6 Steps to Take When Your Child and his Teacher Just Can’t Get Along
What should you do when your child doesn’t like his teacher? Should you call the principal or sit on the class? Or should you brush it off as a normal childhood grievance and move on?
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You beat the back-to-school shopping blues, mastered your hectic morning routine, and haven’t had one homework headache to date. Then, just when this school year is promising to be smooth sailing, your star student comes home with the complaint all parents dread: “Mom, I hate my teacher!” (Drat! You knew things were going too well!)
So now what do you do? Ignore the problem and hope it goes away? Write a nasty note to the teacher in your child’s planner? Storm into the principal’s office to complain?
The correct answer is: “None of the above!” Instead, you have to give the problem careful consideration and think before you act in any capacity.
The negative feelings a child has about his teacher can have any number of origins. It can be anything from frustration over a bad grade on a test to a more serious situation that could potentially impede his learning. But you can’t know for sure until you follow some simple steps and do some investigating of your own.
Here are six steps that any parent should take in order to effectively address her child’s accusations about his teacher.
STEP 1: EXPECT IT
At some point, most kids are going to come home complaining that they hate their teacher. Admit it, most of us had our share of teachers we weren’t so fond of when we were growing up as well—and most of us stuck it out and eventually discovered that the teacher wasn’t so bad after all. So don’t be too alarmed when you hear those first complaints as you are pulling out of the carpool line after school. It’s completely normal for children to feel frustrated with their teachers at some point during their school years.
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Just stay calm, don’t jump to any conclusions, and certainly don’t take any action before you’ve given the complaint and your child some time and careful consideration.
Your best initial response in this situation is to be calm, to listen to his complaints and be reassuring. Then remind yourself to tune into to your child a bit closer over the next few days to see if the problem goes away or sticks around. If the complaints disappear- great! If not, then its time to take the next step and form a plan for resolving whatever issue is as hand.
STEP 2: DON’T FLY OFF THE HANDLE
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Just because Sally came home from school one day full of complaints about her teacher, it doesn’t mean you should pick up the phone and start demanding that she be removed from her classroom. The best policy is to be patient. Her complaints could be the result of a particularly bad day, her frustration with a difficult test or assignment, or embarrassment over being called down in front of the class. If she continues to complain-and if the complaints are consistent-then you can be confident that its time to take some action.
Don’t be too quick to call the principal and demand that your child be reassigned a new teacher. Doing so only sends your kid the message that you are going swoop in and solve every little problem for her – and she does need to learn how to get along with all kinds of people. Be careful not to badmouth the teacher in front of your child. If the problem miraculously disappears within a day or two, you will run the risk of tainting her view for the rest of the year.
STEP 3: GET TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER
So your child has come home and told you that he hates his teacher. But what does he really mean when he says that? Getting to the root of the complaint is paramount to you finding a solution. Asking your child “Why” questions will typically reveal little in your quest, so pose “What” queries instead.
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