So I have this teacher who everyone respects and loves, reasons I can tell why. But for me, I can't bring myself to like him. Every time he speaks to me, I feel he's distant. Every time he calls on me in class, I feel intimidated or stupid since I consider myself the slowest in the class. I'm terrified in his class. Any tips as a teacher to help my dilemma? I'm not hoping to become closer as a student to him, just tips so that I won't feel so scared upon entering and staying in his class. Thanks
I had that experience in my senior year way back in the late 80s with my history teacher. Brilliant man, exceptional teacher. But I just didn’t jive with his personality. But for me, I had this overwhelming sense that he didn’t like me personally. I felt he treated me differently. I decided then to just do the best with what I had, and what I had was a teacher with whom I just didn’t gel. I ended up with decent marks, and the experience didn’t affect me one way or the other.
You’re not going to click with every person you know. That applies to teachers. There’s no science or rational explanation to it that I know of. However, that feeling you have of being the slowest in class—get rid of that now. Just from reading your query, I can tell you’re quite intelligent. Perhaps you’re stuck in a class of gifted students? Whatever the reason, you just have to get over it because I have a feeling that you’re the type of person who consistently undersells yourself.
I have a thought that may help. Think: “I don’t need everyone to like me, but they will respect me.” And respect will often come from an unrelenting effort to succeed. Teachers notice effort and we appreciate it.
Also, try approaching him during breaks or after/before class to ask for help with assignments if you need it. Once he knows you’re trying, it will be very difficult for him to give you a poor grade. (Old teacher secret.)
Also try to remember that your experience is very subjective and that there is a good chance that you’re reading the situation incorrectly. It may be your own insecurity that’s dampening your potential in his class. For all you know, he may really like you but keeps thinking, “Why doesn’t she like me as a teacher?” I’ve had students whom I thought didn’t like me at all, and then I’ll bump into them years later and they’ll tell me how intimidated they were in class because of the other kids’ intellects. I thought it was me!
I hope some of this makes some sense. Let me know if it needs clarification or you have other questions. I love helping young people reach their true potential. It’s like watching superheroes form.
Grade 9 Student: “Sir, you know how the other day you said that sometimes when one of us annoy you, you stand by his desk and quietly fart and walk away?”
Her: “Were you serious?”
Me: “What do you think?”
Her: “I can’t tell.”
Me: “Do you believe that I care about all of you?”
Me: “What would that do to someone’s self-esteem?”
Her: “It would be awful.”
Me: “So do you think I was serious?”
Her: “But you really like pranks.”
Kid’s Got Talent
After spring break, I try writing on the whiteboard with a marker. It is low on ink.
Grade 10 Student: “Oh, that one’s running low.”
I grab another one. It’s also low.
Him: “That one’s just as bad as the first.”
I try a green one. It’s too faint to read.
Him: “Different colour. Same result.”
Me: “This is the worst play-by-play I’ve ever heard.”
Him: “The worst, or the best?”
Grade 10 Student: “Sir, why are you limping?”
Me: “I hurt my calf muscle over the weekend.”
Him: “Were you playing a sport?”
Him: “How’d you hurt it?”
Me: “Something silly.”
Him: “Oh. Old man injury.”
Me: “Good guess.”
Senior Student: “Sir, when are you going to retire?”
Me: “I’m not sure. I didn’t start saving for my retirement until quite late.”
Him: “Why’s that?”
Me: “For most of my life so far, I’ve lived as if each day were my last.”
Him: “And then what happened?”
Me: “I suddenly realized I might live past tomorrow.”
I love your blog! It's great! Keep up the awesome work :)
Thank you for the kind words!
Falling in Love
Grade 11 Student: “Sir, you’ve fallen in love, right?”
Me: “Oh, many times.”
Him: “How did you know you were in love?”
Me: “Because I was certain of it at those times and no one could have talked me out of it.”
Him: “Why in the world would you want to be talked out of it?”
Me: “You’ll see when you fall in love.”
Love in Vancouver
We are discussing common cinematic gestures in English 11 class. One student has begun mocking the declaration of love in the rain trope.
Student 1: “But I love those scenes!”
Student 2: “It’s not realistic.”
Student 1: “How’s that not realistic? This is Vancouver. Half the time we’re outside, it’s raining anyway.”
Me: (To Student 2) “She’s got you there.”
Playing a Part
A senior walks into class after a three-day absence.
Him: “I forgot my doctor’s note, sir. I’ll bring it tomorrow.”
Me: “No prob. You okay?”
Him: “Kind of. I had this weird thing growing out of my man parts.”
Me: “Okay, I really don’t want to hear this.”
Him: “Scared the hell out of me. But the doctor says—“
Me: “Really! I don’t want to hear this.”
Him: “I thought you said we could bring any problems to you.”
Me: “Personal issues. Not medical ones.”
Him: “But this is personal.”
Me: “Let’s keep it that way.”
He’s starting to smile.
Me: “You were joking.”
Him: “Man, you didn’t even let me start my story.”
Me: “Next time, don’t start with man parts.”
Grade 11 Student: “Sir, you ever smoke?”
Me: “Yes. Started when I was your age.”
Him: “Why did you start?”
Me: “I saw a movie called Now, Voyager starring Bette Davis. There was this French actor named Paul Henreid. Super suave. He put two cigarettes in his mouth and lit both of them and handed one to Davis. I thought, Man, I want to do that one day.”
Him: “Did you?”
Me: “Tried it at a party for this girl I liked. When I handed it to her, she only said, Ewww!”
Him: “Man, you broke your heart and your lungs in one go.”