How do you handle students who don't like you?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Aug 8, 2015

    I'm a college student teaching 8th grade math this summer. One of my classes is going really well, but in my other class, 2 of my students don't like me at all. It's frustrating because I have a high school student junior teacher in my classroom and they obviously prefer her to me and it's really frustrating. For example, I was collecting Do Nows and a student wouldn't give her Do Now to me, but would only give it to the junior teacher.

    School is almost over, but it's super frustrating and I hate it. I want to be a teacher so how do I handle situations like this?
     
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  3. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

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    I'm assuming this is a summer school situation?

    Honestly, I feel like a lot of times (certainly not always) that students in summer school are more apt to have behavior issues and issues with school to begin with, hence why they are failing and have to take the class over the summer.

    If it is not a summer school situation like that, then please forget that statement. :)

    I do feel that this is a lack of establishing authority, and I totally understand because I had some serious behavior issues with my kiddos last year, and it was my first year. I know it's hard to learn how to establish that.

    In the future, I would try personal conferencing. I wouldn't do it as a, "Why don't you like me? What can I do to make this better for you?" approach, because then the student has the upper hand. I would say something more along the lines of, "Hey, Johnny. I know that there have been some issues with (insert behavior) in my class. Is there anything going on that I should know about? I think you are a great kid and I see all that you are capable of. Here are the expectations in my class. I want to help you reach them."

    I would also do your best to be firm about demanding your respect. In the situation with the Do Now, if it occurs again, I would politely tell the student, in a calm voice, that you are the teacher and that the work needs to come to you. And then just go about your business. I say that because at this age, it seems that students are often just seeking attention from their peers. "Haha, I wouldn't give the teacher our homework, see how mad she was...."

    I've found that what worked the best for me was to not raise my voice or get worked up about it. Just be calm. Take a nonchalant attitude. Provide a consequence and just explain that until the student starts giving the homework to you and responding to you respectfully, X,Y, and Z will occur. Provide a reward to all of the students that are cooperating.

    Lastly, just remember that the situation isn't just that this student does like you. I got caught in that trap a lot last year, thinking certain students didn't like me. It took a while for me to learn that the behavior in my class was really the behavior everywhere if given the opportunity.
     
  4. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Aug 8, 2015

    Rule #1 in teaching is you absolutely can not ever take it personally. It's not my job to make them like me, it's my job to teach them. Now, granted, they're easier to teach when they like and respect me, but that comes from me doing several things: knowing my content-but not always feeling the need to be "right", treating everyone fairly and respectfully, doing what I say I'm going to do, being willing to laugh at myself and with others, asking (sincerely) how kids are doing and trying to get to know them (not as a friend, but as a mentor), etc.

    If I kid doesn't like me, it's okay. Sometimes I don't like them. That doesn't mean that we can't function in my classroom. In the situation you described above, if I felt the kid was holding on to the paper just to push my button, I would have said, "Well, I'm the senior teacher. I do the grading. If you want credit for it, you have to give it to me" and walked away. My mentor teacher told me long ago, in a tug of war with a student, you will always lose. Tell them what they need to do, and if you feel like it's worth it, give them the reason why, tell them the consequence for not doing it, then move on.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    They're playing games and you're playing right along. simply stop. If a student doesn't want to give you his work, shrug and walk on. He doesn't get credit, to move onto the next activity, whatever. You will NEVER have all of your students like you. Most of the time you won't have a clue how they truly feel about you because students can hide their feelings well. Being popular should not be your concern.
     
  6. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    This makes me feel so much better, thanks :) it's a summer program called Breakthrough Collaborative. These aren't students who did badly in the school year. In fact, my students are on/above grade level and are academically doing really well. These are students from low income backgrounds that apply to the program.

    I think one of the struggles is having two teachers in the classroom. When the student didn't give me the Do Now, I sort of shrugged and said ok, but then the junior teacher came over and took it. (She didn't notice what was happening)

    Other things that happen are when students are working, two students only call over the JT and never call me over. The other 4 students are fine but it's just these two and it frustrates me, especially because I can't check their progress when they never want to show me their work.

    Also, the kids are sometimes out of control. They came into my classroom running and I tried to redirect them but they just wouldn't listen to me for a few minutes. And once, I asked a girl not to share her food, and then she shared her food with another girl right there and then. I was so flustered that I didn't know what to do.

