So your teacher hates you. Or so you, the student are pretty sure that he/she does.
I know you think so because you tell me.
Sometimes you tell me when you land in my room after getting in trouble or when a certain teacher walks by.
For whatever reason, you feel that this teacher has it in for you or just plain doesn’t care that you exist.
I am not arguing that this couldn’t be true, though with a very small portion of teachers.
However, in my world, I have yet to hear one say, “I hate that kid.”
I can tell you what I do hear:
“I have tried everything I know to communicate that I am concerned about them as a person and to help them move forward, yet I am having no success.”
“I have listened to them, met with parent(s), set goals, etc. but the one thing I cannot do is make them care and that is when I get frustrated.”
That is what I hear and this is what I observe:
On any given day, teachers are using their own money to buy supplies for their classroom that may be outside of school budget.
Teachers are coming in early, staying late, often helping students who aren’t even in their classroom with assignments or need a listening ear.
They buy food to keep in their room for the kid who didn’t get breakfast or offer them rides on cold days when they see them walking.
They provide counseling and help for students who are in abusive or drug addicted homes and offer a place to shower and get clean clothes if those are not available where they live.
I see daily in their words and their actions that they care above and beyond what their jobs actually require or pay.
I know a teacher who lets his students text him on weekends or holiday breaks if they need help on a computer class. Another teacher has talked to me several times this year about her concern for her students all the while she had personal pain going on in her own family that I wasn’t aware of.
So, if I can clarify what you, the student may see as hate is probably frustration.
Despite all of their efforts to help provide assistance with any physical, emotional or learning obstacles a student may have, when they run up against, “I don’t care what you do for me, I am not going to try,” they feel defeated.
They know that the life preservers they throw out can actually help pull someone to shore but it won’t save them if they don’t grab ahold of it and paddle as well.
They don’t hate you but they hate seeing a life wasted by giving up and taking no responsibility to become the best version of themselves.
Believe it or not, grades don’t matter to them near as much as determined effort and desire to move forward in a positive direction in life. If that is in place, the grade issue usually resolves itself.
Teachers can help with studies, academic struggles and life skills. They can listen, cry, pray, encourage and advocate for you but the one thing they cannot do for you is something that you must do for yourself.
Only you can decide that you want to care enough to reach your fullest potential.
Yes, it isn’t easy. It takes self discipline to read the book, write the paper, put in the time, ask the questions.
It takes focus to put aside the cell phone and care more about learning than gaming.
It takes maturity to follow rules that seem unnecessary, an assignment that seems pointless or walk away from people who are a bad influence.
But none of us will make it in this life if we don’t care enough to put out the effort to change and that can only start within ourselves.
So the next time you think your teacher hates you, why not challenge yourself to show some effort to reach back and grab a hold of the tools that teacher is offering you and see if you don’t discover a change in the both of you.
Don’t do it only to please the teacher but do it as if your life really matters for something greater than just sucking air.
Because it matters today, tomorrow and all the tomorrows to come.