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What to do when you dislike a student???

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by msmillreef, Jan 8, 2020.

  1. msmillreef

    msmillreef New commenter

    Hey all,
    I've posted here because I'm teaching overseas and you lot always seem to help when I need advice. I'm in a really good school but I dislike one of my students and I feel so bad about it. The student is cocky and very sneaky. He has been suspected of vandalizing a display in my room. He's also be found to cyberbully others but he tends to set things up then step back and watch the chaos. I feel very bad about "hating" a child but I can't even make eye contact with him. Thankfully he will be leaving at the end of the year (phew) but I have him until then and I have to write a report soon. What should I write, how do I deal with him and am I a terrible person for hating a child??????
    Millreef
     
  2. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Make your report 100% professional and factual. Be careful to have plenty of evidence, just in case anyone challenges anything you have written in your report. Use lots of well-worn (and fairly meaningless) phrases that you have already used for 200 or 300 other students, so that no one in the SLT will guess how much you hate and loathe this dreadful student.

    These days, there is a rather popular idea floating around many staffrooms that all children are inherently good, sweet and adorable. (Maybe one or two of them might not be quite so marvellous, but that is probably the fault of evil adults who have corrupted them.) Anyone who has read William Golding's classic The Lord of the Flies will probably think think quite differently.

    I am sure that I would probably detest this child, if I had the misfortune to come across the little *******. So don't beat yourself up about hating him, msmillreef. Anyway, some of the children you teach, even some of the really nice ones, probably hate you, especially when you tell them off or give them a difficult homework. But who told you that teaching is a popularity contest?
     
    alex_teccy, ajrowing and msmillreef like this.
  3. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    I guess you can't help how you feel, but hate seems like a very strong reaction. Yes, some children/people can be unpleasant, unlikable and even bad (or at least act that way), but unless the child has physically targeted you or your own child or tried to get you fired, it's hard for me to imagine actively hating a student to the degree that you can't even look them in the eye.

    I have felt that way about certain colleagues and/or parents of students, and as advised, you continue to try to be professional and civil and do your job. As for the report, include what you feel you must but be clinical, stick to known facts and make suggestions for how they can grow and make progress. Also, consider what and how much you really need to say in this case and whether the possible blow back on you is really worth it (especially as they will soon be leaving).
     
  4. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    I must admit, I have been in this position back in the UK - I had a couple of students I simply didn't trust and didn't enjoy teaching. The key here is to remain professional. Make sure whatever you do say is supported - be it academically or behaviourally - and hippo is right, use those stock phrases in the bank of reports which you probably already have.

    With regards to the cyberbullying, this is something which the school should be cracking down on. We're not in the UK any more- you can confiscate the phone, if you suspect it's being used in this way.
     
  5. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    In the 21 years I taught in UK Secondary schools, there were probably about 40 children that I intensely disliked (I wouldn't say hate). Sometimes this was because they were sneaky and sly, but most of the time it was because they were nasty, selfish, lazy arrogant little sh-1-ts who did everything they could to make teachers' lives hell on earth - and they thought it was funny.
    The biggest frustration was that I had to be the reasonable one - always - holding back the temptation to call them out for what they were and be eternally polite and helpful and understanding.
    I realise, looking back, that I was working in the wrong type of school. I'm not a social warrior, I'm a teacher.
     
  6. MsBuzy

    MsBuzy New commenter

    How about being an adult professional?
     
  7. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    So it was the schools fault stoppers, not the child, his parents or, lord above, you!!!!
     
  8. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    Agree. Over the years there have been a few students I have consciously disliked but I've never met anyone I actually hated (this even goes for teachers). I became a head of school 34 years ago in an era before calling a spade a bloody shovel was regarded as politically incorrect, so being 'eternally polite and helpful and understanding' with some repulsive little scrote might just be a step too far for me. But I agree with the hippo et al that careful record keeping is desirable. More than that, if you are conscious of disliking a person I believe there is a moral imperative to treat them slightly better than you think they deserve. And as for not being able to look them in the eye, my hard stare is famous on four continents.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
    claytie likes this.
  9. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    I think you have misunderstood the point I was making. It wasn't the schools fault, no. It wasn't entirely my fault either, or indeed the Lord above.
    I don't think that blame comes into it.
    In hindsight, trying to be objective, I came to realise that the type of schools I worked in (2 large comprehensives in a deprived area where many of the children and their parents were negative and challenging towards teachers) didn't suit my personality or character - AND vice versa.
    A bit like when you buy a pair of trousers that don't fit/suit you, but don't realise until you have worn them for a week and can't take them back.
    (BTW did you get a box of exclamation marks for Christmas?)
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  10. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    Never disliked a student that much where I had to go online to ask,

