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Life and Religion

I dislike my childís teacher
Develop relationship that emphasizes student achievement
Published Wednesday, November 28, 2012 9:00 pm
by Wesley Carter

I do not like my sonís teacher. I think she is rigid and unnecessarily harsh with my son. How should I handle my dislike?

Wesley Cater DM

The instinct to love and protect our young is hard-wired into our brains. Most parents will naturally experience feelings of distaste toward an individual that causes distress to their young.  How you respond to your sonís teacher will influence his experience in her class. It is never appropriate for a child to know that a parent does not like their teacher.

Children seek guidance from their parents. Therefore, if your son perceives that you do not like his teacher, he may decrease his commitment to learning or misbehave. Instead, demonstrate that you are capable of forming positive relationships regardless of your personal feelings and vow to never say anything negative about his teacher.

Before assuming your sonís teacher is rigid and harsh, assess whether your son may be engaging in some activity to provoke such responses.  Is it your impression that the teacher is rigid and harsh, or is it your sonís perception?  If so, does he assume any responsibility for the dynamics between him and his teacher?

If your son also believes that his teacher is unnecessarily rigid or harsh, transform the situation into a teachable moment. Over the course of his education, he will likely have teachers that he likes more than others. Help your son develop a plan of action for minimizing those behaviors that will result in unpleasant exchanges between him and his teacher. More importantly, help him develop a set of coping strategies to overcome the feelings of isolation and rebellion that often accompany teacher-student conflict.

Children often behave differently with others than they do with their parents. Ask your son to provide you with examples of times when he felt unfairly penalized by his teacher. Attempt to objectively evaluate the circumstances to uncover possible actions that your son could be enacting to aggravate the situation.

If after careful consideration, you continue to feel that your sonís teacher is unnecessarily harsh, schedule a parent-teacher conference. Before you share your feelings with your sonís teacher, start by clearly communicating that you desire a positive solution that works for all parties.

Articulate that you love your son and commit to a trusting, collaborative relationship with his teacher. Share that you have some concerns and respectfully wish to share your perspective. Provide specific examples of situations that concern you. Withhold your opinions until after you have heard the teacherís assessment of the situation. Invite open and honest dialogue.

The objective of the meeting should be to establish rules of engagement that foster positive relationships, and ultimately, maximize your sonís learning. Partner with your sonís teacher to develop a strategy to create more positive experiences for your son, his teacher, and yourself. There are several strategies that may be helpful.
Ask your sonís teacher to introduce lessons creatively. Encourage your son to also identify creative ways to contribute to class and his learning experience. In addition, ask the teacher to verbally reward your sonís positive behavior and achievement in the presence of the entire class.

Wesley Carter DM, founder and CEO of Kids by Carter, provides guidance to parents. Submit your questions to wesley@kidsbycarter.com Visit www.kidsbycarter.com and follow us on Twitter @kidsbydrcarter.


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