Every school year begins the same way, parents and students head through the double-doors filled with excitement and anxiety especially when it comes teachers. I mean, this is the person who is responsible for imparting knowledge, character and life lessons every day for the next nine months!!! The person who will determine if your child’s behavior is excellent, satisfactory or heaven forbid, unsatisfactory!!
In a perfect world, all parents and teachers would be a symbiotic duo, communing harmoniously, communicating and working together for good. But this is the real world and well, some relationships are just dysfunctional. What can you do if you dislike your child’s teacher?
As a former teacher, here are a few tips I wished every parent would follow:
Parents are their children’s strongest advocate and rightfully so. But even the best parents have to admit to themselves that their children are not perfect and consider their child’s possible role in a difficult relationship or conflict. I suggest airing out your opinions to a spouse or trusted friend. Once you’ve said your peace, leave your emotions out of it and focus on the main issues with the teacher and how they affect your child. Then, consider what the teacher and your child could do differently for things to improve. Only then are you ready to contact the teacher.
If what the teacher is or isn’t doing seems crazy–chances are you don’t know the whole story. Do what is most convenient for you but make at least a couple attempts to meet in person or discuss the matter on the phone. Email is convenient, but not all things can be accurately translated through punctuation marks, capital letters, and emoticons. Carving out that personal time shows the teacher this is important and can help clear up any miscommunications. Parents know their children the best. The more you can tell the teacher about your child, their strengths and weaknesses, the easier it will be for the teacher to work with your child.
The Benefit of the Doubt
Don’t lose sight of the fact that the majority of teachers love their jobs and are professionals that deserve our respect. They have a heart for children and learning–educators do not want to make anyone’s life miserable especially when they will share the same room for months on end! Teachers do need to establish authority, manage a room full of students and model an age-appropriate real world scenario that includes consequences. Parents and teachers are on the same team, both want your child to learn, to love to learn and be successful.
Valuable Life Lessons
Chances are sometime during the twelve years in the school system, you may not love every one of your child’s teachers. You may try all these helpful hints to no avail. How you handle a difficult teacher relationship is even more important. Your child is watching you. If you have little respect and a bad attitude towards the teacher, they will too. Instead, use this as a valuable life lesson. As children grow up, they too will deal with relationships with friends, teachers, bosses etc… that prove difficult. Do not remove your child from the situation thinking that is the best solution. Instead teach them to persevere, stay respectful and focus on being their best self in a tough situation. They may learn more in that classroom regarding character and values than you ever thought possible.