7 Steps to Build a Positive Relationship with your Teacher

May 30, 2017NCEA, Study Tips

It’s almost impossible to get along with everyone you meet. Everyone is unique, and has different ways of viewing the world. Inevitably in life, you will bump into people that you simply don’t seem to gel with.

For various reasons during your high school experience, you may also end up clashing with one of your teachers.


Building a good rapport with your teachers is an underrated aspect of school. It can really impact your enjoyment and can greatly increase the support that you get from teachers. While we don’t suggest that you start bringing apples to every lesson, there are some simple steps that you can take to ensure that you and your teacher work well together.

1. Be positive:

Just like in real life, having a positive attitude will show your teacher that even if you don’t like the subject, you have respect for them and are willing to try your best. Most of you have probably been in a situation where you’ve had the opportunity to help someone, and have made your decision based on how they’ve interacted with you. For example, I know I am a lot more likely to give someone directions if they’ve asked politely. The same thing happens in class. Your teachers understand that not everything comes naturally to everyone, but they are much more likely to help if they know that you are trying your best.

2. Be quiet in class:  

We know how tempting it can be to chat to your next door “desk” neighbour. However, even just putting in extra effort to keep your voice down will significantly improve the way your teacher feels about you. If you’re a real chatterbox, then just make sure you follow the golden rule, and don’t speak while your teacher is speaking!

3. Be prepared:

Maintaining a school diary and keeping up with homework shows that you take your study seriously. Even if you don’t understand, making an effort and jotting down a few questions you can ask your teacher will show them that you’ve at least tried to complete the work. If you forget, instead of telling a white lie, offer to make up the work in a different way. Often your teacher won’t actually assign you anything, but will appreciate the sentiment.

4. Participate:

While it’s important to keep your voice down while whispering to friends, don’t stay quiet for the whole of class! Make sure that you are engaged with what’s going on, actively ask questions, and contribute to classroom discussions. At university, part of your grade is sometimes based on participation, so it’s a great habit to get into now!

5. Treat them like real people:

As mentioned above, teachers are people too. They have bad days and good ones, favourite hobbies and interests outside of school. Make sure you acknowledge your teacher when you get to class (just like you would anyone!), and show appropriate interest when they talk about their outside life. As long as you don’t take it too far, they will appreciate you seeing them as more than just a teacher.

6. Don’t be a teacher’s pet:

This may seem contradictory considering the tone of this article so far, but try to avoid going over the top when it comes to being a “good” student. Teachers are able to sense whether or not you are being genuine, and like any person, are unlikely to react well to fake behaviour. Be yourself, and demonstrate that you are hardworking and engaged, but don’t constantly compete for your teacher’s approval.

7. When you still aren’t getting along:

Regardless of the above, sometimes it might feel like no matter what you do, you’re going to clash with one of your teachers. The best thing to do in this situation is to open the lines of communication. While it can be very intimidating, staying behind in class and apologising to your teacher for the relevant behaviour will drastically improve your relationship.

It shows that you’ve identified your mistake, and want to take responsibility for it. If you’re unsure as to why your teacher seems frustrated with you, politely questioning the situation may help you to understand things from their perspective. Something simple, such as “I just wanted to double check that my behaviour in class has been up to your expectations and make sure that I haven’t done something inappropriate”, is fine. In addition to understanding why they seem to dislike you, they will realise that you’ve noticed their treatment, and reflect on whether they are being fair.

Lastly, if you have done the above and your teacher is still treating you badly, then don’t be afraid to be assertive! Stay after class and respectfully state that you are not happy with how you are being treated, and try to mutually create a solution. If that doesn’t work, remember that your parents, and senior staff at your school are all there to help and offer advice on what direction to take.

Having a good rapport with your teacher doesn’t just mean that you’ll get extra support, it also means that classes will be more fun as your teacher will treat you positively. Try out the above tips, and watch how your classroom experience improves!

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