Posted in Tips for Young Writers

What if You Don’t Agree with Your Teacher

If you’ve stuck with me for any time you know my views on the importance of education. Here I talk about the importance of picking the right course for you, here I discuss how education is not a luxury but a necessity and here I talk about the importance of finding someone who pushes you.

But, what if you are doing a course or making the most of you English class, but there’s something that your teacher/instructor has said that you don’t agree with? It’s easy to resolve a disagreement about cold, hard, facts – once a student pulled me up on the hierarchy of courts in Australia, so we Googled it – but what about method and the craft of writing?

This happened to me recently when I was doing a fantastic course with an awesome instructor on character development. But, one of her methods just didn’t ring true for me. I know how frustrating it can be. So, here’s my tips:


Sometimes, a new idea or approach takes time to become comfortable. What you’re feeling might be less about the actual approach and more about your role as novice. So, keep trying. Don’t dismiss something after the first encounter, give yourself the opportunity to become comfortable with the technique.

2)Seek Clarification

If something still doesn’t work for you, ask questions. Don’t be put off if the class has already moved on to something else – if it was worth including in the lessons, then it should be worth it to your teacher that you understand it and get it right.


Along side seeking clarification from you teacher, is doing your own research. Take the key terms from the concept you’re struggling with, plug them into Google (or the search engine of you choice) and see what other people have to say. May someone else can explain it in a way that makes more sense. Maybe they have other options you could use in lieu of your teacher’s approach.

4)Strike your own path

In the course I mentioned, I never came to terms with one of my instructor’s methods. I followed steps 1 to 3 and it never rang true for me. So I altered it to be something that was useful for me. The further research I had done helped, as had asking my instructor for more details and examples. Then, I was able to develop an approach that worked for me. Whenever I was expected to use that particular method, I skipped over it. There’s nothing to stop you cherry-picking the information that works for you and leaving the rest behind.

What if you’re a child or teenager?

It can get tricky when you’re a child or a young adult. Obviously, a child and their adult teacher aren’t peers and, especially in a school setting where a teacher is required to also be a disciplinarian, there is a power imbalance. Some teachers see themselves as facilitators but others will see themselves as the fount of knowledge and discourage anything that feels like a challenge to that. My advice is to always be respectful and, if your teacher is the inflexible kind, fake it. In your own time you can use the method that you know is truest and best for you, but in class don’t give teacher an excuse to be a pain in the arse.


I'm an educator, mum and wife living in beautiful Victoria, Australia. I make learning resources for passionate, but time-poor, teachers in need of a better work-life balance. I'm a voracious reader, love a good curry, and believe life is always better with chocolate.

3 thoughts on “What if You Don’t Agree with Your Teacher

  1. My brother experienced this and he had a teacher that ‘was the fount of all knowledge’ type. He refused (as a young child) to accept that Columbus ‘discovered’ America and his teacher was having none of it because curriculum and because fount of all knowledge.

    1. Go your brother! I always think it’s a shame to when you meet teachers like that, it’s such a wasted opportunity.

      Meanwhile, I know when you’ve had a breather in your busy schedule because suddenly I have a slew of comments from you. Which is always nice. 😀

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