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Why's my teacher acting so cold?

Tagged as: Age differences, Friends, Teenage<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (19 May 2017) 8 Answers - (Newest, 19 May 2017)
A female United States age 18-21, *loralskateboards writes:

My favourite teacher in the whole world is my art teacher. He's 30 so he's younger and is able to connect with certain students really well. He's the type of person who can make stupid or rude remarks that make you laugh, but he'll only do this around a small amount of people.

He and I have always been super close. I know he's a teacher but I'd go as far as to say he's my friend and a better father then my real one. He makes jokes, pretends to hate me, basically verbally messes with me(like a daughter). I look up to him so much and appreciate him so much but sometimes we get into these small or large disagreements or fights.

It pisses me off so much, but I can't hate him. I want to sometimes.

I also have really bad anxiety and lately I've been spending all my free periods in the art room working on hw and artwork, to avoid people at my school and try and get work done.

I've just realized that I'm pretty lonely and feel I can't talk to anyone including him, which is huge because I really really feel I need to talk to him. I feel super depressed, frustrated, and unmotivated to do anything.

One of the reasons I find it hard to approach him, is that he's been in a really bitter mood towards me later, before he'd really care if I was upset or if I did something wrong he'd call me out on my bs, but now he's different. He acts indifferent towards me or kicks me out of his classroom even though I'm doing work! And when I ask him why he ignores me and or he'll say that im not getting anything done and distracting people.

Then if I also try to and apologize for something if i did something wrong he'll say "don't say sorry when you don't mean it" or he'll act super passive aggressive. I've talked to other students that are close with him and when I tell them this stuff they seem surprised because he never does it to anyone else. A few people have even talked to me after class saying they've noticed he's acting hostile towards me...

Today he even was physically ignoring me outside of school, we walk to the same subway station and he goes uptown and I go down town, normally if he sees me, he'd make a funny or sarcastic comment or say high. But today I was at the end of the street and I saw him in the corner of my eye wait until I was crossing the street before heading to the train station, he'd do this for several blocks.

At first I thought maybe he was waiting for one of the other teachers he's friends with, but then once we were in train station, he passed by me without saying high or anything. (I had my friend watch what he did for me, so it didn't look like I was waiting for him)

This makes me really really upset because I feel as though he hates me or doesn't care anymore... I really want to talk to him but I don't know how to, I also really don't know if I should tell him all this stuff or not. I'm just lost. Does anyone have any suggestions or tips on what I should do?

View related questions: depressed, my teacher, period

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (19 May 2017):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntNo points for working out this is the man you wrote about in your former post when you asked if there was any chance of you two having a future (or something similar).

I suspect he feels he has to keep you at arm's length as you are trying to get too close to him. It would be disastrous for his career to allow anything inappropriate to happen between you. He understands where the line is that mustn't be crossed but you don't seem to, hence he is having to distance himself from you to protect his career.

Take a step back, hold your head high and give him his space.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (19 May 2017):

Here's something a little extra. He knows if you have a crush, because crushing teenage girls don't really hide their feelings. They think they're being subtle, not only does he know, but other will notice. That's dangerous for his job. His friendliness is taken the wrong way, and you will do things to get extra attention. He will react very negatively because he doesn't want anyone to think he is being anything but a good teacher. You gave yourself away when you mentioned his age.

You think that the fact he's young gives you more access to his emotionally.

He doesn't appreciate any behavior that resembles flirting. That endangers his job, his credibility, and his reputation. Young girls talk and tell their friends things that gets passed around as gossip. Gossip turns toxic, and they can cost an innocent adult everything. Sometimes your friends go behind your back, and tell him everything you've said.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (19 May 2017):

You are very young, and that means sometimes you will misread or misinterpret adult-behavior. You mentioned in your post that he's like a father to you. Well, fathers have rules and set boundaries. They discipline us, and sometimes they are disappointed in our behavior. They are allowed, and have every right, to display their disappointment and displeasure. So do your teachers. It is part of their job; but there are restrictions that do not allow them to go beyond professional-limits. Fathers and teachers are authority-figures. They are first and foremost, human.

