How to Deal with a Bad Teacher
How to Deal With a Teacher That Creeps You Out
Dealing with a teacher who makes you feel uncomfortable can be a difficult situation. Teachers are in a more powerful position than you are, and some of them may make your life unpleasant if you cross them the wrong way. Remember, have the courage to speak up if you feel something is wrong, for there may be another student in a similar situation. If the behavior is inappropriate, you can report it to school authorities. If you realize this behavior is just a personality conflict with the teacher, you can figure out some ways to make the rest of the year go smoothly.
Determining Inappropriate Behavior
Determine why they creep you out.Figure out what it is about their behavior that bothers you. Pay attention to your teacher’s behavior and your reactions to it the next time you are in class to see if there is a pattern.
- Does the teacher invade your personal space? Does the teacher make comments about your appearance? Does the teacher seem to favor you or another student in a class in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable?
- Find out if anyone else in your class is made uncomfortable by your teacher, and see if you can figure out the reason behind your discomfort. Make sure you do this away from your classroom.
Trust your instincts.It is hard sometimes to find the words for what is making you uncomfortable, but you may know on some level that the behavior isn’t right. Sometimes you can feel a tension or discomfort somewhere in your body when someone does or says something “off.” Pay attention to that feeling and do not dismiss it, even if the teacher’s behavior appears friendly.
- Attention from a teacher can be flattering. But trust your instincts. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. And if it feels off or uncomfortable in any way, it probably is.
Ensure your teacher maintains professional boundaries.While some students like it when their teacher takes on more of a “friend” role than that of a mentor or educator, understand that this is not always appropriate. While a student may push those boundaries by trying to get closer to a teacher, it is the teacher’s responsibility to enforce those boundaries.
- The teacher should not be alone with a student in a hidden area. The teacher can have a private conversation with a student with the classroom door open or while visible to other teachers and students.
- The teacher should not be friends with a student on social media, unless the account the teacher is using is a separate account for school or students.
- The teacher’s relationship to the student should be confined to school activities.
Be aware of being groomed.Grooming refers to taking interest in an individual in order to manipulate them for sexual abuse purposes. The abuser makes their target feel special, and often manipulates them with gifts or favors to maintain a level of secrecy about their relationship. This manipulates the person to stay quiet about potential abuse.
- If your teacher has taken a personal interest in you, be very wary. Do not accept gifts or favors from the teacher. Refuse to keep any secrets about your relationship. You could say to your teacher, “I’m sorry, but I don’t feel comfortable accepting this gift.”
- Talk to another adult right away if you are afraid you, or another classmate, are being manipulated by your teacher. Do not be afraid to speak up. You are not doing anything wrong by voicing your concern.
- You could say to your guidance counselor or dean, “I’m concerned about how Mrs. Jones is treating a student in class. The student seems to be getting special treatment and it’s making me feel uncomfortable.”
Be aware of power-abusing behaviors.Teachers are in a position of power over their students, which can be intimidating and make students reluctant to speak up. Certain inappropriate behaviors need to be reported to your parent, dean, or principal immediately. These include:
- Harassment of or discrimination against a student because of their race, religion, sexuality, gender, or disability.
- Unwanted physical contact (either sexual or aggressive in nature).
- Grading students on something other than their academic performance.
- Acting out in the classroom by throwing things or losing their temper.
Film or document the teacher’s inappropriate behavior.If you need evidence to support your claims, use your phone to take a video of your teacher’s behavior in class. If this is impossible (if the behavior is hard to see, or if it happens too fast for you to film it), write down all of the incidents in detail. Make sure you note the date and time of the incident.
- If there are other students in your class who have noticed your teacher’s problem behavior, ask them to keep their phones accessible to help you document incidents.
Talk to your parents.Let your parents know what you are seeing in your classroom and how it makes you feel. Discuss with your parents what you would like them to do.
- Have your parent email the teacher with their concerns. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, have them meet with the teacher. Make sure your parents stay calm during the meeting and do not approach the teacher in anger.
