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What to Do if Your Child Doesn't Like Their Teacher

k-12

Has your child ever come home from school unhappy because he or she can't get along with the teacher? We know this situation might be daunting. Here's how we suggest handling it.

Why Can't We All Get Along?

As a parent, sending your child off to school every day can be both relieving and nerve-wracking. You know that it's important for your child to learn, socialize, and cultivate a sense of independence, but you also worry about what might happen when you're not around. For the most part, you end up trusting the school system, but what if your child's classroom situation doesn't always work out so well? What if your child doesn't like his or her teacher? Here are our tips on what to do.

A student doesn

1. Find Out the Root of the Problem

The first thing to do when you find out that your child isn't getting along with the teacher is to have a conversation with him or her about what's going on. Why doesn't your child like his or her teacher? Is it a minor thing, like the teacher's corny jokes or high-pitched voice? Is it a personality difference? Perhaps the teacher is peppy and bubbly to the point of being grating or, in contrast, too serious and somber.

Sometimes, there's a more serious reason, for example, the teacher has been unkind and unfair or doesn't seem to have a strong grasp of the subject matter. Understanding the root of the problem will help you determine how to proceed.

A parent has a conversation with her child

2. Suggest Strategies to Help Mitigate the Situation

Now that you know what's going on behind the scenes, you can address the issue accordingly. If the problem is something minor, this is a good time to talk to your child about tolerance. Explain that, throughout life, he or she will encounter a variety of people, some of whom may have irritating habits, grating personalities or different opinions, and that's okay. Your child can use this year as a learning experience, one that encourages respecting people he or she ordinarily might not enjoy being around.

However, if there's a more serious reason for your child's dislike of the teacher, you'll probably want to take action. Find out if other students are experiencing similar problems with the teacher. Consider discussing the issue with fellow parents. Depending on your child's age, you might suggest meeting with the teacher in private and earnestly expressing why they feel they've been treated unfairly or disrespected. If you like, ask to be present for the conversation.

An unhappy child sits on a bench outside

3. Talk to an Administrator

But what if that doesn't help? Let's say you and your child tried to address the problem and it hasn't gone away or, even worse, escalated? If it gets to that point, it's time to bring the issue to a school or district administrator. Explain the matter calmly and provide concrete examples. If you feel comfortable, consider including parents whose children have also expressed issues with the teacher.

Then ask what your options are. Maybe the school administration will want to reach out to the teacher to influence a change in his or her behavior. However, if you don't see a possible resolution and the issue is causing your child serious distress, don't be afraid to ask for a classroom change. The most important thing is to stand up for your child's safety and well-being. Chances are, the school will be understanding and helpful.

Move on With Grace

No matter the severity of your child's problem with their teacher, know that you can handle it. Regardless of how you wind up resolving the issue, the more courtesy you show, the better of an example you'll set for your child. We hope you'll be able to look back on the situation as a lesson and move forward with tact.

Looking for a way to supplement your child's education or learn more about conflict resolution and interpersonal relationships? Check out Study.com's library of thousands of lessons in every subject.

By Daisy Rogozinsky
August 2018
k-12 parent tips

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