7 Sure-Fire Ways to Alienate a Teacher

I have posted before about the importance of communication as well as how to approach a teacher. In this post I am going to outline phrases to avoid when speaking to teachers (or anyone else in education for that matter). These 7 phrases are almost guaranteed to make any teacher not listen to what you have to say. Just like with everyone else, teachers have a tendency to turn off if they feel that a conversation is not going anywhere. By avoiding these 7 phrases you can give yourself, and your ideas, a fighting chance to make a difference. Want to discover what not to say to a teacher. Read on to find out

1.”I never learn anything in this class”- Essentially you are insulting the teacher’s teaching ability. The teacher may feel threatened or defensive, and your ideas will not be heard. Instead try something like, “I feel that if the curriculum were differentiated then I could get much more out of the material.”

2. “Why did I get a B on this assignment, I deserved an A.”- I generally do not like arguing over grades, and from what I can see teachers do not enjoy it either. If there is an obvious error or mistake then arguing is acceptable, but on essays and other objective assignments, it does no good to argue with a teacher. Remember to look at the big picture, is that one grade really going to affect the rest of your performance in class?

3. Why do we have to learn this subject, it is soooo pointless!”- I believe that it is fully within your rights as a student to know how a subject or assignment can be applied in the real world. However, I think that are many more polite and respectful ways to voice your concern. Try saying something such as: “I am really interested in quadratic equations. What fields of work are there that use quadratics to help accomplish tasks?”

4. “Why do I always have to get the best grade in this class, you expect way too much of me.”- Though the following statement may be true for many gifted students, there are certainly more polite ways to phrase your concerns. If you feel that a teacher is expecting too much of you or they are constantly looking to you for answers, talk to them privately after class. You can say something such as, “This math class is a good challenge for me, and I cannot get the right answer all of the time. Would it be okay if you ease up on the pressure a little but?”

5. “Why is this class so slow, can’t you speed up the teaching a little more?”- Though you may be flying through the class material at a rapid pace, not everyone in your class is so lucky. Instead try, “I am completing the assigned work quickly and would like more challenge, are there any problems that go into more depth on this subject?”

6.”This grade is meaningless, why did I get an A!”- Even though it may seem counterintuitive to question a good grade, often a gifted student may receive an A on a paper when they do not think they deserved that grade. This can become even worse if a teacher does not write comments or critiques on A papers. If you want to know why you received a grade you can say, “I was wondering if you had any comments for my essay, I wanted to know if there was anything I could improve on. Also I would like to know what you enjoyed about my paper.”

7.”This class is booooooorrrrring”- Pretty much the ultimate insult, you are criticizing the teacher, curriculum, and the other students. In fact, avoid the use of the word “boring” at all times when talking with teachers. Instead opt for something such as “Are there any projects or special assignments I can use to supplement my learning experiences?”

In conclusion, respect your teachers. Teaching is a very difficult job, and teaching gifted students can be exceptionally difficult. Cut your teachers a little slack, and remember, they control your grades! When dealing with teachers it is best to be polite and calm, avoid insulting their teaching style or the curriculum; however, do not just let your cause drop. “Wishing is fine, asking is faster!”


6 responses to “7 Sure-Fire Ways to Alienate a Teacher

  1. Pingback: Gifted and Talented in the 21st Century » Blog Archive » Examples of gifted students using technology

  2. Well I appreciate your call for students to “respect” teachers — I don’t think it will ever work.

    The only good respect is that earned. It is up to the teacher as the leader/facilitator to use the comments to change the curriculum or learning environment.

    I want students that are free to voice their criticism, however invalid or impolite! This is the foundation of thought/intelligence – to say NO. (to paraphrase Koestler. ).


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  4. Pingback: Gifted and Talented in the 21st Century » Examples of gifted students using technology

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