They have bad-days too.

You said you get depressed or anxiety gets the better of you. Don't you think your classmates, the teacher, and others will notice when you're out of sorts, or not on your best behavior? Knowing teenagers as well as I do; you get snarky, moody, and lazy. It's not the teacher's responsibility to point that out, but they can react to it.

You notice only the reaction you get; but for some strange reason, you're (in plural) blind to your own bad behavior. Not you directly, but your age-group in-general. Everyone around you sees it but you. Therefore; everyone gets accused of picking on you. You're the little victim and everybody is mean. Not even remotely the case. If your performance in your schoolwork in other classes is slipping, he knows. Teachers talk!

He sees that you've taken his joking and friendly to mean it's okay to be slack in other studies, mouth-off disrespectfully, show attitude, or be dismissive when you should be paying attention. You're so caught-up in your own little teenage-world, you don't realize the impact your behavior has on those around you. If you don't have a good home-life, or there is family-dysfunction; you sometimes can't help but show your frustration, or act-out either boldly or in subtle ways. Of course your little friends are on your side, and will say; yes, he's being mean to you. Teens stick together, it's in the teen rule-book. It's them against us. As long as we are nice, we're good; but adults have no right to disagree or be upset with teens. Not so!!!

If he ignores you, that's setting a boundary. Don't be overly-familiar. He is still your teacher and an authority. He does not want his friendliness in class to extend to everywhere; because his relationship with you is restricted to the classroom. He is only required to be cordial and polite otherwise. He is one-way in a classroom full of his students; but he is an everyday-adult on the outside.

Take your personal-problems and concerns to your parents or grand-parents. He is not your father. You also have school counselors or a school psychologist who are all there to listen to student concerns and problems. If you have anxiety and get treatment through a therapist; that's what the therapist is there for, to help you to manage your anxiety and depression. To prescribe medication when needed.

Teenagers usually criticize their parents negatively; because they don't let them get-away with everything, or scold them when they are out of line. We don't know if you have a bad father; because teenagers aren't always honest about their parents. They falsely portray them badly when that isn't really the case at all. If you're rebellious and disrespectful, parents have a right to ground and discipline you. They don't have to take your back-talk, and if they provide you with love, food, shelter, and protection; they deserve love and your respect. If they don't get anything in return but your snooty-attitude, you will not get along. That is giving your father benefit of the doubt; because he can't tell his side. You don't even mention anything good about your mother or your parents. That gives me pause. I'm wise and I can read between the lines.

Your teacher is only there to teach you a subject and grade you on your performance. He can make learning fun, and stimulate your desire to learn. He will take special notice of gifted-students. He shouldn't openly show favoritism. He can make your day, and give you inspiration to go out into the world and create. That's what he's paid to do.

Then, he is also a person. He has feelings, emotions, and his patience has limits; and sometimes he is forced to change his behavior for all sorts of reasons. If he is unfairly mistreating you; then tell a counselor, the principal, or your parents. If you need guidance and love, you go to your parents. If you block them out; then he is seeing that side of you that you thought doesn't show. Sometimes your parents talk to your teachers, and they have discussions you aren't aware of.

This may be a different take on your problem that maybe others didn't mention. The other uncles and aunts have you covered in all the other areas. These are wonderful smart people, who care. Just like I do.

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (19 May 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntMy guess is that he knows you have a crush on him. Teachers look out for all the signs. He is trying to nip it in the bud. He is not your friend he is your teacher. I think you should stop using the art room, as it is making him uncomfortable, maybe ask another teacher can you use their room or go to the library. You are using work as an excuse to spend time in his room and it is unhealthy.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (19 May 2017):

Art teachers are funny things..they can be friendlier than other staff because they are trying to find the art genius in you and they can be cold when they think one of their students has no art potential and is just hanging around to bug him!

Ok maybe you have got the hidden art genius in you but word has got out that you are not into art but you are into the art teacher, but in the wrong way!

Did you congratulate him on his engagement or did you scowl?

Did you all sign a card for him and his future wife!

