Dealing with Difficult High School Teachers

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Most students come across at least one difficult teacher throughout their high school career. Here are a few tips to help you handle the situation.
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Tips for Dealing with Difficult High School Teachers

Four different teachers a day + four years of high school = high odds that you will have at least one teacher that really rubs you the wrong way. Let's face it - difficult teachers are almost impossible to escape. Although dealing with a difficult teacher can make the school day more difficult to manage, the following tips should help you deal with even the most frustrating of instructors.

  • Kill them with kindness. Instead of being the student that whines about exams or homework, cracks sarcastic remarks during lecture or gives dirty looks at the instructor, try being the student that keeps a positive outlook and a respectful demeanor in the classroom. This could surprise your instructor into actually treating you with respect as well.
  • Be respectful. It's easy to get frustrated and snap at a teacher when he seems to be incomprehensible. You can earn brownie points by choosing an appropriate time to raise your hand, and by doing it in a respectful manner.
  • Put in some extracurricular effort. If a teacher is difficult to understand during lecture, approach him after class and ask for extra help. This will prove that you are making an effort to understand the material, and in some cases this can go a long way in the grade-book.
  • Don't start a war. It can be easy to get sucked into bad-mouthing a bad teacher. Chances are, you'll find sympathy with your classmates if you speak out against the authority. However, if word gets around (which it usually does), you don't want your name to be linked with the troublemakers of the class.
  • Keep it in perspective. If you have to spend one hour with the teacher from hell everyday, you still have twenty-three hours to not spend with them. At the end of the day, the bad instructor still has to live with themself, but you get to go home!

Crossing the Line

If you feel as if you're being singled out or if you think a teacher is crossing the line . . .

  • Keep an incident log. If a problem persists, it's important to have a documented case to bring up to a counselor or administrator.
  • Schedule a conference. It's the inverse of a parent-teacher conference. Schedule a time to sit down with your teacher and express your concerns in a polite manner. This will go a lot more easily if you have been documenting incidences. This isn't the time to bring in other students and gang up on the teacher; treat it as if you are bringing up hurts with a respected friend.
  • Tell someone. If nothing works and you feel you're being harassed, it's important for you to tell a school counselor, your parents or another administrator you feel comfortable around. High school is far too stressful on its own to throw an unsafe learning environment into the mix.

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