How to handle conflict with teachers

If your child starts school in Grade R, they will have a minimum of 13 teachers. Depending on how the schools work, this number will probably double. That is a lot of personalities both you and your child will have to deal with. It is natural that some of those relationships will be rockier than others but, dealt with correctly, those tough relationships need not cause added stress. Schooled with Laura has a few suggestions on how to approach potential issues with the teachers you will encounter through your children’s school careers.

Dealing with teachers brings a whole new challenge to this thing we call parenting. Choosing a school can be a rather stressful exercise and while we check the playground, the routine, how the children are treated etc., we are seldom able to accurately gage how well we will get on with the teacher or how well the teacher and your child will connect.

This relationship is only tested once your child is actually being taught by the teacher in question. More often than not, all goes well and your child connects well with the teacher and you and her have no real issues. But there are times when personalities clash and those moments can be very stressful.

Communication is vital when dealing with this situation. If you are unhappy about the way a teacher dealt with an issue or your child complains continuously about the teacher, open the channels of communication immediately.

Remain calm when you approach the teacher, put your concerns forward in a logical and rational way. Allow the teacher an opportunity to share her version of the story and listen until she is done.

If the problem is that you and the teacher clash, but your child has no issues and is thriving, then try to limit contact to the absolute essentials. Use written communication where you are able to, calmly put your thoughts and concerns onto paper or get your partner to deal with face to face meetings or at the very least go with you.

Understand that the teacher may be right. That is not to say that you are wrong or that the information your child shared is incorrect. You are not in the classroom and children can embellish stories, so it is possible your child added some sparkle to the story they relayed. We all believe our children are perfect, but listen to what the teacher is saying. She may be offering her assistance and not merely pointing out a problem or concern.

Work out a plan with her to approach the issue at hand. Perhaps there is a reason why she did what she did. Perhaps she knows why your child is upset, and it is something you aren’t aware of. A willingness to work with the teacher shows that you do respect the way that she runs the classroom, but would like to be involved in rectifying the situation.

If your child is happy, do not let your issues with the teacher interfere with the way she is teaching your child. You are going to encounter many many teachers in your child’s school career, you aren’t going to get along with them all, but that does not mean they are bad teachers or incapable of teaching your child. Set aside your differences and focus on your child.

Most schools have a very clear chain of command; allow the teacher the opportunity to fix the problem before seeking help from the Head of Department or Principal. The teacher will feel less defensive and more likely to work on a solution if you approach her first and attempt to resolve the issues at hand.

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Have you ever had issues with your children’s teachers? How did you approach it?

If you have any questions or concerns about your little one’s at school or there is something you would like Laura to share or write about, send us a mail to editor@tums2totsonline.co.za with the subject Schooled with Laura.

*You can learn more about Laura here.

Laura-kim le Roux

Laura-kim le Roux

Laura is a work from home mom to four kids and wife to the world’s most patient man! Her oldest is 13 years old and her youngest is 2. So while she doesn’t really know all there is to know about parenting, she has spent a lot of time in the trenches and has a lot of hands on experience. By morning she manages a team of Weigh-Less group leaders. By afternoon her super power is logistics and she gets the teen to swimming, the tween to dancing and keeps the toddlers entertained. By night she writes for her blog Harassed Mom and various clients.

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