    1) How to write a report on student Y?
    A teacher should be professional and knowledgeable enough to construct sentences clearly communicating student Y's challenging social skills.

    2) Ask how to deal with them?
    If you have worked and actually enjoyed working in an Inner-London comprehensive school.... Everthing else is water of a duck's back.

    Effective teachers with solid behavior management skills can see beyond the rudeness and other challenging behaviors of students like student Y. Teachers like these will always try to work with student Y's strengths over the term, even years.
     
  11. miketribe

    miketribe Established commenter

    I agree with the Captain. Years and years ago, I was riding the school bus and noticed that the 11-year-old sitting next to me looked upset, so I asked her what the problem was. “It’s not fair,” she whimpered. “You like Heather more than you like me...” Heather was a really nasty child. She was endlessly telling tales on her classmates, cheated whenever she got the chance, and bullied weaker kids unless you watched her constantly. I really couldn’t bring myself to like her. But, as the Captain observed, I bent over backwards to hide my feelings — obviously way too successfully for miserable little Monica (who’s now a doctor and the mother of two lovely children — no idea what happened to Heather. Axe murderer somewhere?)
    I do feel for the original poster. “Hate” is probably the wrong word, but I remember Carl from my last comprehensive in England before I fled the country. He didn’t like me so he took to making obscene phone calls to my home, some of which were answered by my 10-year-old sister. Fortunately for me, I left for Tehran soon after the phone calls started, but I can see that such a solution may seem a little radical, especially given the current international political climate...
     
  12. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    I'm confused by that last part. You're a teacher leaving for your first international school after working in several UK comprehensives and you have a 10 year old sister? Are you one of those 'child geniuses'?
     
  13. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    When I have found dislike seeping into my feelings for a student, I have gone the other way and taken an interest, and tried to be nice to them, in the end, I have always found myself feeling some sympathy, even liking.

    Fake it til you make it
     
    T0nyGT and MsBuzy like this.
  14. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    I worked in a Catholic school back in the days when most RC families still practised Vatican Roulette. The age range among siblings could be phenomenally wide. We had pupils who were older than their uncles and aunts.
     
    T0nyGT and MsBuzy like this.
  15. miketribe

    miketribe Established commenter

    I was, if I remember correctly, 25 when I left England, and my sister was 10. She was a bit of an accident...
     
    T0nyGT and MsBuzy like this.
  16. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    Wow that's quite a gap!
     
  17. miketribe

    miketribe Established commenter

    Certainly is... I have one brother three years younger than me, one ten years younger than me, and my little sister...
     
  18. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    There's a 22 year age gap between the eldest and youngest of my aunt's kids.

    I've never hated a student but there are some I haven't liked very much (in the past). I always remain happy and smiley with all my students so I'm not sure they would ever realise I felt any other way about them. I'm a specialist so I don't have to see the same kids day in day out which probably makes it easier.
     
  19. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    @taiyah
    With regard to your last paragraph, it is possible to do all of these things, but still have difficulties relating to and/or liking a student.
    The one sided nature of this relationship gets tiresome after a while, particularly if there are a number of students for whom you are doing that.
    If you can't manage to achieve this, or choose to accept it is a lost cause, it isn't necessarily a failure on the teachers part, more a sign of human nature.
     
    ejclibrarian likes this.
  20. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    @stopwatch things don't become tiresome.... Because an effective teacher with a solid behavior management skills and strategies can identify a lost cause from a mile away. Particularly those who have worked in tough boroughs of Inner-London... But these children don't suddenly disappear. You still have to manage them.... Why? Because the other 26 want to learn.
     

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