PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
My Teacher Hates Me: Why Does This Happen?

You've thought hard about your teacher's actions, and even considered your own behavior, and it still really seems like this teacher has it in for you. How can this be happening? Aren't teachers supposed to love kids? Aren't they supposed to have all the answers and be fair at all times?

Well...no. It doesn't always work that way. Sometimes trouble pops up between a teacher and a student, and it can be hard to figure out what's going wrong. Here are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Teachers are people too
    Yes, it's true. Teachers are human beings just like you and your friends. They have good days and bad days. They have disappointments and frustrations, and they make mistakes. Even though you probably don't want to think about it, teachers have lives outside of school. A teacher having a bad day-- or a bad year, even-- can have a pretty grouchy attitude.

  • Teaching is a tough job
    A teacher's job looks pretty easy, right? After all, you have to write the papers and take the tests, and your teacher just has to grade them! Well, think again. Teachers work long hours, and are usually under a lot of pressure from principals, school boards, parents, and even kids. If you've ever had a difficult school project and had to work extra long and hard to get it finished, then you know what pressure is! It's hard to be cheerful when you're working hard and want to do a good job. Teachers deal with this sort of thing all the time.

  • Your teacher might be new at this
    Every year, thousands of new teachers begin at new schools, and many of them are just out of school themselves. Dealing with a whole classroom of kids can be rough on somebody who doesn't have much experience, and it can take some time for a teacher to figure out the best way to do everything.

    A guidance counselor who works in a New Jersey school remembers one young teacher who really wanted his students to think he was cool. It was his first year as a teacher, and he wanted his kids to like him so much that he found himself picking on the same student that the rest of the class picked on. The teacher probably didn't know he was doing it, but he made that one kid miserable so that the other kids would think he was cool. This teacher made a big mistake because he was new, and as time went on, he figured out how to be a much better teacher.

  • Your teacher might be tired of this
    New teachers aren't the only ones who have trouble with kids. Teachers who have been working for many years can get set in their ways. Suddenly, in comes a new group of students who dress differently, talk differently, and are into different kinds of things. Most teachers just get better as they get older, because experience is one of the most important parts of any job. But some teachers can have trouble dealing with change, and might say things like "You kids today don't know how to behave," or "I don't understand the kinds of things students do for fun these days."

    These are signs that your teacher has specific ideas of how kids should act and look, and maybe these ideas don't match what's going on in the classroom. If your teacher thinks you're a good example of how everything is different nowadays, he or she might treat you unfairly.

  • Your teacher could have a problem with certain types of students
    Sometimes, teachers are good with one kind of student, but bad with another kind. It could be that your teacher has little patience for kids with a learning disability, or is easily frustrated when students don't speak English as their first language. In extreme cases, there could even be a prejudice at work, even if your teacher is not actually aware of it.

Keep in mind: These are all reasons why your teacher might be treating you unfairly, but they aren't excuses. You should always try to understand why your teacher is having problems with you or another student, but just knowing why it's happening doesn't solve the problem. No teacher has the right to be unfair to you. If you feel that they are, you can do something about it.

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