ic S/general/checkmark circled Thanks for subscribing! Be on the lookout for our next newsletter.
ic S/general/checkmark circled
Saved to My Favorites. View My Favorites
Articles / Applying to College / This Teacher Doesn't Like Me!

This Teacher Doesn't Like Me!

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Feb. 5, 2016
Question: I am a senior, and I am having problems with my AP teacher. My relationship with this teacher is really bad. I have been depressed since last semester, and I was late and absent to the class many times. So I sincerely apologized to the teacher that I was late and absent many times and asked him if he can understand me better because I was so depressed last semester. But, he does not understand me. Even though he knows I am depressed, he just reprimands me and always picks on me in the class, He became very biased toward me. I disputed with him a lot. He sent my counselor email that I am disrespectful to him.

Would this teacher send to the college I applied about how I do in his class to hurt my chance to college? Would this happen? I am really worried about this. I am waiting for the decision, and that college is my first choice. Would the teacher send email to the college to hurt my chances?

Also, do counselors write bad things about a student? I am concerned because my AP teacher sent email to my counselor saying I am disrespectful, and I have had some problems with other teachers as well. Would counselor write negative recommendation about me?

Teachers are not supposed to pick favorites … or least favorites. But, since we all know that some teachers have “pets," it's inevitable that some have “pet peeves" as well. This can mean that they may not treat all of their pupils equally … or even fairly. In many cases, the student has clearly prompted the teacher's ill feelings but, in other cases, it can be harder to ferret out the reasons behind a teacher's apparent annoyance. So, whenever a student senses that he or she is not liked by a teacher, the next steps can be tricky. Most teenagers are wary of doing anything that might anger the teacher and make the situation even worse. But, on the other hand, letting the conflict fester is unwise as well.

So here are a few suggestions for you:

  1. Write a letter to your AP teacher. Don't mention anything about the fact that you feel that he picks on you. Simply say that you think that the two of you seem to have “gotten off on the wrong foot" so you want to apologize (again) for any problems you've caused by your tardiness and absences and for any disrespect that he construes from your behavior. Explain that you have been suffering from depression (even if you're sure he already knows). If you are being treated for this depression by a professional, be sure to say this as well. It will make your claim sound “legitimate." (And if you are NOT being treated, then you SHOULD be. Speak to your parents, if possible, about getting outside help or talk to your school counselor or school psychologist, if there is one. If your depression is serious enough that it's affecting your school work, you ought to seek help for it.) In your letter, also ask the teacher if he would like to meet with you in person to discuss ways that you can improve your performance in his class and to make amends for his current view of you.
  1. Tell your counselor that you have written this letter. Since the teacher has told the counselor about your alleged disrespect, it is important for you to show your counselor that you are facing this issue and are concerned about it. Meanwhile, you must make every possible effort to attend this class regularly and to arrive on time.
  1. Wait for a response. If there is NO response from the teacher and you see no change in the way he treats you, then it's time to speak to your counselor again and set up a meeting between the counselor, the teacher, your parents and maybe the school psychologist.

It is highly unlikely that this teacher will contact your target colleges directly, and it is also unlikely that the comments he made to your counselor in his email will be relayed to the colleges. But since you say that you have had problems with other teachers as well, then it's possible that the counselor did mention this pattern in the letter of reference. During the course of a four-year high school career, it's common for students to get along well with some teachers and less well with others. But when there are multiple problems with different teachers, this can be a flag that the student needs help. So do what you can to salvage the remaining months with this AP teacher but, at the same time, seek assistance with your depression—if you have not already done so—and address the fact that you have had conflicts with more than one teacher. Transitioning to college can be a challenge for everyone, and you want to put yourself in the strongest possible position to take it on.

Best wishes as you proceed.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

More on Applying to College

See all
typing at computer- karolina-grabowska-6958506-resized

Authentic Voice in College Essays

That’s why you want to use your authentic voice when writing any college essay.

So what’s the problem? A student has shared an ess…


College Interview Prep Tips: Brainstorm, Research, Analyze, Generalize

I recently visited Washington University in Saint Louis and was lucky enough to set up an interview. By speaking with peers of mi…

campus gates

Academic Index Scores: Why They Matter and How They're Calculated

Note: Click here for 10 Summer Programs You Can Still Apply For or keep reading to learn more about academic index scores.

8 Podcasts for Students Going Through the Admissions Process

7 Podcasts for Students Going Through the Admissions Process

Podcasts can offer a wealth of information to busy students, particularly when it comes to the college admissions process. We…


Avoid College Application Regrets: Tips For Getting It Right the First Time

Decision Day occurs each year on May 1st and is the deadline for students to inform the college of their choice of their intent t…

Get a student loan that goes beyond tuition.

Ascent offers cosigned and non-cosigned student loans with exclusive benefits that set students up for success.

Explore Now!
Find Your Scholarship

Want to find money for school that doesn’t need to be paid back? Access insights and advice on how to search and apply for scholarships!

Search for Scholarship