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Teacher Trouble?




by Katrina Cassel

Here’s what to do—and what not to do—to get better grades.

  Lindsay slammed her locker door. “Can you believe Mrs. Cook had the nerve to tell me a little less social life might help my history grade? Just because she doesn’t have a life!”

    “Mrs. Cook doesn’t bother me,” Todd said with a smirk on his face, “but Mr. Wright is another story. He gave me a D on my paper just because it was a couple days late. Man, does he have it out for me!”
    Every day complaints like Lindsay’s and Todd’s echo in high school halls. You’re a rare exception if you’ve never felt that a teacher treated you unfairly, didn’t like you, or was out to get you. Yet sometimes the problem goes deeper than a one-time case of a teacher singling out a student for reproof.
    Susan was an A-student who did every assignment with extreme care. Her term papers were masterpieces, and her tests were perfect. However, tenth grade history was a different matter. Regardless of how well she did an assignment, she never received above a B.
    Frustrated with the situation, she questioned the teacher. And here’s how her teacher answered: “It’s not A work in my class. You’ll just have to do better.”
    That confused Susan more than ever!
    If you feel that a teacher really doesn’t like you or is out to get you, you don’t have just sit back and take it. Here are four steps you can take to improve the situation.
    Carefully and prayerfully examine what you’re doing. What are you doing or not doing that may be causing the teacher to dislike you or to make things hard for you? Coming to class late, talking in class, turning in poorly done homework, or turning in homework late may be influencing the way your teacher is treating you.
    Ask God to point out areas in which you can improve. Be honest with yourself, and do what you can to correct your faults and make things right.
Ask God to give you wisdom and courage as you talk to your teacher. Before you talk to your teacher, discuss with your parents or a trusted adult what you should say. Be specific and mature in your discussion. If you say, “You don’t like me; you always pick on me,” you won’t accomplish much. Try saying, “I worked very hard on these last three assignments but only received C’s. I wondered if you would share with me why they were worth only C’s,” or some similar comment, depending on the situation.
    Approach your teacher when he or she isn’t busy. Then be willing to listen to what they say. Acknowledge any wrong you’ve done. If you don’t, a teacher will quickly detect a defensive spirit and won’t be willing to talk to you.
    Enlist a parent’s help. If your talk with the teacher doesn’t help the situation, or if the teacher refuses to talk to you, ask one of the parents to talk to the teacher with you. Ask your parent to call for an appointment, and discuss what you will say in the meeting.
    Be sure you have specific examples of things the teacher has done or said that make you feel disliked or unfairly treated. Write these things down and take them to the meeting, along with any assignments you and your parents feel received unfair grades.
    If you don’t receive results, you may have to take the situation a step higher by appealing to your school’s administration. If you do, present your case calmly, along with the schoolwork you feel your teacher  unfairly graded.
    Commit the situation to God. After you’ve done your part, the rest is up to your teacher, your school administration, and God. Pray for a positive attitude and extra strength to succeed in the class until things are resolved. God can help you through this situation in spite of the circumstances.
Classroom no-no’s
    Here are some things teachers have said would make them single a student out for discipline or reduced grades:
• Late homework
• Incomplete or sloppy homework
• Failure to follow directions verbally or on assignments
• Consistent tardiness
• Outspoken in class
• Attitude—either verbal or physical (for example, sitting slouched in seat with arms crossed and a chip on the shoulder)
• Playing class clown
• Cheating
• Plagiarizing
• Complaining about homework or assignments
If you use this list as a checklist of things not to do, you may see your grades start to soar!
 
Katrina Cassel, M.Ed., lives with her husband, five of their children, and an assortment of pets in the Florida panhandle.    




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