Dear eNotAlone: I'm having a really hard time dealing with my teacher this semester. I feel like he's out to get me. He always has something to say and it's never good. Whenever I turn in an assignment, he always finds something wrong with it and dock points from me--and everyone else in the class is getting A's on their assignments. I don't know how to handle this anymore. I've talked to him about it, but he just says that I'm not trying hard enough. He doesn't see how hard I'm working or how much effort I'm putting into everything. He just sees what's wrong and nothing else. What can I do?
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Dealing with an unsupportive teacher can be incredibly challenging and it sounds like you are feeling overwhelmed. It is important to make sure to use your resources, both in and outside of the classroom. When it comes to classroom assignments, it may be wise to seek help from other students, tutors, or even your school's student support services. Doing extra research into what the assignment requires and extra steps you can take to make sure your work is up to standards.
If talking with your teacher doesn't seem like it is helping, then it may be beneficial to talk to someone in an authority figure. Talk to the department head or academic advisor who may be able to provide further advice and help to mediate the situation. It could be that there is something you are not aware of that could be prompting your teacher's behavior and by talking with a knowledgeable person in the department, you could gain insight into what could be causing the continued conflict.
It is important to find a way to cope with your teacher's criticism and think of constructive ways to address the issues raised. Taking notes on what your teacher has said and returning to look over your assignments could help identify potential areas for improvement. Utilizing any feedback given, no matter how negative, can help you better understand where you need to improve and how to avoid making those same mistakes in the future.