Dear American Girl,

My teacher is so serious and never smiles. She is always getting mad at my friends and me for talking—even though we don’t do it very often. It feels like she’s picking on us more than other students. I want to get good grades, but I feel like she doesn’t like me. What should I do?
-Serious Teacher

Here's your advice:

Your teacher might be a little stressed out. Try to be understanding and make it easier on her by not talking during class. It’s OK to chat with your friends during your free time, but you shouldn’t be disrespectful.
-Violet, age 12, Texas

If you really do feel as if your teacher is giving you a hard time, talk to your parents. They might have some good ideas about how to deal with this.
-Emily, age 11, Oklahoma

You could make a card for your teacher explaining why you enjoy class. It might brighten her day.
-Ayesha, age 12, United Kingdom

You could always talk to the teacher about how you’re feeling. Or ask your school counselor for some advice. It’s possible that your teacher is serious when she’s teaching because the information is so important.
-Sydney, age 10, Wisconsin

Your teacher might be going through a hard time. Pay attention in class and be respectful—that’s the best gift you can give her.
-Kelly, age 10, Massachusetts

It’s OK if you’re not the teacher’s favorite student. Just focus on your work.
-An American Girl fan

I had a teacher who was very serious and strict. I later found out that she got stressed out when all of the kids talked at once. Whenever I worked with her in a small group, she was really funny and nice. Maybe your teacher gets overwhelmed when students talk over her—I think I would feel that way if I were a teacher.
-Stephanie, age 12, California

Maybe your teacher has high expectations and really wants her students to do well. But if she does anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, make sure you talk to your parents.
-An American Girl fan

Your teacher probably just wants you to learn and focus on the lesson. My teacher is also very serious, but it’s because she cares a lot about what she’s teaching.
-Nadia, age 10, Washington

Try to not talk at all in class. You can talk during breaks, lunch, or recess.
-Caddie, age 12, New York

I’d suggest coming to class with a smile and a positive attitude. Listen in class and ask questions.
-Tiffany, age 12, Illinois

You could chat with your teacher after school. Ask what you can do to improve in class.
-Hailey, age 11, Tennessee

Try not to talk in class. Your teacher probably wants your attention when she’s speaking and also wants you to do your best.
-Amanda, age 12, Rhode Island

Talk to your friends and make a pact not to talk during class. This might help your teacher’s mood improve.
-Abby, age 12, Ohio

HELP! from You