What To Do When You Do NOT Like Your Teacher

Date Posted Dec 05 2017   Filed Under Education    Tags education, students, teaching, learning, minnesota, high school, homeworks for students, tutors


The bad news? Personality clashes, both large and small, will definitely happen - at school, at work, and in other daily activities. The good news? Learning how to handle them well is one of the handiest superpowers you can develop. Here are a few things to think about when you feel in conflict with a teacher.

  • Know that differences of personality are very common. Maybe you’re an organizational champion and your teacher takes a laid back approach. Maybe you’re a procrastinator facing lots of small project deadlines. Find ways to make your skills match up with your instructor’s classroom expectations. For instance, if you find yourself craving more structure in a laid back classroom, pair up with a classmate to be accountability buddies or ask a parent, tutor, or even your teacher for some help breaking down the task.

  • Be honest with yourself. Is struggling with the material making you feel like your teacher is the enemy?  Did a rocky score on a test or feedback on a recent paper make you feel stupid? Your teacher is an easy target for frustration and it’s tempting to blame them when things aren’t making sense. Do your best to be honest with yourself - and if you’re having a rough time with your literary analysis and taking it out on your English teacher - try to cut them a break.

  • Remember that your teacher is a person too. No really, they’re totally a person just like you. I mean, we teachers might be adults, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t feel stupid, spill our coffee just before the bell rings, have bad days, and still struggle to do the best job we can every day. Developing a sense of empathy for your teachers (as well as your fellow students) can make it easier to relate, even to teachers who aren’t on your wavelength.

But what if you and a teacher really, really, REALLY don’t get along? Like it or not, sometimes personalities just clash. Read on, my friend. Read on.

  • Communicate Effectively. Even if you and your teacher don’t get along, you still need to meet the requirements for the course. Make sure you understand what your instructor wants and expects. If you have questions, make sure to ask them! Choose a form of communication that plays to your strengths. If you feel rushed when you ask questions in person, writing an email allows you more time to compose your thoughts. In contrast, if you have trouble getting your point across in writing, maybe it’s easier to ask your instructor in person. Just be sure to make sure that you and your instructor have enough time to discuss the question. If you’re running to catch the bus, emailing about an assignment the night before it’s due, or your teacher is frantically preparing for the next class, it’ll be tough to ask an effective question.

  • Focus on the material. When you feel a clash of personalities, it can be hard to ask questions. But keeping your focus on the material and not the instructor can help you feel more confident. If you’re struggling with a topic or problem, it can help to give your instructor specific examples of what you understand and what you don’t. It can help them give you the information you need, even if you’re not getting along well.

  • Get help if you need it. If your difficulties with a teacher are really making it hard for you to be in class, you can and should ask for help. Your guidance counselor might be able to help you find ways to talk with your teacher in a productive way, work through conflict, and come out on the other side.

Remember, personality conflicts crop up in daily life all the time. Just because you and your instructor aren’t seeing eye to eye doesn’t mean that you can’t make it through the class and even excel in it. It just means you’ll have to practice some effective communication, empathy, and hone that “dealing with personality conflict” superpower.