I would like to build a relationship with my teachers and peers but I don't know how

Discussion in 'General Education' started by frazzled, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. frazzled

    frazzled New Member

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    Jul 18, 2013

    Hello forum people, I am a high school student and I will be entering my final year of compulsory education this fall (yay). Academically speaking, I have been quite successful in my high school career; unfortunately, the same cannot be said with regards to my social life.

    To start things off, I don't have any friends at school. I had a 'friend' once, but she was a Russian exchange student who barely spoke English... and the only mode of contact we had together was sitting relatively close to each other during lunchtime because we both had no friends to sit with. I get really anxious and have trouble breathing when people try to talk to me and I think that sort of creeps them out.

    I don't think teachers like me very much either, particularly my French teacher. For the past three years, my French teacher has just referred to me as "the girl who hates talking to people" (I hope she knows my real name by now, but my expectations are null). She would yell at me everyday for being disrespectful because I wouldn't answer her questions during class. It's not that I was trying to be impudent, but I can't speak in public. I know that this may be difficult to understand, but I physically cannot get myself to speak in public even though I want to (I think my larynx is trying to sabotage me). When I open my mouth, the only thing that comes out is an odd hiccup-like noise. The only teachers who I think didn't dislike me were my freshman year English and junior year AP U.S. History teachers. However, my U.S. History teacher is doddery and nice to everybody, so I don't think she really counts; and I think my English teacher only liked me because I had the highest average in her class.

    Basically, I would really like to get through my last year of high school without weirding anyone out and make at least one friend. Can any of you teachers give me any advice? What qualities do you like in your students? My freshman English teacher will be teaching AP Literature this year, and there is a large chance that I may have her. What can I do to get her to like me as a person?
     
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  3. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Jul 18, 2013

    This forum is really intended as a place for educators to discuss education as well as some off-topic stuff rather than a place to get advice from teachers. Does your school have a counselor or psychologist you could visit or even just email instead? It sounds like that would be your best bet.
     
  4. frazzled

    frazzled New Member

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    Jul 18, 2013

    I'm sorry about that, but I haven't tried talking to a counselor or a psychologist. I don't really want to go through the hassle of talking to one either because then my parents will be involved and everything will be a big mess. I guess I can try talking to the school counselor when school begins. Just a quick question though, are discussions between a student and a counselor confidential?
     
  5. Listlady

    Listlady Companion

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    Jul 18, 2013

    Since you have difficulty speaking to others, perhaps think about doing what you did here: write it all down. Write a short note to each teacher (alerting him or her to the issue AND asking for their assistance) AND to your school counselor. Someone will help you. Do your parents know the extent of the problem? Do you have trouble speaking to them? You may want to write them a note, too, and see if they can get you some help with this. It obviously affects your life enough to cause you anxiety, etc., and it seems you are willing to address it and try to get it under control.

    Good luck to you! I hate the thought of a student wondering if teachers don't like him/her. Show people who you are -- somehow -- and it's a lot harder for them to say "NO" to helping you.
     
  6. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Jul 18, 2013

    I agree that writing things down will help. Why can't you answer questions in class? You have paper and a pencil or can get a small white board to write down your answer. I honestly can't figure out how your parents can not know of this problem by now if you are already this far along in high school.
    You say teachers don't like you. Do they know of your problem? Do they maybe think you don't like THEM and therefore do not speak? If you asked for help they might have given it to you long before this. You need to talk to/write to someone immediately.
     
  7. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Jul 18, 2013

    Hi Frazzled,

    I'm very sorry to hear that you're dealing with this. I can only imagine the frustration you're feeling right now.

    You've asked us teachers for our advice, so I hope you take it to heart, and not just listen to the advice that you want to listen to (for example, you said you didn't want to seek counseling because that would involve your parents).

    As people, we sometimes need professional help. That doesn't make us "weird" or "freaks"...it makes us human. If you needed help with math, would you think it "lowly" to seek it from your math teacher? Of course not. That's what they're there for.

    It's very brave of you to come here and seek guidance. But we're distant from you. Not just geographically, but also personally and socially. You need guidance and help from somebody who can be in the same room as you. Watch your body language. See your facial emotions. You won't (and frankly, can't) get that here. This Internet (ANY part of the Internet) can never be a substitute for real, inter-personal relationships.

