Dislike Your Teacher?

If you feel that you hate your teacher, you can’t just walk out of the class. You’re stuck for at least the rest of the semester, which can seem like forever if your feelings are affecting your schoolwork, your attitude toward school, or just making you generally uptight.


If you’ve got a problem like this, we’re glad you called us. First, we’re going to ask you to figure out why you hate your teacher. Then we’ll suggest how this information might help you get out of a situation that could be very bad for you.

We asked a number of kids who have had some real problems with teachers what their gripes were. The same things were mentioned again and again. Maybe one or more of these reasons apply to your situation, too.

They complained about teachers who pick on you and seem to get their kicks out of putting you down or embarrassing you in front of others to make an example of you. Or, teachers who have one or two favorites, which is unfair to everyone else and can really tick you off. Then, there are teachers who run their classrooms like dictators they’re always right and you’re always wrong. They give you the impression that they really don’t like kids at all. Some teachers give unfair tests, or grade unfairly, or demand papers and projects they never even look at after you turn them in. This can really turn you off to school and make you stop trying.

There’s another reason for hating a teacher, and that’s if he or she is giving you bad grades. If you don’t deserve the poor grades you’re getting, you’ve got a right to feel bad. But if you’re doing poor work, and your grades reflect it, then saying you hate your teacher is probably a cop out.

If you can pin down the reason you hate your teacher, it’ll be easier for you to figure out what to do about it. But before we suggest some things you can do, we’re going to ask you to look at the situation from another angle. How does your behavior contribute to your problems with your teacher? Maybe you do and say things that really upset him, like always handing in your work late, or cutting up in class. Your teacher may react to this by consciously or unconsciously doing things that may give you reason to hate him. This kind of thing can go back and forth until the situation becomes unbearable for both of you. Maybe this is what is happening between you and your teacher. If so, you may have to be the one to change before your teacher will. Stop what you’re doing that seems to get a negative response, and the teacher will probably stop treating you badly, too.

What if you can honestly say that there’s nothing wrong with your behavior and attitude? That your teacher just plain does things that cause you to hate her? If that’s so, and if your feelings are seriously affecting your school work or emotional health, you should do something before this problem becomes even worse.

If you think that your teacher is not aware of how you’re feeling, the first thing you should do is talk to him or her and explain what’s going on. There’s really nothing the teacher can do to change his behavior toward you unless he knows that it’s bothering you. You may get results this way.

If nothing happens after you talk to your teacher, ask your parents to make an appointment for you and them to meet with the teacher. First explain to them exactly what’s going on. This is why it’s important that you know exactly why you feel the way you do. A general, “I don’t know why I hate her, I just do,” isn’t going to convince them of anything.

If talking to the teacher yourself doesn’t work, and seeing him with your parents doesn’t work, there’s something else you might try That’s to have your parents contact the principal and ask for a meeting at which all of you will be present — the teacher, you and your parents, and the principal. That way, everyone who’s involved can hear what’s being said, and what promises are made to deal with the problem.

Suppose you don’t want to get your parents involved, or they refuse. Then you can see a school counselor, social worker, or psychologist and explain in detail how your feelings about your teacher are affecting your work and your attitude toward school. They will not automatically take the teacher’s side against yours. They will try to help you because their primary job is to look after your academic and emotional well being. They’ll look for a solution to your problem, even if it means counseling sessions for you and the teacher, or having you switch classes.

We’ve talked about what you can do if your hatred for a teacher is making you uptight, unable to cope, or turning you off to school. First, figure out why you feel this way. Make sure that you don’t hate the teacher because he’s giving you poor grades. Also, look closely at your attitudes and actions. Are you doing or saying things that upset your teacher? If so, stop what you’re doing, and your teacher will probably stop what he is doing that upsets you.

Try talking to the teacher about your feelings. If that doesn’t get results, have your parents see the teacher with you. As a last resort, you can have your parents contact the principal to set up a meeting. If you don’t want your parents involved, see someone in the counseling office.

Teachers are professionals. This means that they should be able to do their work without letting their feelings get in the way. But, teachers are also human beings with the same likes and dislikes and personal problems that we all have. If some of these things show up in the way they teach, or the way they treat their students, it can lead to a bad classroom situation. If you hare having a serious problem with a teacher, it can be real hassle. That’s why we suggest that you do something about it before it really messes up your head and totally turns you off to school. Try some of the things we’ve suggested.


For additional support and resources please call our 24-hour Teen Hotline by dialing 2-1-1 or 954-567-8336 (TEEN.)

Teen Tapes is produced by the University of Wisconsin, Madison.