    We eat lunch with the kids too...the program is all about forming relationships with the students. For most of my students, I love having lunch conversations with them and it goes really really well. I tried to sit at their table a few weeks ago and they wouldn't let me. They said someone was sitting in a chair and when another teacher left the table a girl put her leg on the chair so I couldn't sit there. Since then, I've just been giving them space but that incident was really hurtful for me.

    I'm frustrated because out of my two classes, I am a much better teacher in my easier class. I love the students, they ask questions, they're kind and respectful, and I explain things much much better. In this class, the last few weeks, I've been dreading it because I just honestly don't like how some of the kids treat me. I'm trying not to take it personally but it's so so hard.
     
  7. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    And I'm glad I had this learning experience. It was frustrating but I want to learn and grow as a teacher from the experience.
     
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Honestly in this situation, with it being summer school (and with it being almost over), I'd let sleeping dogs lie. Just let the high schooler handle any type of one-on-one contact that might be needed with those two students. It's giving power to those two students, but at this point, that's probably not a big deal... in a week, you'll never see those students again.

    In the future though, it's best to nip things like this in the bud when they happen. A student doesn't have to like you, but they do need to listen to you, and if they don't, they face the appropriate consequence.
     
  9. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

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    That is frustrating. I do feel honestly that these students have gotten your goat, and they know it. :(

    I'm not criticizing....this was so me for the first half of the year last year. They know you care, and they know that your feelings are hurt. They have way too much power. With the lunch thing, it's not really their place to tell you that you can't sit with them. You are the teacher.

    I also agree that I'd just let sleeping dogs lie. This is totally a great learning opportunity (which I just went through myself with last year being my first year). But, now I know what mentality to have with my kiddos this upcoming year. You just have to be in charge, and remember not to take it personally. You're doing awesome! Don't give up! :)
     
  10. leeshis0019

    leeshis0019 Companion

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    Aug 8, 2015

    Can the junior teacher be "absent" one day?

    See what happens then? Honestly, I'd just say w/e and move on.


    Edit: I have a student this semester that apparently thinks he "****** me off". Another teacher heard him say he "****** off his science teacher" then they saw him in my class and let me know. We both thought it was funny as I'm not very easy to "**** off", but I honestly have no clue what's going on.

    I noticed that same day that I was told he seemed a little intimidated whenever I would try to help.

    Kids are weird. Teenagers are even weirder.
     
  11. 2ndTimeAround

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    About the foot in the seat so you wouldn't sit down? That mess should have been stopped right then. Who is running the show?

    I have no desire to eat with my students. We all need a break from each other. But if that had happened to me I would have said "Move your freaking foot now." I'm 99% sure the foot would have moved immediately.
     
  12. oldstudent

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    Aug 8, 2015

    I would be curious to know if you ever tell your high school teacher to assist you with collecting papers.
    if the answer is "no", then let the student know that the paper will not be credited if it is not given to you when asked.
    If the answer is "yes", then make a polite inquiry as to why he/she chose not to hand you their paper when you asked for it.
    If they say something smart like " I don't like you", or I like " Sally" more, then tell them that "the good news is that you don't have to like me to get a good grade in this class." Then add that "if they don't like the work, or how it is being taught, you can meet with me to see if we can make the class for meaningful for you in some way.",

    As far as the lunch issue is concerned, I think you should calmly respect that they do not want to sit with you, as long as they, in turn, respect you by providing an honest reason why they " want their privacy".
    Blocking a seat with their leg, however, should not be tolerated, and the consequences implemented for such behavior should reflect the school's discipline policy.

    Even though they are likely just being smart alecks, I would treat these matters as if they are acting out because they have concerns, and would then try to address these concerns.
     
  13. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    As usual, I agree with everything Band writes.

    "You don't like me? Oh, well. Class is going to happen and it will go better for you if you come along for the ride." I don't say that to the student, but that is the gist of my interactions with the student.

    I learned as a first year teacher that if I paint a kid into a corner he will come out fighting to save face with his peers, and I will lose. So, remain fair, stay consistent, be pleasant, and look for genuine ways to show your interest in the student. Give the student a fresh start each day; never hold a grudge.
     
  14. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    What did you do (besides redirecting)? Was this the first day?
     
  15. ChildWhisperer

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    That's hard. I'd expect that out of preschoolers but not teenagers. They know better.
     
  16. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    This.

    If I have a student who doesn't like me, I just think to myself: "whatever" and give them a wide berth. You can't force a student to like you, and you're wasting your time to try, when they've made it clear that they don't like you.

    I continue teaching the whole class and build relationships with the ones that want to build relationships.

