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Getting Along with Teachers: Tips for Middle School Students

written by: Deb Killion • edited by: Tricia Goss • updated: 9/16/2014

As children begin school this year, one of the most important things is to get along with their teachers. While there are varying opinions on this matter, one fact is that the only way to improve relationships between students and teachers is for both sides to try harder to make it work.

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    Are Teachers the Enemy?

    Getting Along with Teachers Some kids feel teachers are “the enemy," and this is unfortunate because kids could learn from their teachers’ experiences if they just gave them a chance. Teachers could also be students’ best resources to help them reach their goals in school, plan their careers and even be a friend when students need someone to listen.

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    Two Sides to Every Story

    Unfortunately, there is another side to this scenario. Most teachers truly care and go out of their way to help kids. They spend time with them after school, tutor them at the students’ houses or anywhere they can meet them and encourage them when they got into trouble. However, some teachers simply do not have that same fervor. They don’t go out of their way at all. In fact, some seem to only be there because they didn’t know what else to do and needed the paycheck. Such reasons are poor substitutes for love, which ought to be a requirement and an absolute necessity for this job.

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    The Challenges of Educators

    Teaching is challenging in nature and growing more so each day. Kids are more demanding than they have ever been. With a moral decline in some families, home breakups and other factors, kids are growing up with an attitude that the world somehow owes them something.

    The truth is, it does. It doesn’t owe them a free ride. It doesn’t owe them pay without work. It does not owe them the right to trample on the rights of others. It owes them a CHANCE.

    Teachers need to quit labeling kids, strive to see every student as a unique and worthy individual and value each child as the special person he or she is. Let’s drop the judgmental attitude that some have and realize that we got in this profession to help kids and regardless of their attitude, we need to be the adult and try to help them.

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    Teach Kids Respect if They Want Respect

    By the same token, parents need to teach kids that even though not all are worthy of it, they need to respect their teachers. Kids need to realize that teachers are human. They react to what kids do more than anything else that affects them. If kids will “go the extra mile" to show respect and ask teachers if they will help them and talk to them, they might be surprised at the results.

    Be as skeptical about this as you want and it will still work, as long as students are showing the right attitude toward teachers. Before you blame a teacher, check into how your child is doing and hold him responsible for a poor attitude.

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    Tips for Parents

    Show support to teachers as much as you possibly can. Let teachers know you expect your kids to adhere to the rules as much as possible, despite whatever challenges they face. This basic psychology accomplishes two things:

    • It communicates to the teacher that your child is not trying to cause problems and may soften the teacher’s view of your child.
    • It gives you some credibility should the school ever take firm action with your child regarding disciplinary steps, because it shows a real effort to do what is right.

    Schools are not beyond compassion and understanding, even when kids do things they should not, so long as the child is trying to correct the behavior.

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    Kids and Teachers

    Some kids do not have attitude issues, but have challenges getting along due to a personality difference or other factors. In such cases, just a bit more effort on the part of the child and communications between parent and teacher are excellent ways to keep the lines of trust open. Teachers will help kids more if they know their parent cares enough to schedule a conference with them, call them at the school or make a concerted effort to improve things.

    Mainly, strive to seek a level of cooperation. Getting along with teachers is not all about the teacher. It is not all about the student. It takes all three: student, parent and teacher to come to a consensus on how to improve things. Sometimes administrators must be involved as well, or seek help from the school counselor.

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    Administrators Must Drop the Stereotypes

    Administrators see things from a bird’s eye view and sometimes label kids or refuse to let them out of the stereotype of “problem kid" because they have seen them in their office so many times. We have to stop doing this if we ever hope to let kids know that we believe they deserve a chance to do better.

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    Empowering Kids to Make Their Own Choices

    Education is not just about learning skills and facts, but so much more than that. It is about learning to get along with others in a challenging world. It is about learning to negotiate differences and accept people for the unique individuals we all are. It is about forgiveness and moving forward. We as adults must allow kids this option to have a chance to learn from their mistakes. If we do not do this, we are depriving them of the one thing they need from us: empowerment.

Social Skills for Middle School Students

How do you help your middle school child learn to make friends and get along with their teachers? Tips for parents on helping their child succeed in school and in life.
  1. Attitudes Count: Tips for Success in Middle School and in Life
  2. Getting Along with Teachers: Tips for Middle School Students
  3. Social Skills for Tweens: How Adolescents Differ from Teens
  4. How to Make Friends in Junior High