ask toni & josh

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 July, 2009, 12:00am

Dear Josh

My maths teacher picks on me during class, singling me out for questions almost as if he takes pleasure when I get the hard ones wrong. I'm not naughty, but I do chat with classmates about questions I'm too shy to ask in front of the whole class. And this just seems to make him pick on me more.

I can't go to other teachers about it because they're all friends, and my parents tell me I have an attitude problem. The last thing I want is to be the 'problem student' teachers complain about in the staff room.


Here's a thought:

It's odd that a teacher would choose a student to answer a question knowing they don't have the answer, so maybe he's encouraging you to brush up on your school work.

Are you working hard enough? Are you having problems with the course? If you are working hard and still struggling to answer his questions, maybe you need some extra tuition. That's nothing to be ashamed of. We can't all be maths geniuses.

But if you feel your teacher is launching more of a personal attack than an academic one, the first thing you should do is calmly discuss the matter with your teacher and find out his true intentions. Explain that his calling on you can be very embarrassing and knocks your self-esteem.

If you aren't satisfied with the teacher's reply, or are suspicious of his motives, you should take the matter up with the principal.

A teacher is not paid to humiliate his or her students, and if you think your maths teacher is going out of his way to make your life difficult, you really need to take it up with his boss.

Dear Josh

I have a very close friend who has started selling drugs at school. I've tried talking to him about it, but his family has never been well off and he said they need the money. His father left before he was born and he said it was the only way to support his mum and two sisters.

I'm worried about the risks he's running, but understand his predicament. What should I do?

Brother from another mother


You're right to be concerned about the risks your friend runs by selling illegal substances. The appeal of drug dealing can be friends and fame (of the infamous variety), but first and foremost it's about the money.

The problem is that your friend, like nearly everyone else, will need more money as time goes on, and unfortunately he'll come to feel the only way to get it is through drug dealing.

You need to get him out of the game now while he's still young - the penalties and pain will only get worse as he gets older.

If a frank talk doesn't work, you really have to speak to his family - they should know where their financial support is coming from. If that doesn't work, you may have to inform a social worker or someone in authority, because a true friend needs to stop him before he ends up paying with his life.

speak up!

Do you need an answer to a problem and don't know who to turn to? Growing up can be hard, but Toni and Josh are here to help. Whether it's about school stress or jealous friends, e-mail and they'll lend a sympathetic ear.


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