Once your child starts school, parenthood becomes a catwalk of learning how to deal with a whole new bunch of folks unrelated that usually know your child in a completely different light than you. No matter what you think about your kid; a teacher knows the truth and seeing them in a classroom setting all day predisposes teachers to a side of our children that parents are rarely privy to see. For this reason, dealing with teachers, whether as a result of a problem at school or in the normal course of education takes careful consideration, trust and understanding. They know the truth and often their opinions and outlooks on your child are not as positive as you would like, but the worst thing you can do is rise up in anger or resentment. After all, it is your child who will pay the price for that.
The other thing parent’s needs to realize when dealing with teachers is that their life experience automatically enables them to make decisions and categorize our children based quite realistically on what they see in the classroom. This doesn’t mean that everything they say is dead on; but they are in a position that makes their assessment of our child’s education and needs fairly accurate. They are also completely accustomed to parents who think their child is the smartest, sweetest and most incredible little kid in the world and luckily – they are mostly immune to this thinking. When they hear parents say things like “my child would never do that” they are rolling their eyes on the inside and hoping that in your foolishness you will be able to handle the truth when it one days rears its ugly head!
The question is how to approach teachers to benefit your child the most. First, realize that all people (teachers especially) are prone to having likes and dislikes for other people; including the children in their class. Sometimes there will quite simply be a personality difference that can hinder the educational process. If you notice it or if your child is constantly saying “my teacher doesn’t like me” think about a switch of classes. Teachers are not allowed to admit this according to some rule of ethics; but every year, in every class around the world there is at least one student that a teacher doesn’t like. Rather than confront the issue head on, think simply about making arrangements for your child to be moved. Keep in mind that no matter how sweet and caring the teacher seems in your presence there are laws of duty that teachers follow where they forewarn and discuss children with other teachers at the school. They also discuss the lunatic parents! So approaching them with a calm, cool and non accusatory manner is best all around- especially if you plan on staying in the school district.
The second approach to talking with teachers is to never barge in. Make time for your self and allow them to prepare. Few teachers like being interrupted during their break without warning and many will resent the fact that a parent feels that entitled. Phone the school and make an appointment. Also, come prepared! If you feel something is wrong educationally or otherwise don’t just explain yourself. Support your cause with evidence of school work, dates, names etc! Your child’s teacher is not just teaching your kid- and things that seem significant to you are probably just all in a days work for them. By being prepared you make your self look involved, concerned and can help jog their memory.
Whatever you do – never use words that attack. Your conversational style is as importance as your appearance when you show up at school. The minute you begin attacking a teacher’s methods or styles without a full understanding of the reasoning behind them you are setting your self up for a tidal wave of resentment from the teacher. They give endlessly to children and to have parents with the audacity to confront them will make them feel immediately indignant. They will be thinking to themselves that your child is a rotten little brat and that now they clearly understand why…because of YOU! This doesn’t mean teachers are always right or that their opinions are 100% correct. The point is that there comes a point in life where they spend more time with your child every day than you do and the relationship between teacher and parent needs to be looked at as a partnership! Many moms and dads become jealous that their kid acts so differently in school or shares so much with their teacher. Let it go! Also, think of your role as the overseer but allow your child to build their own relationship with their teacher. Teachers are often one of the first people that kids realize they can trust and talk to and this breeds a healthy academic atmosphere that will allow them to feel safe and secure in their environment. Even at a young age, parents who are constantly over involved are stifling their child’s sense of independence. You must find something better to do!
The other thing to keep in mind is that teachers at some point may have something important to tell you. There may come a point in your child’s educational career where they are not doing well or where a standardized test didn’t come back as hoped for. Your child may struggle with reading, math or social studies at some point. Take their advice and try to keep your wounded pride to your self. By and large teachers want to help your child and they want to see your child succeed! They also want what is best for your child. They may have a different approach than what you think is right or appropriate; but you must trust in their abilities and character. Every child learns different and many children learn more from one devoted teacher than they can from a lifetime. The teacher, parent and child relationship doesn’t have to be difficult or tedious and should always be approached with common sense and the best interests of the child in mind!