polite but don’t ruin your day caring about what the teacher says.
You can make up for the mediocre class time with a better study routine. If practical, spend your time learning from a friend or a tutor.
One miserable class with one miserable teacher can ruin a whole day of productive classes. It’s better to just tie a tourniquet around the class and deal with it later.
3. Find Their “Thing”
Most people aren’t completely horrible people. Usually there is some redeeming quality in them somewhere.
Is your teacher a tough grader? Then at least they will be pushing you to be better.
Is your teacher rude? Then maybe they’re at least being honest.
Is your teacher boring? At least they know the subject.
Instead of focusing on the list of reasons you find the teacher miserable. Try to focus your energy on the good things about the teacher.
You may not get exactly what you want from the teacher but it’s not the teachers job to be exactly who you want them to be. That would be impossible because there are countless different expectations from countless students.
Look for whatever good you can find about the teacher.
This isn’t about making the teacher’s life easier. It’s no fun to focus on the negative stuff. By focusing on the positive qualities, you make your own life better.
4. Treat Them Professionally
Fortunately, you don’t have to be friends with your teacher.
You don’t have to like your teacher.
You just have to show up. Keep your eyes forward. And fill out some paperwork for the teacher.
Don’t get emotionally challenged by any of the classwork. Sure… you may be able to optimize your grade by getting these emotional factors involved but there are classes where you’re much better off just doing the paper.
Instead of worrying about every single point you can get. Focus on doing what you’re asked to do correctly and efficiently.
Bad teachers will cost you points.
If you’re not careful, the stress you develop from those bad teachers will start hurting your grade in other classes too.
Treat their class with respect but don’t get emotionally involved.
5. Don’t Do Anything Stupid
And NEVER EVER EVER (almost never) cause trouble for rotten teachers.
Unless the teacher is doing a blatant fireable offense and you have evidence of it, don’t start stirring up trouble. (Extreme accusations tend to get treated more seriously. I wouldn’t be scared if you had an extreme problem with the teacher. That is going off subject a bit though.)
Don’t claim the teacher hurt your grade because they don’t like you.
No one will believe you without serious evidence. If you have that evidence, you’re still going to look like the bad guy.
It doesn’t matter what’s true. It matters what you can prove.
Teachers have friends.
Students that “attack” teachers are putting their own butt on the line.
Don’t talk back to the teacher.
Don’t complain to a teacher.
Don’t complain about a teacher without serious evidence.
It’s not your responsibility to deal with bad teachers. You shouldn’t have to put your own academics at risk to metaphorically slay these dragons. If you do… don’t whine about your grade sucking. It’s your choice.
There is something I want you to keep in mind though:
There are amazing teachers out there.
There are teachers that can make learning fun and easy.
They care about their students and genuinely want what’s best for them.
Sometimes those good teachers have to do things that make student’s lives difficult.
Bad teachers are a problem. Good teachers are a blessing.
Ultimately, remember this:
It’s A Cooperative Relationship
Teachers want you to do well.
Teachers look good when you do well.
And, hell… they probably want to help you. (No one likes to do useless stuff all day. It feels good to make a difference.)
In a perfect world, this isn’t a confrontational relationship. Everyone can get what they want. Everyone can be a winner.
Your primary goal should be to keep this a cooperative relationship.
Don’t let a few bad apples ruin your good opinion of most teachers.
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