How to resolve issues with your child’s teacher…
It’s not unusual for a parent to take a dislike to their child’s teacher. They may disagree with their disciplinary style, the volume of homework they set, or it might be as straightforward as a complete clash of personalities. After all, some people just don’t get along. Whatever the issue, it’s important to find a way forward to ensure any problems and frustrations can be discussed and then hopefully resolved in a mature, calm and responsible manner.
Especially in front of your child. It won’t do any good for your child to hear you badmouth their teacher and can even inflame the situation. Your child is more likely to act negatively towards their teacher if you voice your own disapproving thoughts and this will put more strain on the pupil/teacher relationship.
If you feel your blood begin to boil and angry remarks threatening to spill from your tongue, bite your tongue and give yourself time to calm down. When it comes to our children, we can be quick to react and eager to protect but this sometimes means we can act without thinking things through first. Taking time to properly form your thoughts and feelings will help you plan your next steps with a clear, calm head.
Remember a child’s account of something that has wronged or upset them could be over-exaggerated or misconstrued. There may be other factors at play, the situation may not be all that it seems, or it may be exactly as your child accounts. To be sure, make a note of what your child says so you have a record of their account and can put forward their version of events to their teacher.
Request A Meeting
Get in touch with your child’s teacher to request a meeting to discuss your concerns. It may help to write down your concerns before you reach out to keep you on track and help prevent an outburst of emotion.
There’s no harm in taking your notes along with you to your meeting, as well as a partner or friend for support, especially if you feel you may become flustered or frustrated. Your child’s teacher may also suggest having another teacher present to help mediate or take notes. It’s helpful for both parties to have an accurate record of the conversation, especially if no resolution can be met and the matter has to be escalated or dealt with by a different member of the teaching staff.
Reaching A Compromise
For any meeting to reach any chance of a resolution, it’s important both sides are heard. Listen to the teacher’s point of view and give them time to explain their thoughts and feelings on the subject without interruption. There may be incidents or situations that have happened within the classroom that you were previously unaware of, some of which may throw a different light on the situation.
Most teachers actively encourage parents to address any concerns they may have and will be eager to ensure your child feels safe, happy and confident at school. Good teachers will work with you to put a workable plan in place to reach a resolution. They may also offer regular check-ins to keep you updated on the situation and any progress or setbacks. Hopefully, both parties can reach a compromise to find a solution that works for pupil, teacher and parent.
Escalating A Complaint
If a resolution cannot be met or you feel your worries aren’t being addressed or even taken seriously, you may want to approach the headteacher and request a meeting to discuss the matter further. Sometimes, despite best efforts, people may struggle to meet in the middle or to even agree that there is a problem in the first place. Taking your concerns to someone different may yield better results or at least more productive communication.
Keep In Mind…
- While you may not like your child’s teacher, your child might – and actually work well in class. If this is the case, try to put your personal feelings aside and recognise that the teacher does not need to be liked by you in order to be a good teacher to your child. Some teachers find it much easier to communicate with children than adults. The two different relationships can co-exist quite effectively when you put your personality differences aside and focus on creating a working relationship with your child’s teacher.
- You can build bridges with your child’s by offering to help with school activities or by engaging more regularly on school communication platforms such as ClassDojo, Seesaw or Bloomz.
- There’s always outside help if you feel your school isn’t taking your concerns seriously and you have exhausted all avenues with the teacher and headteacher. If the issue is affecting other children, you can approach parents who have similar concerns to bring a joint complaint. You can also make a formal complaint to your school’s governing body – find more information about how to do this here.