Do you know how to react if your child dislikes the teacher? It’s a difficult time when you realize your child has been upset at school. And it can be tough to find out what happened. Children have limited vocabularies and often make generic statements like “the teacher wasn’t nice.” To find out more, act like a reporter, advocate for your child, and take a diplomatic approach with the teacher.
Some parents feel that allowing their children to complete a year with a stressful teacher can help a child learn to deal with challenges. It can help your child learn to be resilient and solve problems on their own. Of course, articles also cover their position by stating the obvious – for parents to get involved if their child is at risk of emotional damage. The overall key of course, is to know what is going on in your child’s life and to understand their interpretation of the experience.
Get to Know the Teacher
Introduce yourself to the teacher. It’s great to do this early in the year, but don’t hesitate just because the school year is already underway. Engage the teacher in friendly conversation in the morning at drop off or at afternoon pick up. Find other moments, such as volunteer opportunities, when you can spend time in the same environment your child is in all day. If your schedule does not allow you to volunteer during school hours, then request a conference with the teacher and be honest about your request for 15-20 minutes of her time simply to get to know her better. Once your child is in elementary school, he is spending more of his waking hours during the week with the teacher than with you. It may help your parent-child discussions to have direct interactions with the teacher.
Actions to Take
Suggested actions if your child dislikes a teacher or is having trouble in class:
- Attend school and classroom open houses
- Get to know the teacher, their school year goals and challenges as well as their style of teaching (independent of rumors heard from other parents)
- Read handouts from the teacher and discuss the class activities with your child
- Discuss with your child the detailed events that led up to challenging moments at school
- Try to remain positive when scheduling a parent teacher meeting with the goal of solving any issues rather than finding blame for the incident
- Make a list of questions or topics in advance of a parent-teacher conference to ensure you are prepared to calmly discuss any important matters
- Discuss the plan with your child and show them how they can take proactive and positive steps toward solving disagreements, misunderstandings and challenging moments
Actions to Avoid
- Try not to believe everything you hear about a teacher
- Don’t ask or rely on your child to relay a message to the teacher
- Avoid using negative language about the teacher
- Do not publish criticism about a teacher on social media or other websites
- Never threaten a teacher or other staff member of the school