Good relationships with teachers

Teachers are professionals and their relationships with their pupils are controlled by law.There are strict rules about what they can and can’t do; these rules protect both teachers and pupils. However much you like or dislike your teacher, try not to let them dominate your life or your thoughts. Here are some of the issues that may arise and some suggestions on how to make things better.

Feeling that a teacher is picking on you/treating you unfairly/favouring others over you

Most people feel unfairly treated by a teacher at some point in their school life. Sometimes teachers are unfair; they are human, after all, and face a lot of pressure in their daily life. For minor or occasional unfairnesses that don’t really have an impact on your performance or happiness at school, the best thing is just to put up with it. Life is not always going to be perfect and you need to pick your battles.

Some teachers care particularly about particular things; they may get very annoyed by too much talking, or lateness, or untidy work. Even if you think that silence or punctuality or tidiness is overrated, you will make your life easier by doing what they like. If you get into trouble for talking too much in one lesson, make every effort to be as quiet as possible in the next lesson; don’t allow yourself to be put into the ‘too noisy in class’ box.

Occasionally, a teacher may be so unfair or harsh on you that it does have an impact on your school life and possibly even your wellbeing. If this is the case, speak to:

  • another teacher at school who you like and respect
  • someone at your school who is appointed to sort out learning issues; depending on your school, this might include your form tutor, the head of your year or the learning support manager
  • your parent/carer.

In each case, try to be as specific as possible about what is making you unhappy so that it can be addressed.

Don’t say anything that isn’t true, and don’t just try to get a teacher you don’t like into trouble.

The important thing is to sort it out.

Feeling that the teacher is not helping or supporting your work

Again, this is something that most people experience at some time. Teachers do not always have time to give individual attention to everyone in their class and may not even always be able to give extra help or feedback that they have promised.

Generally, don’t make it a problem if it doesn’t need to be. See if you can get help from someone else, or if you get really stuck and do badly in a test or piece of work, explain to your teacher why you have not understood it.

If you really feel that you are not getting anywhere with a particular teacher and that this is damaging your chances in a subject, talk to your parent/carer, or your form teacher or head of year. You might be able to move sets or they might be able to make adjustments with your teacher.

Getting a crush on your teacher

It is quite normal for girls (and boys) to have crushes on their teachers. At its best, this can make your day seem brighter and more interesting, and you may even try harder in particular lessons. But remember:

  • Don’t let it get in the way of your learning. Daydreaming in lessons can be enjoyable, but too much of it won’t help your future chances.
  • Don’t expect it to develop into anything more. Teachers are in a position of trust with their pupils and would be breaking the law (the Sexual Offences Act 2003) if they get into a relationship with a pupil under the age of 18. The consequences can be even more serious if you are under 16.

You might also be interested in our pages on:

Think about your future
Coping with everyday school life
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Getting help with learning – 11 to 16