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Problems with the teacher

teasing; attention; teacher; unlearning; school; behaviour; consequences ;


The teacher always picks on me

studentNearly everyone gets into trouble at school sometimes, but some children seem to get into trouble at school a lot more than anyone else. If you are someone who seems to be getting into trouble a lot of the time with your teachers, this topic is for you.

Often children who get into trouble will say things like:

"It’s not my fault."

"I always get the blame," or even, "The teacher always picks on me."

teacherThere are two kinds of attention you can get from the teacher.

  • The good kind where you get help, praise and encouragement.
  • The bad kind where you get into trouble, are given consequences (like warnings, time out, office time out, etc.) and the teacher always seems to be watching you, ready to catch you out.

What you need to do is aim for the good kind.

How do you do that? Well let's start with:

What you need to know about teachers

  • They like you to listen.
  • They like eye contact from you when they are talking.
  • They like you to ask and answer questions - of course you have to follow the classroom rules, like waiting until they've finished talking, putting up your hand, waiting until you're asked to speak.
  • playThey like you to get organised quickly when they've given you a task.
  • They like you to do your best work.
  • They are people too!
  • They like you to ask for help if you need it.
  • They like you to finish your work and hand it in on time.
  • They like you to show good manners.
  • They are good listeners when you need them to be.
  • They don't live in the classroom cupboard! They have homes and families too.

What you can do to teach your teacher

 If you think your teacher is 'picking' on you, maybe it's because she or he has learned that you like the 'bad' kind of attention? It's going to take your teacher a while to 'unlearn' that and then learn that you really like the 'good' kind of attention.

  • Look at the teacher and listen.
  • Don't answer if friends talk to you when you are supposed to be listening to instructions or working quietly. Tell them later that you're trying to teach the teacher.
  • Get organised with the right book, pencils etc. at the start of the lesson.
  • Follow classroom rules about asking/answering questions.
  • Get on with the task as soon as you know what it is.
  • Ask the teacher if you don't understand what to do (you don't want to do some 'unlearning,' do you?)
  • Check your work to see if you can improve it.
  • studentQuietly get on with something else if your teacher is busy helping someone else. Hand your work in on time, or if you had a problem, ask if you can have extra time to do the work. (Ask as soon as you have the problem, not at the time when you are supposed to be handing in your finished work!)
  • Show your teacher how responsible you can be, eg. picking up things which have fallen down, sticking up displays which are falling down, reminding him/her politely about times when your class should be somewhere else and carrying out any jobs you have been given which help in class organisation.
  • Show how well you can cooperate with others in group activities.

What if your teacher isn't learning very well?

Sometimes learning something new takes a lot of practice, even if you are a teacher!

'Unlearning' what you believe that know about someone can also take quite a while.

If you are trying really hard to get the good kind of attention and your teacher doesn't seem to be noticing, then there are a few things you might do.

  • Ask the teacher about your work.
  • Ask how to improve on something you have done.
  • Ask if you can help around the classroom.
  • Write a note to your teacher explaining how you are trying to improve and ask for feedback on how you are going. Get mum to write a note if you are too shy.
  • Keep trying to improve.

After all this

If you are still feeling 'picked on' or even bullied by the teacher, then you can tell the teacher how you feel. If you feel too scared to do that then:

  • talk to your school counsellor
  • talk to another teacher who you trust
  • talk to mum or dad
  • talk to the school principal.

It may be

  1. possible to work things out with your teacher
  2. possible to change classes
  3. that you need some help in relating to the teacher
  4. that your teacher needs some help in relating to you.

If you don't talk about it with someone, then nothing will be done.

  • You and your teacher will still feel angry with each other.
  • Your teacher should not use his/her position to bully you.
  • You should not use negative comments and behaviour to bully your teacher.

You and your teacher have the right to feel safe and respected.

Dr Kim says

Dr Kim
"It takes longer to 'unlearn' than to learn the right way, so it may take a while before the teacher starts to give you the 'good' kind of attention. Keep at it - even 'older' people can learn!


Something to do

Here are some situations where you are given the beginning and end of a story. See if you can work out what may have happened in the middle.

  1. Sam saw that a little boy had just opened a full packet of Barbecue chips. "Give them to me," he shouted.
    What happens now?
    The next day Sam shared his packet of Barbecue chips with the little boy.
  2. Mia had lost her pencil. At last she found it under Ton's desk. It was broken.
    What happens now?
    The next day Ton brought a new pencil for Mia.
  3. Alex felt sad that he was the only one who hadn't finished his homework.
    What happens now?
    Alex got the award for most improved at the end of the month.
Sometimes they're happy
Sometimes they're sad
Sometimes they feel good
Other times bad.
Many have kids
A lot like you.
Sometimes they get sick
Just like you do.
Teachers are people.
Adults who care
Ask and they'll tell you.
Show you where
You can do better.
So listen well, do,
Teachers are always
There to help you.
One other thing I think I should tell
They like you to want to learn as well.



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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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