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Kids’ Questions: My Teacher Hates Me

Dear Rene,

There’s a teacher at my school who’s always picking on me!

I don’t know what I’ve done but Mrs. Scripps is always telling me off in front of my friends, putting me in detention and giving me bad grades.

I told my dad what had happened and he ended up having an argument with Mrs. Scripps parent’s night and complaining to the school principal. He’s made everything so much worse!

Some of my friends think I’m being a crybaby and their parents don’t want them to hang out with me anymore because they think I’m a troublemaker.

What do I do now? I hate school!

Emma, 13

Dear Emma:

I want you to practice something that will coming in handy, as you get older, okay.

Sit on the edge of your bed and take a deep breath. Relax for a few minutes and listen to what I say.

I PROMISE you this will not stay the same. I PROMISE you it will ultimately get better and I PROMISE you will learn from this experience. I have a great many friends who are teachers and they are true professionals, as the majority of them are. But I’m sure, as in any profession, there are some who are less than stellar. That may or may not be the case with Mrs. Scripps, but that’s neither here nor there. What you want is answers on how to deal with a teacher you don’t think likes you. So here’s what I would suggest.

TALK TO MRS. SCRIPPS: I know this is hard because you’re a kid and she’s the teacher but you might as well learn now how to approach problems and issues. You were bold enough to write me, so I suspect you have it in you to talk to Mrs. Scripps. I would just ask her if you could stay after class one day and then tell her how you feel. Because here’s what I think might be happening. Mrs. Scripps might be one of those hard-nosed teachers; I had a few in school too. They just have a manner about them that is pretty no nonsense and while it’s only business to them and other adults, to you, it can sound like they don’t like you. So just ask her. You can say you are worried that you offended or made her mad and if you did, you would like to apologize. But my suspicion is that she doesn’t know how she sounds to you.

TALK TO YOUR DAD: Okay, dad is the second adult you’ll need to have a conversation with. First you need to know he did what he did out of love for you. He was trying to protect you. But you need to tell him that while you appreciate it, he made things worse. Tell him what’s been happening at school as a result of his outburst and ask that he not do it again.

TAKE RESPONSIBILITY: This is the final bit of advice but perhaps most important. You need to make sure that you are being responsible for your own actions. If you got a bad grade on a test, you need to go over it with Mrs. Scripps. Ask her why she marked you off for a particular test and what you can do in the future so as not to make the same mistake. I think what you’ll see is that rather than being arbitrary, there is a method to her grading that may become less mysterious once she shares more with you. But you have to take the first step and ask.

Finally, if you do all of those things and still have no results or satisfaction, you may have to ask your parents to set up a meeting with the school principal and bring this issue to her attention.

Hang in there, Emma. This, too, shall pass.

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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