Schoolwork is expected to be challenging, and learning how to get along with their fellow students can definitely be a struggle for kids. But what about when that struggle includes bumping heads with a teacher?
A negative relationship with a teacher can have troublesome effects on a child’s academic performance, as well as just making the classroom a place they don’t want to be. You could see your active, engaged learner lose some of that spark.
As a parent, you obviously have your child’s best interest at heart and are naturally inclined to stick up for them in a disagreement. But it’s important to keep in mind that teachers are well-intentioned people who care for their students and have the same goals you do: to make sure students succeed.
Tips for parents
While it will ultimately be up to the child and the teacher to get along, there are some steps you can take to help.
- Get both sides: Ask your child simple, open-ended questions to gather more information (How was school today? What did you learn? Who helped you learn?). If your child is very young, it could very well be that they don’t like their teacher simply because he or she is not you. Also touch base with the teacher via phone or email to see if he or she has observed anything unusual or out of character for your child. Ask for their input on how to resolve the situation.
- Be positive: Encourage your child that things can and will get better. Talk to them about how sometimes people just might be having a bad day, and discuss what they might do differently.
- Work together: If your relationship with the teacher is strong, that can be a good building block for your child. When they see that you trust and respect the teacher, they are more likely to do the same.
Hopefully things will be resolved given time and patience, but even if things progress to where you feel the need to schedule a special parent-teacher conference, always remain respectful. At the very least, it will be a good lesson for your child in conflict resolution.
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is the region’s only independent health care system dedicated solely to the health and well-being of children.
Learn more about John Parkhurst, PhD.