How to help a Child who Doesn’t like his Teacher

It is just not possible for any one person to like everyone. No matter how hard we try or how many times we are told in Sunday School or at home that we need to love everyone, it is just not human nature to like everyone that we meet. There will be a time in our life when we meet someone that we don’t like. There is no way around it.

The sad thing is that there are times when that person we meet may be someone with whom it will be necessary for us to spend time and interact with. There may be a time when a person who will play a very important role in our future is someone that we just don’t get a long with. One such time may be when that person we dislike is our teacher.

I know, it’s hard to believe that a child might dislike his or her teacher. After all, all teachers are perfect and every child that is assigned to their classroom should just fall over backwards with respect and an undeniable like for the professional educator whose care they have been placed in.


It doesn’t always happen that way. At the elementary level it is more common for students to like their teacher. These youngsters are more in awe of the teacher and the school experience is still relatively new to him or her; it is still an adventure and the teacher is the guide. This doesn’t mean that they will not have an elementary teacher that they don’t like, but it is truly not that common at this level.

However, once a child begins to mature and grow he or she might lose the notion that the teacher is a friend and true dislike may begin to set in. This is especially true if the child is having difficulties in the class for one reason or another. No matter what the real cause of the difficulty is, the student is most likely to see the teacher as the problem.

Students may begin to think that because he or she is not doing as well at the post-elementary level that it is because the teacher assigns too much homework, or that there is never enough time in class to finish the assignment, or the instructions are too vague. And believe it or not, there are some students who feel that the teacher is out to get them.

Why, that would never happen; would it?

It could happen, but we are fortunate that it does not happen very often. But for whatever reason, the student has developed a dislike for the teacher and it is imperative that some form of intervention take place.

In most cases, the parent will step in and visit with the child. In this case, the parent has to be very careful when attempting to explain and diffuse the situation. It is important that the child not be led to believe that he or she is right and that the teacher doesn’t like him or her. It is not an easy task, but the parent needs to talk with the child (not TO the child, but WITH the child) and work with him or her to get to the real problem.

A conversation needs to occur in which the student is encouraged to seek out the cause of the problem. This will involve discussing classroom behavior, length of assignments, grades and grading, extracurricular activities, and the attitude of the child toward school in general. If an answer is not found during this discussion, it will be time to use the direct method and ask, What is it that you don’t like about the teacher?.

In most cases, the answer to this question will be one of the following:

too much homework we can’t talk in class the work is too hard she never explains anything she embarrasses me in front of the class

Most of these indicating that it is not the teacher that the child doesn’t like but rather it is the work load or a particular situation.

For example, a child may feel that the teacher is embarrassing him or her if the child is called upon to answer a question that he or she does not know how to answer correctly. At this point, it is important for the parent to point out that the teacher is only doing her job, and that there is no shame in not knowing an answer. After all, that is why we go to school anyway, to learn the answers.

Parents may want to give their children advice on how to take better notes and how to study more effectively for exams. This makes the work seem easier and lessens the work load and stress and may help to repair the student/teacher relationship.

The point is, most of the time it is not really the teacher that the child does not like. It is something else that is occurring at school or at home or in the child’s social life and the teacher is a really good scapegoat in many cases.

But, there are those times when personalities will clash. Helping the child to understand that the relationship with the teacher is a short one, no more than a year in most cases, and he or she should be encouraged to do his or her best to work to get through the year with minimal stress and negativity. The school counselor or principal may be able to help in this situation, as well.

This is the bottom line, in order to help a child who doesn’t like his teacher, the parent and child must communicate and determine what the real problem is. Is it really dislike for the teacher, or dislike for the subject, work, or school itself.