PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
My Teacher Hates Me: Andy's Story

To help us explore what kids can do in situations like this, let's use the true story of Andy, a sixth grader who goes to school in California. But first...

What NOT to do

  • Don't confront your teacher
    You may be angry or hurt, and want your teacher to explain what's been happening, but accusing your teacher of hating you won't make things better. Your teacher might get angry back, and you'd end up making things worse. Like everybody else, teachers don't like being accused of unfair behavior. If you do this, your teacher might think you're trying to start a fight.

What you SHOULD do
Okay, now here's the stuff you should do.

Andy began having trouble in his English class early in the school year. He felt that his teacher, who often yelled and got angry, was punishing him for things he didn't do. What really got her upset was when students talked during class, and she sent Andy to the Principal's office even though he felt he wasn't the one doing most of the talking. Andy felt that his English teacher had it in for him, and he was so upset that it was ruining his whole school day. Needing help, Andy decided to talk things over with his mom, which was a good choice.

Talk to your Mom or Dad
You want to get somebody on your side, right? The best place to start is at home.

Your parents are in your corner. They're the first people you should go to if you're upset about what's going on at school, because it's their job to protect you.

Andy told his mom that he was having trouble in English class. In fact, he told her that he was sure that his English teacher hated him. Andy's mom wanted more information, so she asked Andy to tell her all about it and give her as much information as he could. She listened closely as Andy told her everything about what was happening in his English class.

Andy's mom believed that his feelings were real and that he was telling the truth. She also knew that situations like this can be tricky, and that it's important to have all the facts. She scheduled a meeting with Andy's English teacher.

Have your parent meet your teacher
It may be hard for you to ask your mom or dad to talk to your teacher. After all, you're probably worried that your teacher will take some sort of revenge on you for causing trouble. Well sure, that can happen, but in most cases, having your parent talk to your teacher can make things a lot better.

  • Teachers are willing to talk
    Most teachers are glad to talk to a student's parents. Your teacher only gets to see you for a very small part of the day, and knows that your life at home has a lot to do with how you do in school. Regular parent-teacher nights are a good start, but they don't let teachers spend a lot of time with any one kid's parents. Because of this, most teachers are very wiling to schedule a meeting with parents. Andy's mom found this out when she called his English teacher. The teacher was glad to stay after school and have a talk with Andy's mom.

  • Parents shouldn't start the meeting angry
    If you've told your parents that your teacher hates you, they might get very angry or upset about it. But your parents should take a moment to cool down before they give your teacher a call. Yelling, shouting, and making accusations is only going to make things worse. When your parent and teacher meet, they won't be able to talk calmly about what's been going wrong in the classroom.

Keeping all of this in mind, Andy's mom contacted his English teacher. She didn't mention that Andy was convinced the teacher hated him, she just told the teacher that she wanted to talk about how things were going in the classroom. When they met, the teacher was relaxed, and Andy's mom was able to get a good idea of her personality. Talking to the English teacher, Andy's mom got a good idea of how the woman acted in the classroom. She could tell that the teacher actually liked Andy a lot, but it was also easy to see that the teacher had the type of personality that a student like Andy would have a hard time dealing with. So without confronting the teacher or acting angry, Andy's mom was able to get a much better idea of what was going on.

Ask your parent to talk to other parents or other teachers
If your mom and dad are going to help you deal with your teacher, they should find out as much as they can about how the teacher acts in the classroom. A good choice is for your parent to call up the parents of one of your classmates, and ask if they've ever had any problems. Sometimes your parents will find out that your teacher has a reputation for being cranky, or that other kids have complained about unfair treatment.

In Andy's case, his mom had a friend who taught at the school. This friend told Andy's mom that the teacher was having a hard time controlling certain trouble-making kids in the class. This was why she was yelling a lot and sometimes taking her frustrations out on good students like Andy. This friend told Andy's mom that it was probably a good idea to try to move him to another classroom. Knowing that she couldn't do this alone, Andy's mom scheduled a meeting with the school's Vice Principal.

Bring in a school authority
Once your parents are convinced that your teacher is treating you unfairly, they should meet with someone at the school who has authority, like the Principal or Vice Principal. Your folks might want to take you along too, so you can talk about what's been happening and how it makes you feel. If this idea makes you uncomfortable, just tell your mom or dad to go to the meeting without you.

As always, it's important for your mom and dad to stay cool and calm, and not get angry with the principal or school authority. They should just describe the situation and find out if the school has a policy for dealing with teacher-student conflicts. In most cases, the principal will have dealt with this sort of thing before, and will know what to do next. This might mean involving a school counselor who can talk to you and your teacher.

This is what happened with Andy. Andy's mom met with the Vice Principal, and then met with Andy's teacher again. Andy's teacher admitted that some kids were causing trouble in class, and that Andy was often caught in the middle when she got angry with them. The school counselor agreed to sit in on Andy's class and see what happened. If things didn't get better, Andy would be moved to a new class.

In Andy's case, the situation isn't over yet. He's found out that his teacher doesn't really hate him, but that doesn't make it any easer to deal with all the trouble in the classroom. He's waiting for the counselor to make a decision about moving him to a different class, but in the meantime, he just has to tough it out. The important thing is that he asked his parents for help, and they helped him in a way that was smart. His teacher, his Vice Principal, and his counselor are all aware of the situation, and are trying to find a way to solve it.

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