So, what do you do if you’re stuck with a horrible teacher?

The fact is they could be really fantastic, but you’re not connecting to them, relating to them or learning from them.

And if you’re in Year 11 or Year 12 and really needing to make the most of your time in class, what do you do in this situation?

Let’s find out what you can do to make the most of a bad situation!

Step 1: Make a Decision

Step 2: Change Your Mindset

Step 3: Get Help Outside of School

Step 1: Make a Decision

The first step is that you need to make a decision about how you’re going to respond to this situation.

The truth is, often we speak to students who say “I’ve got a really bad teacher and I’m just not learning anything and THAT’S why my marks suck”.

And you can continue to make the decision to buy into that story – the reason your marks suck is because of your bad teacher.

But in reality, if that’s the story you choose to believe, your marks will not change. They’ll continue to suck.

And guess what?

You’re the only one who loses in that situation. So by making this decision to blame your teacher for poor marks, nothing’s going to change and your marks will continue to be poor.

So you need to make a different decision.

You need to decide that maybe you don’t have a teacher that’s inspiring, but you know what? You’re going to take responsibility of my marks regardless.

Now, this is a really important step, because by taking responsibility and shifting your mindset, it then opens up a more important question:

What can I do, despite the situation in front of me, to change my marks?

Because if you can take responsibility and change your marks, you’re the one that’s going to win.

Step 2: Change Your Mindset

The truth is, even if you’re not connecting with your teacher and having difficulty learning from them, every teacher can help and contribute in some way.

So what you need to do is change your mindset and ask yourself the question: “How can I still make use of this class time?”.

Because you’re going to spend about 120 hours sitting in class with your teacher, and if you’re just zoning out, you’re actually just wasting time that you could be using effectively.

So, you need to ask yourself: “How can I still benefit from and gain something from the time I spend in class?”

And there’s a couple of ways you can do this:

Step 1: Come Prepared with Questions

While you’re in class and when you know you’re covering a certain topic, do some work before class and come to class prepared with questions to ask your teacher.

This is great because it means you can guide or influence the class to proceed in a way that will support your (and others’) learning. Plus you can also use the class to identify and learn about areas of weakness for that particular subject.

Step 2: Submit Work for Feedback

You still want to take advantage of the fact that your teacher is there to help and support you, so make sure you’re submitting lots of practice essays and short answers and reports to get feedback from your teacher.

Yes, you might find the feedback a bit confusing and not completely clear, but you know what? The more feedback the better. And you can always head back into class prepared with questions about your feedback for your teacher to clarify.

Step 3: Use Your Time in Class to Work Independently

Now, this one might be a bit controversial, but you can also choose to use your time in class to independently work on areas you need to focus on and conduct your own study of that subject.

Of course, this depends on the structure of the class, but you can go ahead and teach yourself some of the upcoming material for the subject and get a head start on constructing your study notes.

This step is really the last resort for you to figure out what you can do within the class time that will benefit you for that subject regardless of what the class and teacher might be doing.

Step 3: Get Help Outside of School

The next thing you can do if you’re dealing with a horrible teacher you don’t connect with is to seek help outside of school from a tutor, teacher or mentor.

By doing this, you can get the help of someone you DO connect with to build the knowledge and foundations for that particular subject.

If you need help, get in touch with the team at Art of Smart!

We’ve got a team of incredible teachers, tutors and mentors across Sydney and at our campus in Hornsby that are able to help.

We’ve got an amazing track record, working with over 4,000 students, and on average our students increase their marks by over 19%!

And that’s not just because we focus on content, it’s because we go beyond to help you, using all the research we’ve done with top-performing students over 10 years.

We help you with time management, organisation, exam prep, and study strategies to get you prepared and ready to excel for that particular subject.

So, what are you waiting for?

Get in touch with our amazing team to find an incredible tutor and mentor that can help you today!

Give us a ring on 1300 267 888, email us at [email protected] or check us out on Facebook!


Isabella Hanley is the Digital Marketing Manager at Art of Smart. She is super passionate about sharing her knowledge on surviving the HSC since completing the HSC herself in 2014. In her downtime she enjoys Netflix binging like a pro, singing in the shower and hanging out with her awesome rescue dog, Ruby.