What to do when your students hate you. :(

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by pinkcupcake90, Jan 28, 2016.

  1. pinkcupcake90

    pinkcupcake90 Companion

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    Jan 28, 2016

    Hi, everybody.

    I'm a new teacher this year, and my period 4/5 seniors are quite rude. They have made me cry on several occasion because they hate reading. It's an English class! :(

    Today, I was talking to one of my juniors, and he said the worst thing a teacher could hear: "Miss H, your seniors hate you with a burning passion. They talk badly about you all the time."

    I understand that I can be strict sometimes, but I always offer extra credit opportunities and my tests are so easy. I did have to kick out two students for their anti-Muslim and discriminatory remarks, but what else was I supposed to do?

    I hate being hated, especially at this new school where I want to stay. I'm long-term subbing for a teacher that's not coming back, so I want to stay. I love this job more than anything. Literally. Anything. My weekends are spent lesson-planning and grading because I love literature more than life itself. I just thought that kids would actually like me.

    Is it normal to be hated by seniors as a teacher?
     
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  3. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Jan 28, 2016

    These things are mutually exclusive. Extra credit and easy tests are not a substitute for how you work with students.

    I'm not saying what you are doing is wrong because I have nothing to go by. You didn't share much about how you run your class or what you mean by strict. I wouldn't keep in your mind that somehow extra credit and easy tests somehow would make up for hard feelings in other aspects of teaching whether real or perceived by the students.

    It is interesting that the seniors hate you but the juniors seem to not hate you. What is the difference between the groups? I know sometimes when there are multiple teachers teaching a subject and one is favored over the other, the students who are not in the favored teachers class see many things as problems and feel they got the short end of the stick whether or not it is the truth.
     
  4. pinkcupcake90

    pinkcupcake90 Companion

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    Jan 28, 2016

    Wow. Reading your post just made me feel worse. Let's hope my juniors don't secretly hate me now.
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 28, 2016

    Slow down, pink. Have a hug and a tissue, and then listen, please: I think a2z's point is to help us help you figure out how much of the seniors hating you can be pinned on things you can control vs. how much can be pinned on some senior ringleaders deciding they've got an easy mark to pick on.
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Jan 28, 2016

    That was not my intent. I apologize. I was not implying the juniors might hate you at all. That didn't even cross my mind. But I have seen one grade hate a teacher and another not for reasons that have nothing to do with what the teacher is doing. I was trying to say that maybe the seniors hate you because there is a beloved other English teacher and they are not happy they couldn't all get the other teacher. So, they take out their frustrations on you. In a situation like that, it can be hard to win them over. I've seen that situation play out. It happens, and it has nothing to do with you.

    The juniors don't have this same situation so they take you for who you are and how you teach. They seem to like you.
     
  7. pinkcupcake90

    pinkcupcake90 Companion

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    Jan 28, 2016

    Thanks. A part of me thinks I love the wrong job. Maybe I should switch districts.
     
  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Jan 28, 2016

    I would respectfully suggest that you stay in this district for the time being. They hired you knowing you are AR, and you should finish out your certification process with them. Not the answer you want, but what you need to hear. We can't all drop everything and run when the going gets rough. Many teachers, traditional and AR, have been where you are. The first year is hard, the second a little better - you are now a familiar face in the school, those pesky seniors are gone, and you will find a rhythm. You want to stay with this school until your credentials are completed. Then, if not happy, look around with your standard certificate. Don't make your life harder by messing with the process.
     
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  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 28, 2016

    How big is the district? Might it be an option to transfer to a different school within the district?
     
  10. pinkcupcake90

    pinkcupcake90 Companion

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    Jan 28, 2016

    I don't want to leave, but sometimes I feel like I'm so hated that they don't even want me there. :(

    The district is quite small. I just have to get used to being hated. It's really not easy.
     
  11. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Jan 28, 2016

    I can offer a few thoughts. First of all, it is common to struggle as a new teacher -- most of us did! And unfortunately, I think it is common for students to "hate" teachers who struggle because they expect us to be perfect, and don't understand why we are struggling. They just sense that we are nervous, or stressed, or unhappy, and they feel this as a criticism of themselves, which makes them "hate" the person they think hates them. Kids are incredibly emotionally aware -- I swear they can smell fear, just like horses!

