Dealing with a Difficult Teacher
Your child spends a large portion of their day at school, which means communicating with their teacher is a must. Parents want to get to the bottom of their child’s poor academic performance or their behavior issue. Unfortunately, a difficult teacher can make talking through the solution to your child’s problem a challenge.
As a general rule, it’s usually safe to assume that all teachers are good people who want the best for your child. That doesn’t necessarily make dealing with them any easier though. If you’re having a hard time dealing with your child’s difficult teacher this year, maybe a few of these suggestions will help.
Assume the best about your child’s teacher.
Even if your child confesses to hating their teacher this year, you have to assume the best about the teacher’s character and intentions. When you attempt to address issues that concern your child, this thought will help you to have a more productive conversation. It will inspire you to use less inflammatory language in the moment. It also reinforces that you are both working together for the best interest of the children.
This same mindset can encourage your child to see the best in their teacher. Simply because they received a bad grade or a disciplinary action doesn’t mean their teacher is a bad person. Speaking highly of their teachers can help your child to remember to look for the good in people, an important life lesson.
Get more involved.
If you’re having a difficult time building a relationship with the teacher, try getting involved. This is easier for parents of younger kids who still have class parties, field trips, or special events. Reach out to the teacher to see if they need help coordinating or decorating for an upcoming event. This small gesture that you care about the classroom could help you to build the foundation of your relationship.
Maintain records of your concern.
When you start bringing things to the teacher’s attention, make sure that you’re keeping a detailed record. You need to remember when you brought the concern to their attention and all of the surrounding details. This can help you later on if the issue isn’t properly addressed.
If a teacher meets with you, it’s also a good idea to send them a short thank you note in the following days. Teachers never have enough hours in their day, so acknowledge the sacrifice they made in order to hear your concern. Keep a copy of this thank you note so that you can remember the specific resolution of any meetings you had.
Go over the teacher’s head.
Teachers aren’t the final authority in all issues that go on at a school. If you feel that the teacher is treating your child unfairly or refuses to address a concern, find someone in authority who will listen. It’s important to know who to go to next, but oftentimes the principal is open to listening. Be sure to schedule a time to meet with the teacher’s supervisor so they can adequately prepare for you.
This should never be the very first step that you take to resolve differences with a difficult teacher. Reporting them or filing a complaint with the principal or superintendent should be a last resort when the issue is not addressed in the classroom. You may also consider this step if the issue could lead to endangerment or involves issues of discrimination.
In general, you should assume that the teacher wants the very best for your child during this school year. While this may not always be the case, you and your child will have to learn to work with a difficult teacher. Following some of these simple steps can help you to build a better relationship and address conflicts more quickly.