What to do when your teacher-student chemistry is off and you have something strong to say.

student standing against a wallChemistry, language – they’re school subjects, but they are not necessarily limited to just classroom topics. The chemistry you feel between you and those around you and the language you use to express yourself are important factors in dealing with conflict and difficult personalities in a mature, reasonable way.

What if you don’t get along with your teacher?
Sometimes, the student-teacher chemistry just isn’t there and personalities clash. Inevitably, this will happen at some point in your life. Learning to deal with it now in a positive, appropriate manner will help you not only now, but later on as you deal with people in the workplace and community that you don’t necessarily get along with.

Sometimes, you may be tempted to say something strong to the teacher. This can include talking back or arguing in class, insulting the teacher, or simply blurting out your angry feelings. None of these are good things to do. For one thing, it can result in disciplinary action, including detentions and suspensions. Too many of these can adversely affect your record and make it difficult to get into college and even graduate from high school. Not only that, but teachers are only human – if you insult them or make their job difficult, they may be harder on you than other students.

In some cases, personality clashes result from you feeling like you’ve been wronged or embarrassed in class. Perhaps you feel like you received an unfair grade, or maybe your teacher said something in front of everyone that embarrassed you. In cases such as these, you should talk to the teacher in a calm manner to get the differences resolved so you can get on with learning.

How to talk to a teacher when the teacher-student chemistry is off
If you are having personality conflicts with your teacher, the following tips will help you to resolve your conflicts instead of bursting out in class:

  • Request a meeting with the teacher. Ask the teacher, in a calm manner, after class or before, if you can talk to him or her. He or she may agree to talk with you there or at a later time. Once you have the teacher’s attention, you can then try and communicate what you’re feeling. It may be, “It embarrasses me when you call me out on my wrong answers,” or “It’s hard for me to learn when I feel like you only call on or focus your attention on one or two students.” Avoid being accusatory or angry.
  • Request a meeting with the counselor. If you try to talk to your teacher and still feel like nothing has changed, consider talking to your school counselor. He or she may have some tips to help you better get along with your teacher as well as helping you control yourself before you say something that could get you in trouble.
  • Talk to your parents. If you’ve tried the above and nothing seems to be working, your parents may need to meet with the teacher, counselor, or principal and try to work something out. If your personality differences can’t be solved peacefully, you may be transferred to a different class and teacher so you can focus on school.

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