    Adding to that is the special nature of seniors, which I am experiencing myself for the first time this year. HS seniors often feel entitled to the best of everything -- the "best" teachers, the easiest assignments, the best grades, everything handed to them on a golden platter. They think they know everything, and you know nothing.

    At my school, no one in the English department wants to teach seniors. Of the four senior teachers, two are new hires, and I myself am just up to full-time on this campus this year. The two new hires are really struggling with their seniors' attitudes and disrespect. I have had my ups and downs with them too, but overall I feel like we have "come to an understanding." I think seniors are highly aware of a teacher's "reputation" and if you don't have one yet, or if you don't have a good one, they will let it show. Sorry if that sounds blunt, but it's what I've observed this year. They seem to be close enough to college where you can (for the most part) pick and choose your school, classes, even profs, and they seem to feel entitled to the same level of autonomy at the HS level, even though it doesn't exist.

    I can safely say that most of my students my first year teaching "hated" me. I was inconsistent, emotional, reactive, overwhelmed, and basically barely hanging on by a thread. I wish I could go back and do it over! I stayed at the same school for three years and every year got a little better, as I got better and my "rep" improved. It can change, but you have to change first.

    As someone else said on another thread -- the great thing about teaching is that you get to start over again every year. You do get a fresh start and you can change your reputation.
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jan 28, 2016

    I see a couple of things.
    1. I thought you were new teacher, but you now said you're a long term sub. I think that might make things harder for you, because a lot of students view long term subs as a temporary teacher, not they're actual teacher. because of this sometimes they don't listen, they don't have respect as if a sub is less than a teacher (so wrong) and they might not even want to get attached to you because they know you will be leaving. Even if they know you will be there for the rest of the year, they might not see it that way.
    There's not much you can do about this, time will make it easier, just stay consistent with everything.
    2. seniors vs. juniors. Seniors and juniors are more mature, so they're normally easier to reason with, and get along with them, as the they're not so immature. But some seniors have a bad attitude thinking they're all that because they're graduating, they act entitled, or some of them actually shut down and are scared to grow up and go out in the real world, and because of this their attitude could come in many forms. I find juniors much more enjoyable, they're mature, but don't really have a bad attitude.
    3. if you're teaching style is different that the other teachers, the kids might resent it, but I never cared about it at all. If you make them take notes, for example, but with the other teacher they hardly have to write, some could really dislike you. I get this a lot, because I hold them to very standards and they always do more work than most of the other classes. I wouldn't say they hate me, some might not like it, but I don't care.
    In the real world we have to work to get paid, nothing is handed to us free, so if they want to earn credit they have to do the work. 5 credits of English is not given to them as a gift.

    So what I'm trying to say is that even though it's hard, it will get better, just keep doing what you're doing, and stay consistent.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
  13. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Jan 28, 2016

    I'm sure Whole Brain works awesome with some groups, but the seniors I've taught would have a coronary if you tried that with them.
     
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  14. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 29, 2016

    One thing to keep in mind, just because one student comes up and says that the whole grade hates you doesn't necessarily make it true. Kids are very selective in their friend groups, and perhaps a lot of people in their particular friend group (the populars, the geeks, whatever) may not like you, but it's highly likely there is a whole other portion of your students who may not mind you or even likes you.

    Just remember that your goal isn't to be liked by students. Being a liked teacher should come way after all of the other things like holding them accountable for their behavior, for their learning, and challenging them mentally.

    Generally speaking, once you become a teacher who is able to hold students accountable for their behavior, and run a tight classroom without getting angry or frustrated at behavior (the key is to realize that their behavior is THEIR responsibility, and your responsibility is just to hold them accountable for it through consequences, neutrally and calmly and without engaging in argument), likability comes soon after, simply for the reason that kids enjoy being in your class because it is well managed. Having interesting and engaging activities, and speaking with students about their lives will assist you in this goal as well.

    Don't let what one student says get you down. I think we've already mentioned that maybe a new school is a possible option for you, if you really feel that this environment isn't conducive to your growth as a teacher. Even if you don't move, just keep on keeping on with your studies into classroom management and pedagogy. Regardless of if students talk, each new year is a new year. Also yes, as a long-term sub you have a more difficult position than a new teacher. But after this year, guess what, you just got your first bit of experience, and the next year will be better, guaranteed, because of your experiences.
     