    With regards to friends - what are your interests? You're taking AP Lit and you have a very impressive vocabulary - so I am inferring that you enjoy reading? Well, see if you can volunteer at a local library. Maybe you could even read children's books to the little kids. There's something VERY non-threatening when little kids look at you with admiration. They don't judge...they just want a good story. That may help with articulation.

    Maybe see if the library (or small bookstore) hosts book clubs for young adults your age. Meet with the leader of the book club ahead of time and let them know you have a "public speaking" issue. This way he/she can be aware and not press you to answer questions or participate.

    Do you live near a community college? See if they offer community classes in public speaking and/or confidence-building.

    But more importantly than all of my aforementioned advice - please seek help. You're young and have your whole life ahead of you... and gosh, you sound amazingly intelligent and insightful - allow the world to share in that. But seek some counseling and ask them if what you say is confidential.

    But unless you have horribly cruel and heartless parents, speak to them as well.

    I will pray that you head down the right path and make the wise choices. :)
     
  8. Rainbowbird

    Rainbowbird Groupie

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    Jul 18, 2013

    This is all wonderful advice. Please seek help. And please realize that a teacher who simply refers to you as the kid who won't speak probably isn't a very good or insightful teacher.

    There are many effective treatments for social anxiety or whatever condition that may be troubling you. You are obviously super-bright!!!! Seek help!
     
  9. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    Jul 18, 2013

    I once had a neighbor with severe anxiety issues. She was unable to even look you in the eye. She finally sought help, and the difference was unbelievable. She told me she wished she had gone for help much sooner because she missed out on so much in life.
    We all need help once in awhile. There is no shame in seeking help. I personally believe life is about always finding ways to be the best we can be whether that is through counseling, exercise, reiki, or education.
    Reiki and yoga might be something to look into to get you started.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 18, 2013

    Yep.
     
  11. frazzled

    frazzled New Member

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    Jul 19, 2013

    Thank you for all of your responses. Honestly, I do get frustrated and stressed because of this problem, and the fact that I'm going off to college next year frightens me a lot.

    @Listlady: I don't see or talk to my parents very often, but I do recall their receiving a letter from my counselor in middle school about this issue. They sort of blew the whole thing over. My parents are very sociable people so I think it's difficult for them to empathize with me on many things. They just say that my shyness is a phase that I'll soon get over.

    @Ted: Funny that you bring up the facial expression thing. My mom had often scolded me for looking somber all the time. I'm aware that I have this "default depressed" facial expression thing going on, and it's something that I'm trying to work on.

    Hopefully I'll be able to muster up the courage to email my counselor when school begins or at least write to someone I know about this. It's just that it was hard for me to acknowledge the fact that I might not be like most people for a long time. I have been bullied and made fun of in school before, so for years I have tried to avoid as much human contact as possible. At first, being by myself and not talking to people was comforting, but doing so has brought upon many problems for me as of late.

    Anyway, I'm trying to find ways to, how should I say it... gradually assimilate myself into the real world? I enjoy reading very much, and there is a small library near my house that I frequent. I think I will be able to handle joining a book club and just observing general social protocol for the time being.

    Again, I'm sorry for posting in this thread. If you cannot tell already, I can be absentminded about things that are obvious to most people.
     
  12. Rainbowbird

    Rainbowbird Groupie

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    Jul 19, 2013

    Don't be sorry for posting here. I know it seems like you walked into the teacher's room, but it was a step in the right direction.

     
  13. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

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    Jul 19, 2013

    Well your a great writer and you obviously know why your not having much luck making friends. My advice is to try and join a club or team this year. MAKE yourself be social. It will be painful at first but its the only way you will get over your fear. Social skills are important in life, not just in school, this issue is every bit as important as your school work. Try and deal with this as much as possible this year because college is A LOT of fun, IF you get involved. It can be anything just do what interests you and make some friends.
     
  14. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Jul 19, 2013

    Mr. History has a good point in attempting to "MAKE" yourself join a club...but go one step further. REWARD yourself.

    "If I join this book club and commit to it, I'll reward myself with buying the newest Games of Throne book (provided he finally gets around to writing it! LOL)" :)

    And as Rainbowbird pointed out... you took the first step in seeking help. We're just telling you to seek help from those AROUND you who can help you IN person. :)

    God bless.
     
  15. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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    Jul 20, 2013

    First of all, it is really unprofessional for your teacher to refer to you in that manner. You sound like a very insightful person.

