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.
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.
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.
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