My Teacher Doesn't Like Me Very Much

My Teacher Doesn't Like Me Very Much

By Tasha

You know the feeling: despite your best efforts, one of your teachers HATES you. What's a Sparkler to do?

Hi Tasha,
I've noticed my English teacher doesn't like me very much. I was absent one day and asked her for the worksheets I'd missed from the previous day and I kept on apologizing as she looked through her folders for it, but she didn't respond. I thanked her, and she still didn't respond. Instead, she just threw the papers onto her desk. I felt really embarrassed because I was trying to be courteous but all I got was disrespect. It's an AP English class so she told us that participation is a MUST and very important to our class. I raise my hand to read but she overlooks me and calls on some other students..

She claims that she wants to give others a chance, but she always chooses students who have already read the day before!! I also emailed her asking about an assignment but she didn't respond—and it's been over a week. She's always checking her email account and updating things on the school site so it's impossible that she hasn't read it. I feel as though she just doesn't like me. What can I do? I try to be nice and compliment her but she doesn't even say thank you...

What a tough situation. I applaud the way you've handled it so far—I would have advised this exact approach. You have given her chance after chance, and an opportunity to explain her actions, but things don’t seem to be changing much. Here is how I would proceed if you suspect a teacher may be discriminating against you or treating you unfairly.

1. Request to switch classes. If it is at all possible, I would recommend switching English classes. Your teacher has created a difficult (need I add stressful?) learning atmosphere, and you might be best served by a fresh start. If switching classes is impossible, proceed to step two.

2. Set up a meeting with your teacher. If you haven't had a private, one-on-one meeting with her, request one. This is an intimidating step, but an important one. She needs to hear how you're feeling, and she deserves a chance to correct her behavior (hey, we all behave badly sometimes, and we're all busy and stressed). You don't need to be confrontational in this meeting. Instead, say something like: "Thank you for taking the time to meet with me. This is a little awkward, but I feel like you've been mad at me, or disappointed in me. Like the other day, when I asked for the worksheets, I felt like you were angry. Is there something I can change? Did I do something to upset you?"

3. Document, document, document. If the problem persists, keep track of your interactions with this teacher and note how often you are able to “participate” in this class. Write down your exchanges with your teacher and the result of confronting her about the issue. Documentation is important in case she were to deny her behavior later on. In short, documentation is your proof that you're being mistreated.

4. Schedule an appointment with a principal or vice-principal. This is the final step if things don’t improve. It is important to attend the meeting armed with your documentation. Explain your case calmly, politely, and thoroughly to one of these administrators. They will most likely ask you questions about your teacher's behavior. They may ask to schedule a meeting with both of you, or they may meet with her individually to hear her side of things and give her a chance to explain herself.

You're in a tough spot. But you seem like a level-headed, conscientious student, and I don’t doubt that the administrators will see the situation for what it is once you explain to them your past interactions with this teacher and your steps to address it on your own. I applaud your patience and maturity. Let us know how it goes!

Got a question for Tasha? Email advice@sparknotes.com.

Topics: teachers, english

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