    9 times out of 10, the student who didn't like me, sees how much fun me and the other students' have in their relationships, and they open up to me on their own because they want to be a part of the class culture. But you may be a bit further away from this point (which is natural as you're just starting out). I would focus on getting control of your classroom and asserting yourself as the leader if you want to continue in teaching for now.

    Relationships are important, but you're never going to build a meaningful relationship if you don't have control of your classroom. Instead it will just be a relationship where the students walk all over you. Read some classroom management books like Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones, or anything the Smart Classroom Management series.
     
  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Really? That's something I would exactly expect out of teenagers who want to assert their dominance over a teacher and show them who runs the classroom.

    Preschoolers do it unintentionally. Teenagers would do it intentionally to show off.
     
  18. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I don't have a problem with any students not liking me- not everyone is going to like me. The only issue is if it goes into disrespect. At that time I have a quick chat with the student and let them know that they don't have to like me, but they do have to follow my directions and be respectful. (it goes for me, too, there are students whom I don't like,l but that cannot show in my behavior or choices or grading or whatever.)

    Sometimes it's hard to tell what is disrespect that you should handle, or dominance asserted by the student, and what is silly stuff you should not get involved in. The best thing to do is to handle everything in a matter of fact, no big deal way. so that the student doesn't think he got to you. He doesn't want to give you his paper, but to the other teacher instead? act like it's nothing, nothing at all, and then you don't look silly. But if you make a big deal out of it, every student will know how to hurt your feelings and how to get to you and it will never end.
     
  19. ChildWhisperer

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    That's what I'm saying. Teenagers know what they're doing. Preschoolers do not.
     
  20. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Teens will punch any button that you give a response to. Never show that their actions have the desired effect and class will be much smoother. Don't pick up papers, make them turn them in. Select a student to hand out class materials, don't think of sitting with them unless mandated by admin. OP is trying too hard and the students smell blood in the water.

    On any given day I never know if I am liked by any or all of my students, nor do I care. I have control, and they respect me. That is all that matters - I can work with that to teach. Oh, and by the way, some days I don't like some of them much either, but they will never know that by my actions because I am a teacher!
     
  21. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Aug 10, 2015

    What he/she said. You are their teacher not their friend.
     
  22. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    The only thing I can offer on top of many of the previous posts, which contain good advice, is that you have to grow a thick skin - and that's going to develop with more experiences you have. As you endure and deal with this situation, it will enhance your ability to handle the deliberate defiant students.

    :)
     
  23. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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  24. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    This is terrible advice.

    Spending time with your students has nothing to do with being liked and everything to do with showing you value them as human beings.
     
  25. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    If the students are already pushing your buttons and defiant, sitting with them will just give them the opportunity to be nasty when your guard is down. I interact with all of my students, but I know better than to "force myself" on the students who are bristling and non-compliant.

    OP did not ask how to get along with friendly students who love her - she asked what to do about hateful students who don't like her and go out of the way to be nasty. That is the question I answered.
     
  26. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    You have lots of good advice already, I was going to say "I don't care". It's not my job to be friends with the students, if they don't like me then that's fine. I will still greet that child with a smile and tell them welcome. I will still help that child and make sure they stay on task. My job is to teach, not to become BFFs with middle schoolers.
     
  27. DAH

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    Aug 11, 2015

    Ms. Holyoke:

    Don't take it too seriously, and don't take yourself too seriously. Find humor in it. I always say, 'I don't always like me either.'

    In other words, FORGIVE THEM for not liking you. It takes practice; and, unfortunately,they WILL NOT be the only students who won't like you.

    It becomes IMPOSSIBLE to keep-up with 105 different student's personal opinion of you.

    I've dealt with this many times, and found that the most effective way to deal with it, is to just "forgive them," treat them like they DO LIKE YOU, and YOU LIKE THEM.

    It will make you feel better, it softens their attitude, and it keeps it from becoming a dreadful situation.

    The ball is in your court.

    Good luck
     
  28. DAH

    DAH Companion

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    ROFL GOOD ADVICE!
     
  29. DAH

    DAH Companion

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    Alternative Ed., Linguist! Oh shucks! You're in the lions den! LOL

    I love alternative ed., but, depending on where you live, you could be dealing with some hard core, jail-house, attitudes. With them, its not so much 'do they like you,' but do you like them.

    Good luck
     
  30. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Do you know where linguist works? She knows what she's talking about when it comes to tough kiddos.
     

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