What to Do if You Don't Like School

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What to Do if You Don't Like School

"I hate school, and I'm not going back!"

Have you ever had that thought? Lots of kids do. Usually this feeling doesn't last long. But what happens if you feel this way too much? School is a fact of life, and getting an education can help you build the kind of future life you want.

So let's talk about school and what to do when you don't like it.

Signs of School Stress

When you worry about school, it can affect your body. A kid who feels stressed about school might have headaches or stomachaches. You might feel "butterflies" or like you have to throw up.

Having trouble sleeping is also a sign of stress. And if you're not getting enough sleep, you probably feel grouchy and tired during the day. Feeling tired can make your school day seem even worse.

If you're stressed out, you might have a hard time making decisions. In the morning, you can't decide what to eat, what to wear, or what to pack for lunch. You don't want to go to school, so you put off getting your stuff together. And now you're not prepared to go to school, and you've just missed the bus — again! Staying home may seem like a good choice, but it just makes it harder to go to school the next day.

Why Do Some Kids Dislike School?

If you don't like school, the first step is finding out why. You might not like school because a bully is bothering you, or because a kid you don't like wants to hang around with you. Or maybe you don't get along with your teacher. You might feel different or worry that you don't have enough friends.

Sometimes it's a problem with your classes and schoolwork. Maybe the work is too easy and you get bored. Or maybe the work is too hard, or you don't feel as smart as the other kids. Reading may be difficult for you, but you're expected to do a lot of it. You may be getting farther and farther behind, and it may seem like you'll never catch up. Maybe you're dealing with worries, stress, or problems that make it hard to concentrate on schoolwork.

When you stop to think about why you don't like school, you can start taking steps to make things better.

Finding Help

It's a good idea to talk to someone about your problems with school. Your mom, dad, relative, teacher, or school counselor will be able to help you. It's especially important to tell an adult if the problem is that you're being bullied or someone hurts you physically.

Another good idea is to write down your feelings about school in a journal. You can use a journal or diary or just write in an ordinary notebook. It's a great way to let out emotions that may be stuck inside you. And you don't have to share what you've written with others.

If you feel disorganized or like you can't keep up with your schoolwork, your teachers and school counselors want to help. Teachers want and expect you to ask for help learning stuff. If all of your subjects seem really hard, a school counselor can help you sort things out. Special help with schoolwork is available if you need it.

Try not to let the problems go on too long. It's easier to catch up on one chapter than the whole book!

Feeling Better About School

The next time you find yourself disliking school, try this:

  • First, write down everything you don't like about school.
  • Then make a list of the good things you enjoy (even if it's only recess and lunch, that's a start!).

Now, what can you change on the "don't like" list? Would remembering to do your homework help you feel more confident if you're called on in class? Can you get help with schoolwork that's hard? Who can you talk to about a worry or problem you're dealing with? Could you find a way to show off your special interests and talents? If you made just one new friend, would you feel less alone? If you helped someone else feel less alone, would you feel even better? Which activities could you try that would help you meet new friends?

Of course, you might not be able to change everything on your "don't like" list. A bully may not simply disappear. Reading may always be a challenge. But that's OK. Focus on what you can change and you might be able to put the cool back in school!

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: August 2013

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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