I’m in middle school and my mom suggested I write to you. I’m having a problem with one of my teachers. Actually, a bunch of kids in my class are having issues with this one particular teacher. She’s a good teacher, but she yells at us all the time. She practically yells from the minute we walk in to her classroom, and we can’t seem to do anything right.
I had to use the washroom, so I put up my hand. She told me not to raise my hand while she was talking. I waited patiently until she was done, and as soon as she asked if there were any questions, I raised my hand. She chose me and I asked to go to the washroom. Then she yelled at me for not asking a question related to what she had been teaching!
We’re all so confused because in the other class, she told them that if they need to use the washroom, they should just get up quietly and leave without disturbing. But every time someone does that, she yells at them and asks, “Where are you going?!?”
We tried talking to the vice-principal but she just said we needed to give the new teacher some time to get used to our school. None of us want to be yelled at any more.
Teacher with a yelling habit
Students have every right not to be yelled at. That’s no way to positively communicate with anyone about anything. I suggest that you and your friends request a meeting with the teacher, the principal, and, at least, your mom. A parent should definitely be present. Choose one person to speak (perhaps you since you wrote me) so the teacher doesn’t feel ganged up on.
Clearly state your issue: that you and your classmates would like clear rules on how to ask permission to use the washroom when needed. As middle school girls, you may need the washroom more than the boys, and I’m sure there are rules in your school’s board outlining washroom usage.
This letter is persuasive – you’d like the teacher to stop yelling and you’d like clear cut rules that you can then agree or disagree on. But I strongly suggest you start and end your letter with something positive, so the teacher feels appreciated for her work, and not antagonistic towards you moving forward.
Let me know how it goes!
FEEDBACK Regarding the teenage girl who wants to return home from university (Sept. 11):
Reader – “Many people get upset when they start at a new school, especially the first term at university. It can seem so lonely and overwhelming, which is a perfectly natural reaction. Don’t let it throw you.
“Take a deep breath and realize you are not in a hopeless position. Many people would give anything to get your opportunity. You owe it to yourself and others to at least give it a chance. If you quit and leave without trying, you may regret it for the rest of your life.
“Much work has gone into getting you where you are, and it would be very difficult (and probably expensive) to change your mind now. Better to finish that first term or first year, and then transfer; hopefully with credits so you haven't wasted time and money. You might even get over that hump and start to like it where you are.
“Your situation is not a jail sentence. Rather than quit, stick it out for at least one term. The loneliness and unhappiness may pass, and if it doesn't, then you can make a change, knowing that you gave the school and yourself a good try.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who can’t stand her husband (Sept. 13):
Reader – “This woman needs to give her head a shake. There must have been some endearing qualities and positive things about her husband that motivated her to marry him years ago. She should reflect upon those rather than expect what appears to be a shy partner to suddenly become the life of the party.
“By continuing to criticize his limited contribution to conversation she is only making him feel inadequate, which will in turn diminish his self-esteem. She might try instead to give him some suggestions for stimulating conversation. For example, a recent news article based upon which he could then ask, ‘What did you guys think about the blah blah blah...?’ Or, ‘Did you read what so-and-so said recently about...?’
“This woman should be thankful that she has a smiling husband and isn’t married to a grouch.”