Or did you tantrum because you are still in school and havent got into art college yet?

So what does a girl do in a hormone driven situation that is going all wrong?

You do your best artwork and your best essays.

You accept that he is not a pervert and is not interested in daydreamy youngsters other than as students with deadlines!

You get your work in on time!

You talk to the counsellor about needing a place to go because you feel uncomfortable around other people!

Are they bullying you, sweetheart?

You recognise you have real value as a person in school and outside of school!

You find your hidden talents one day.

Dont be put off art for goodness sake.

If you want to be risky then ask the art teacher when he's getting married and if he wants you all at the wedding?

This situation isnt out of hand yet and if you could accept the reality that he is never going to be in love with you then you will be ok!

Imagine you were doing your hair to go on a night out and a two year old kept messing up your hairstyle...well you would get annoyed with them eventually and put them in another room so that you could finish your hairstyle and go out!

Its the same for him!

He just wants to be a good art teacher and get married to his longstanding girlfriend and buy a house and be a good husband and a good dad to their children together!

He doesnt need a two year old telling him what to do!

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (19 May 2017):

CindyCares agony aunt This teacher is young.. but he is still a teacher and , I imagine, he is not stupid. He knows all about schoolgirls crushing on their teachers, and, I agree with Honeypie, I think that he realized you are reading way too much into what he says and does ,and he is trying to nip in the bud your crush, as something that not only is inappropriate and pointless, but could also make trouble for him in the workplace.

He is trying to cool your ardours. I think he meant to be a good, caring, sensitive teacher- but ne hever wanted to became a worship figure or an erotic object of desire, or even a best friend for you- and he is uncomfortable / annoyed seeing he has become one.

He is a teacher. You are his student. It won't fly. Keep it professional. He is there to teach you art, not to fill your emotional voids or assume a parental role.

Stop making him uncomfortable, and stop romanticizing him.

It's a crush- it will go away, if you don't feed it.

Of course it's lamentable that you feel anxious and lonely, and that you are sort of alienated from your peers. But there are other ways to cope with this and find a solution. Maybe you should talk to a counselor ( particularly in relationship to your social anxiety ), or to the school psychologist if there's one. Or, just to your mom , even if you feel you aren't particularly close : she is , anyway, a woman like you , and not so far from her teen years to not remember clearly how hard it can be to grow up and face the world as a young adult.

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A male reader, Denizen United Kingdom +, writes (19 May 2017):

Denizen agony auntIt may be that you were crossing the boundary of teacher/student relationship. You were getting too close, and he realised it was becoming unhealthy and undesirable.

He isn't there to be your friend. He is there to be your teacher.

If your school provides pastoral care I think you should go and have a talk to them. Tell them about your loneliness. You must realise that your art teacher isn't the answer. I am sure they will be able to listen to your troubles and help you build up to get through them.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (19 May 2017):

Honeypie agony auntSo is this the guy who you are "in love with"?

My guess is that he has picked up on your crush and he is trying to nip it in the bud. He knows you have developed feelings for him and that wasn't his intentions. Now with a teenage girl crushing on him and practically crowding him in his classroom OUTSIDE your normal art hours he feels cornered but he doesn't want to spell it out to you - he think by being "cold and uncaring" you will "get" the point and leave him alone. Not very mature of him.

If you have issues at school with other kids, TALK to your counselor and/or your parents.

If he has told you to take a break from using the art room as your personal refuge, then maybe you need to respect that? I get that it's nice to have a place you can go to and feel less anxious, however, it seems like YOU are making HIM uncomfortable and anxious in return. Maybe try the library?

And no, I don't think you should tell him all your problems, as he doesn't seem very capable of sorting that out or... willing. You CAN NOT force someone to want to help you. And giving you other post I can see why he is distancing himself from you. He doesn't want to lose his job over a teenage girl who is crushing on him.

Like I said, if you have issues at home and with other students TALK to someone who can HELP you. Like a school counselor - THAT is what they are there for. And give your art teacher a break from your "worship".

If you CAN talk to your mom (rather than your Dad) I suggest you do that.

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