How To Deal With Toxic Relationships
The Toxic Teacher
Scientific Name: Toxicus Arrogantiphulus
Symptoms: Condescending, likes to spend class time talking about how smart he/she is; thinks that when three-fourths of the class fails the long test, he/she is doing a good job; takes tips from Simon Cowell on criticizing your work and grading papers.
Causes: Even teachers suffer from low self-esteem. A teacher who rambles on about how well they did in school or how smart they are may be showing off to gain your respect. Others are negative because they are dissatisfied with themselves. There are those who adopt a “reverse psychology” approach when they verbally put you down, but actually mean to challenge you to work harder. They hope that by telling you that you can’t do something, you’ll prove that you can.
Treatment: If more than half the class fails an exam, ask the teacher to go through the test questions and discuss your mistakes, then suggest that you be given a make-up test or extra work. Your teacher will see that you are interested in learning the lesson, not just in raising your grade. If your teacher refuses, approach another teacher whom you trust to act as mediator. If your teacher is constantly badmouthing you or your classmates, approach your homeroom professor and report him/her. Make sure you and your classmates stand united in your version of events.
Bear in mind that like you and me, teachers are human, too. Try to make them feel appreciated by listening in class, doing your best to fulfill class requirements, and asking questions to show that you are interested in the lesson. Ask for supplementary readings for lessons that you are genuinely interested in: “Ma’am, what books do you suggest I read if I want to know more about the Spanish-American War?”
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