    One piece of advice I will give you is to not be narrow-minded when trying to gain friends. When I was in high school, there was a girl who sort of followed me around freshman year. We had homeroom together, and she would just tag along all day. SHE DROVE ME CRAZY! Well, come Sophomore year, my other "friends" decided they were basically too good for me, and that girl was the ONLY friend I had for about 2 years. We are still best friends to this day.

    There are other kids who feel just like you! Believe me, you are not alone; the furthest thing from it.

    Good luck, and please know that you have worth just because you are you.
     
  16. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    Jul 20, 2013

    I remember being shy just like you describe while in high school. My friends were all very similar to myself in that we didn't want to attract notice in class or anywhere. We didn't make much effort to find each other, we just sort of fell together in common cause. There are other shy students about. Keep your eye peeled and you'll notice them and they'll notice you.

    Here's the beauty of high school, it comes to a close and you get to move on with your life. Get help certainly but realize that high school is only a step along the way.
     
  17. frazzled

    frazzled New Member

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    Jul 21, 2013

    Thank you again for your responses. Everybody is so kind :).

    I'm not quite sure if I'm ready to approach my peers, though. I have a mumbling problem, and I wouldn't even know where to begin with conversation. On top of that, once I have initiated the conversation (if that were ever possible), I wouldn't know how to continue, or when it would be appropriate to end the conversation. I don't know if I would appear too weird if I all of a sudden started talking to someone. I tend to get more anxious talking to people my age. I don't watch TV (my parents got rid of all the TVs in the house because nobody really cared for them) and I don't listen to the radio very often, so I'm kind of behind when it comes to things that relate to pop culture. I'm really interested in genetics and anything that has to do with Isaac Asimov, but I don't think those are very hot conversation starters...
     
  18. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    Jul 21, 2013

    [​IMG]
    "Do or do not. There is no try ~ Yoda"

    Surely you know this popular culture reference.

    If you don't step out there and suffer those tiny bits of rejection that you seem to fear so much, you will never solve this problem. There's no formula that is a panacea. There are things you can try that will work and then not work and then work again later. There are things that never work but there is no strategy that always works.

    And the one positive in your last post I highlighted in BOLD seems like good enough place to start to me. Social interaction is just like riding a bike. You start off wobbly and fall off sometimes. Practice, you get stronger and steadier but you aren't getting out of the scrapes and bumps. No one ever does.
     
  19. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Jul 21, 2013

    Yoda rocks! :)

    And to piggyback off of Securis:

    What if there is one person out there who is also thinking, "Gosh...who else in my school likes Asmiov?! I'm fooling myself to think I have a friend."

    I can't believe the school doesn't have a science club? Or perhaps a science teacher would be interested in starting one this year.

    The point is: you don't know there are others who share your social anxieties. And you'll NEVER know unless you go out there and at least try. :) The worst that can happen is that you'll end up feeling alone...which, correct me if I'm wrong...is what you feel now. :)

    And as somebody mentioned (I believe it was also Securis): High school is SUCH a tiny part of life (although I know it seems huge now). I promise this time next year you'll think, "Wow... did I really let high school bother me that much?" And once you start college, you'll be able to reinvent (or better yet more deeply explore) yourself and find out things about yourself you didn't know where there.

    What I find is a travesty is that somebody who is so apparently bright and articulate as you... isn't out there sharing her intelligence with others and making friends. :)

    Heck...if Sheldon Cooper can have friends... ;)
     
  20. raynepoe

    raynepoe Companion

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    Jul 21, 2013

    Hi

    I have awful social anxiety, I tend to really stress talking to people who I "need" to like me, like coworkers or my son's friends parents. I tend to be almost silent in those conversations, but I find if I set small goals like at the soccer game before I sit I say Hi and smile to the person next to me it helps. The next time I may add asking who there child is... I have also found that I really liked coaching soccer and having a "role" to play, it helps because I can make my own rules of social interaction.

    Once people get to know me, I am a loud chatterbox! I have a pretty strong core group of friends who joke about how "Raynepoe is a fungus, she grows on you!"

    I also think you might be on the right track with message boards, just maybe this is not the perfect board for you. If you communicate better online there are probably many boards that you can make friends on. Just be very careful about internet safety and protecting your real identity.

    Just like what others have said, high school is short in the great scheme of things, and I think with your specific academic interests you will love college courses!
     

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