- If you are concerned that your parents contacting your teacher will result in repercussions for you, have your parents contact the principal. It might be a good idea to come along to the meeting if you feel comfortable, so you can describe the situation in your classroom.
Discuss your concerns with an administrator at your school.If your parents do not get involved, speak to your guidance counselor, a dean, or the principal. If you still do not feel listened to, write a letter to your school board.
- You can ask that your name not be identified to the teacher. Whether this will be honored, however, may depend on the policies of your school district.
- Explain the problem respectfully and state only the facts. Try to keep your emotions out of it. For example, saying “Mr. Esposito is horrible! He makes me sick!” doesn’t let anyone know what’s going on. Instead, say something like “Mr. Esposito has made comments to several of the girls in my class about their clothing. He told two girls their jeans were tight and another girl that her skirt was ‘too long for her.’”
Find out the next steps.Ask your school administrator what will happen after you make the report. What will happen depends on the severity of your accusation, as well as the policies your school currently has in place.
- Ask for an expected timeline. For example, “When can I follow-up with you about this conversation today? When do you expect to move forward on this?”
- Discuss how you would like to see the situation resolved. Do you want the teacher to be disciplined? Would you be comfortable in their classroom if they stopped the problem behavior? Let the administrator know what you would like to see happen.
Dealing with the Teacher in the Classroom
Try to get along with the teacher.You don’t have to like the teacher, you just have to deal with them. If you have reflected on your teacher’s behavior and you have determined it is just a personality conflict, understand that this is how life works sometimes. There will be many people in your life you have to deal with who you won’t like. Consider this practice for adulthood, when you will have to work with people you don’t like, or may have a supervisor who is unfair, or need to get along with your in-laws.
- Be civil to your teacher. Even if you don’t like them, there is no excuse to be impolite. Say please and thank you, and do not give them an attitude.
- If you want to debate the teacher in a class discussion, make sure you use a calm, warm tone of voice that does not convey anger. A good teacher will encourage classroom debate and discussion. You could say, “Mrs. Lawrence, when I read that story, I thought differently. To me, it seemed like the character….”
Focus on the bigger picture.Get motivated to be successful. What is the goal you are working toward in your education? Maybe you are working toward a career goal, or college, or excellent grades to get into an elite university. Whatever your goal, focus on how success in this class will help you to achieve it.
- Complete your assignments, study hard, and do your best in the class in spite of a personality conflict. Think of your success in their classroom as a way to not let your teacher get the better of you.
Keep your distance.Try to keep space between you and the teacher. If your teacher comes close to you, step back. An aware teacher will note your reaction and will correct their body language to make sure you are comfortable. If the teacher doesn’t, find an administrator with whom you can address your concern.
- If your teacher is talking to you too closely, take a step or two back. If the teacher moves toward you again, you could say, “I’m sorry, I’m just weird about my personal space. Could you give me some more room, please?”
See if you can switch classes.If you are still finding your classroom environment intolerable, talk to your guidance counselor about switching classes. See if you can find another teacher who teaches the same subject, or see if you can change to a different subject entirely.
- Be respectful about your problems with your teacher. You could say, “I’ve had a difficult time getting along with Mr. Roberts this year. He is a good teacher, but I think we have a personality conflict. Would it be possible to switch into Mrs. Ramos’ geometry class instead?”
QuestionHow do I deal with a creepy teacher if my parents think I am exaggerating?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerKeep bringing it up to them and tell them how serious you are about this issue. You can also talk to your school's guidance counselor, or even the principal. Make sure to be specific and tell them exactly what bothers you about the teacher.Thanks!
QuestionI've actually done all of these steps (and so have other students), but the teacher continues to work at our school without investigation. What can I do to keep our school safe from his behavior?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerReport this behavior to the police or the local school board.Thanks!
QuestionI am starting a new class tomorrow. The teacher is a male and I feel uncomfortable having a male teacher. How do I deal with it?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou're just going to have to get used to it. Remind yourself that he's just a person and you have no reason to feel intimidated or uncomfortable. Treat him respectfully like you would any other teacher. It's just a bit of a change, you'll get used to it after a few days or weeks of class.Thanks!
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