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What to do when your Child doesn't like their Teacher

It’s inevitable that during the course of your child’s academic career, they will encounter educators that they don’t get along with. Whether the conflict arises from a misunderstanding or a personality clash, it’s important that the situation be dealt with in a constructive and positive way. Teachers are professionals who are trained to treat students with dignity and respect and students must learn to do the same.

Talk about It

Students will often make sweeping statements like: “The teacher hates me.” You need to understand exactly what this means. Ask your child to explain why they think this and give examples of situations in which the teacher has behaved in a way that would make them feel that way. Ensure that they are not misunderstanding the situation or that they aren’t reacting negatively to being disciplined.

Role Play

One of the best ways to work through a difficult situation is to allow your student to deal with it themselves. Over the course of their lives, they will encounter managers, neighbors and people that they don’t get along with. Learning to navigate these difficult relationships is a fundamental tenant of happiness.

Start by discussing ways in which the student can deal with situations that make them uncomfortable. Role play situations that may occur in the classroom and discuss different ways of dealing with these events so that they feel prepared and confident. Allowing them to deal with the situation can be a constructive learning experience.

Be Diplomatic

If the problem persists and you feel like you need to take action, don’t be aggressive or angry. Remember that your child will have to deal with the teacher and try to smooth over the situation rather than inflaming it.

Start by explaining the way your child feels and then ask the teacher if they have any idea why your child feels that way. Really listen to their side of the story. You should say things like: “Jane is upset and I need to understand why she feels this way.” Assume that it is a misunderstanding and don’t make teachers feel like they are under attack. The ideal situation here is to promote understanding and cooperation.

Last Resort

If you feel that the teacher is not responding well to your child or if the situation deteriorates and your child’s academic performance suffers, it may be time to take a trip to the principal’s office. Remember to do so when you are cool, calm and collected. Explain the situation clearly and provide constructive suggestions which can lead to resolution. Perhaps moving the student to a different class may be an option. Be patient and persistent. Having a positive experience at school is essential in maintaining your child’s constructive attitude to education and academic performance. Be an agent for resolution and positive change to turn a negative experience for your child into a positive learning opportunity on how to navigate relationships with authority figures.

Pic by Joanne Johnson