When Your Child Doesn’t Like His/Her Teacher
In life, we will all encounter people, co-workers, peers and superiors that we do not necessarily click with and those experiences can start at a young age. The difficulty is that children often don’t know how to handle a situation where they don’t get along with someone in position of authority. If your child is unwavering in his dislike of the teacher and the situation appears not to be resolving itself, I recommend the following approach:
1. Investigate and ask your child for specifics. Why don’t you like your teacher? What does the teacher say or do or not do to upset you? And press for details. Ask your child for honest reflection of his/her behavior in class as well. Speak to other classmates’ parents (select a couple that you trust to keep the information in confidence) and find out what their experience with the teacher has been like.
2. Communicate. Reach out to the teacher and ask if you can meet (without your child). Let the teacher know that you’d like to find out how things are going in class. I would advise not having this conversation via email or even over the phone. You’ll get a better read on the situation and likely a more open conversation from the teacher, if you both make the time to meet in person vs. trying to squeeze in a quick call or email. Present the facts as you know them, without dramatics or emotion if possible, and give the teacher the opportunity to respond. Try to jointly come up with a plan of action to turn the situation around.
3. Involve Your Child. If parent and teacher are both on the same page, involve your child in the plan; so your child has some ownership in the resolution which will make it more likely they will do their part and not feel powerless. Set up a meeting with the child, yourself, your spouse and the teacher to walk through the plan and what the expectations are from everyone involved. Implement a weekly check-in initially with all parties, moving to biweekly, then monthly as the situation improves.
4. Next Steps. If the above does not work, involve the school counselor or principal and set up another meeting with the larger group minus your child. Additional strategies may be necessary to turn the situation around and it’s important to pursue all avenues to ensure your child’s education is a positive experience.
It’s important for your child to see you advocating on their behalf and not giving up. It may take some time to get everyone settled into a place where they feel good about the situation; the key is to persevere.