  15. pinkcupcake90

    pinkcupcake90 Companion

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    You guys, I really appreciate your feedback. Thank you so much. :)
     
  16. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I agree with what the others have said: you can't trust the word of this one student to be the actual truth. Seniors are the most difficult age to teach, IMO. They really think you work for them and get very ugly when they don't get their way. The only teachers at my school that seniors "like" are the ones that let kids get away with everything. Oh, those teachers are adored!

    I do want to comment on something you said: that hearing that your students hate you is the worst thing a teacher can hear. Nope, not even close. I would much rather hear that students hated me than hear that all of my students failed their state-written final exam. I would much rather hear that they hate me than learn that I was considered the "cool" teacher at school. To hear that a student felt ignored all year in my classroom.

    "Hate" is transient. It means that students don't like the rules and they're in the midst of a temper tantrum. Respect is what you want, not love. Respect will come with time. And usually an official teacher title. Subs seldom get the respect they deserve. Do not sweat this.
     
  17. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Jan 31, 2016

    I tell my students "You are allowed to hate me - you might, and that is ok. You are not allowed to let your feelings effect your work. You need my class to graduate, so make sure you get the work done and to the best of your ability. Don't let me know how you feel - let me know you are ready to pass." If they pull teen temper tantrums on me I try to redirect to why they are in my class - Credits and graduation. I doubt I'm ever going to win favorite teacher award in the yearbook - that's just not me. I am there to help them prep for college and jobs. I find that as I focus on my job it helps them to focus on theirs.
     
  18. HSEnglishteach

    HSEnglishteach Rookie

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    I feel your pain, Cupcake. I went through this exact mental struggle my first year. I think most of us do. The ironic paradox is that the less you care about being liked, the more you're often liked, but that's not useful advice to you because you can't help wanting to be liked! It's human nature.

    So here's the best advice I can give you. Teaching is incredibly mental, and in that way it's like playing a sport. How you feel about yourself has a big impact on how the students perceive you. If you're calm, in control, and happy, your life becomes much easier. But when you get into your own head (or let students get into it), you can be in big trouble. I would suggest taking the following steps, starting today if possible:

    1. Slow down. Slow the pace of your voice. Stop moving around when you teach and instead stand in one spot. Carry yourself with calm and composure at all times, regardless of what's happening within your classroom.
    2. Smile at students. Try to find joy as you teach (this is tough if things aren't going well, but try!).
    3. Remember that you are in control of your classroom, and not your students. New teachers tend to be overly deferential to students and to care too much what they think. You are the master of your universe, not your students.

    The second piece of the puzzle is technical and it's about expectations, praise, and consequences. Before each command you give, let students know exactly what you expect. If you want them working independently, should it be silent or may they speak in whispered voices? Be perfectly clear about what you want, and when you get it, thank them for meeting your expectations. If you don't get it, redirect first and if they fall off again impose a sanction.

    In order to improve your practice the most important thing is changing your own mental state.
     
  19. bridgebreaker

    bridgebreaker Rookie

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    Feb 20, 2016

    Have you read, Tough Guy Torture Teachers? There is a segment of youth culture that plays a game where the students pick on the teacher. Think "monkey in the middle." Slap the bull." and classic bull fighting. Translate that to Teacher in the middle, slap the teacher, and then picture the matador (student) fighting the (teacher) bull. The object of the game is reputation. In the gangs, reputation means promotions and money.
    It's written by a teacher who taught in a city school.,
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
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  20. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Feb 21, 2016

    Looking back at high school, my favorite two teachers were two we loved to complain about. I think both would say they were very hated. They were strict and had high expectations. I remember lots of mean comments from students to my favorite teacher's face and behind his back. He was easy to complain about. The truth though is we loved his class. The books he used were amazingly interesting, and he taught us so much. I threw a kind word or two at him before I graduated, but most of the years no one dared say something kind to him. A strict teacher was not someone you openly appreciated. It simply "wasn't cool".

    Being strict will probably get you less open praise, but deep down many of your students get that you are helping them and probably appreciate it. High school simply isn't an age where students show their true feelings for a teacher...it is too risky. A private survey might tell you something on issues of how fair they perceive you, how helpful, and how much they enjoy your class. Even that will probably be slanted in a bias way toward the negative due to the age you teach. Remember what high school students want and need are often two different things.
     

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