Resolving a Conflict With Your Child's Teacher

Defuse tense situations between student and teacher with these strategies.



Resolving a Conflict With Your Child's Teacher

"My teacher hates me!" If you've heard this phrase a few times and your child seems to be struggling, it can have a serious effect on his learning. Even if he and the teacher don't click, there are things you can do to improve the situation and open up communication.

  • Stay positive! Be careful not to undermine the teacher's authority. Even if you're feeling negative toward the teacher, try not to let your child know that.
  • Listen carefully. In order to get the facts straight, ask your child open-ended questions, then follow up by asking for specific examples that tell you what you're dealing with. Is it a personality conflict? An academic problem? He may just need to get his frustration off his chest. Sharing with you may help him put the situation in perspective.
  • Brainstorm solutions together. Your child may have some ideas and opinions about what she, the teacher, or you can do to fix the problem. Soliciting her input will show her that her thoughts are valued, and forging a plan together may help her be more receptive to possible solutions.
  • Observe the situation. If the conflict seems to originate from the teacher, get as much information as you can before scheduling a meeting with her. Question other parents whose children are or were in the teacher's class for their input. While your child's complaints may be legitimate, he may be struggling with a different teaching style or longing to move into a class with his friends.
  • Talk to the teacher. Ask for the teacher's evaluation of the situation and suggestions on how your child could improve before you express your concerns. Posing questions and avoiding accusations will yield the best results.
  • Connect with the classroom. Volunteering time or keeping in regular contact with the teacher will help both of you understand each other and communicate better. When the teacher does make an extra effort with your child, send him a note or call to express your appreciation.
  • If necessary, meet with the principal. If you feel the situation isn't improving and you aren't getting an adequate response from the teacher, request a meeting with a school administrator. The principal may be able to explain the teacher's approach and more objectively assess the situation.
  • If nothing else works, request your child be moved. Most schools rarely do this because it's disruptive and can have a negative impact on your child's self-esteem. However, if the situation is desperate, you should discuss this option with the principal.