Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

The Hired Girl

Laura Amy Schlitz

Devil Teacher

ask_the_recap-devil _teacher_1There’s one teacher in my school who everyone says is the worst. My sister had him and hated him. Now I have him. I tried to have a good attitude going into this year, but he’s HORRIBLE. He’s mean to all of us and wants everyone to fail.

I have to do well in this class. Any advice?

--H.C. USA


ask_the_recap-devil _teacher_4Good for you for doing your best both to learn, and to stay positive, in spite of this teacher’s shortcomings. Even if you and this teacher never become BFFs, that kind of mindset will help you excel in a world in which you won’t always have the most warm and fuzzy teachers and bosses.

Our first bit of advice: Keep up the good attitude.

Actually, you’ve already answered your question in another way, too. You say you have to do well in this class, so don’t let anything prevent you from doing your best.

No matter how lousy your teacher may be, you can master the material. Form a study group so you and your friends can help each other. (Just don’t spend all your time talking about how horrible your teacher is!) Ask a parent, older sibling, or smart upperclassman to explain things you don’t understand. Consider getting a tutor.

In other words, do whatever it takes to understand the subject matter, and then use that understanding to rock your homework, tests, and papers.

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Finally—and yeah, this is asking a lot—try to find a shred of sympathy for this teacher.

We’re not excusing his behavior. But as you know from your own life, people are rarely in a bad mood without a reason.

Who knows what’s going on in this teacher’s personal life, or what struggles he is facing that are provoking this behavior—yes, even year after year. As strange as it may sound, this teacher probably needs a lot of love.

How do you give him love? Start by finding one good thing about this teacher, and then focus on it.

Maybe it’s something as small as the fact that this teacher shows up for work every day (even when you’d rather have a sub). Maybe he takes care to dress nicely. Or maybe, when you bump into this teacher at the grocery store, you notice what a sweet relationship he has with his kid.

Whatever the good thing is that you find, try not to lose sight of it. That little bit of good may be exactly what you need to survive your year.

Or, even better, it could help you find a hidden gem inside an otherwise-ugly piece of rock.

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