This morning a friend of mine called me to vent about her daughter’s teacher. She lamented on how she believed her daughter was being victimised and picked on, not by other students but by her own teacher.
Honestly, it did sound like this particular teacher had a bit of new school / post-holiday depression.
I am quite well-versed in this topic of conversation after years of working in schools myself. In my roles, I was often the first point of contact for feedback and was always attending and planning school events so parents often expressed their opinions about other staff members and school initiatives while I dutifully listened and offered contact details and links to grievance policies.
In my experience, unless there’s proof of misconduct by a teacher, an opinion rarely counts. So, your child doesn’t like their teacher, here are my tips on how to survive the year…
8 things to do when your child doesn’t like their teacher
Give it some time
Don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions, it is the beginning of the year and everyone is getting used to each other. The teachers and the students are getting over their holiday-blues and into routine. People often take a little bit of time to settle in and warm to each other.
Don’t make your opinions obvious to your child.
Ultimately, we all want what is best for our children, expressing your negative feelings toward a teacher and their methods is likely to manifest into negative behaviours and feelings of mistrust between your child and their teacher. If your children are young, this is even more-likely.
Instead, focus on the positives when discussing school and their teacher. Remember, kids hear everything so choose your time wisely to discuss the issues with others.
Foster a strong parent-school relationship
It has been well researched that positive links between home and school is one of the most important factors in a child’s success in the school environment.
When parents and teachers have positive interactions and strong communication it is likely to have flow on benefits for your child’s academic and social development. You can do this by volunteering, keeping in contact, attending school events and information nights.
Listen to your child, but don’t take everything on board as your problem to solve
School is a huge part of your children’s life. It is also the place where your children will learn how to deal with social issues and authority figures.
If there is no immediate danger to your child, let them talk, vent and work it out themselves. You can give them tips, and make them feel heard and supported but don’t immediately step in on their behalf. his will give your child a sense of control and will give them vital skills in how to manage conflict and the ins / outs of dealing with authority figures.
Talk to other parents but take it with a grain of salt
In my experience, opening up a can of “this teacher is the worst” worms can result in passionate, loud and embellished stories about their own experiences. If there is a definitive common theme then, maybe let your ears prick up but otherwise, just use this as a time to vent without taking too much on board.
Maybe they’re just not part of your tribe
Your child is not going to like everyone and, sorry to tell you this, not everyone is going to like your child. As in life, we have to learn how to live with each other. Maybe this teacher just isn’t a part of your child’s tribe, and that’s OK.
Reiterate the importance of respect
Teach your children respect and to expect respect in return. They don’t like their teacher, that’s fine as long as they respect each other. Enough said.
Trust your instincts
If you believe there is indeed misconduct, or if you feel that your child is not safe in their environment, it is important to take steps to find out the truth. Talk to your child, talk to a trusted staff member, ask open-ended questions, take notes and research policies. Unfortunately, these policies are in place for a reason. Don’t take no for an answer and don’t be afraid to question methods and make sometimes-difficult decisions.