What To Do if Your Children Hate Their New Teacher
Deciding which teacher your child belongs with in the new school year is an in-depth process, but that doesn't mean your child will like the teacher they receive.
In fact, after a few days or weeks, your child could develop a legit fear or hatred towards their newest classroom leader, and that could mean an extremely frustrating school year for everyone involved.
But it doesn't have to be.
A dialogue, either between parent and child, child and teacher or parent and teacher, can certainly help alleviate the problem, according to Dr. Marla Deibler, executive director of The Center for Emotional Health of Greater Philadelphia in Cherry Hill.
"Oftentimes our kids are sort of reluctant to approach the teacher if they're intimidated by them," Deibler said. "And sometimes just alerting the teacher to the kid's discomfort and asking the teacher to reach out to the child…is frequently enough to fix the situation or soften things up a little bit."
Deibler noted teachers may be more aggressive or seemingly strict in the opening portion of the school year, making sure the kids know the ground rules and who's boss, but a teacher's initial approach isn't necessarily a hint of what the entire year will be like.
"They're dealing with new challenges just like the child is, so helping to sort of humanize the teacher is also very helpful," Deibler noted.
Former school psychologist Dr. Janie Feldman, now with her own practice in Warren, said it's important for parents to acknowledge that their child is unhappy with their teacher, but it shouldn't be a parent's mission to immediately "take care" of the problem by accusing the teacher or attempting to switch their child's classroom.
"You must maintain respect for the teacher and administrators," she said. "You want to build the student-teacher connection, rather than dissemble or attack it."
While there may be some teachers who deserve the "evil" or "nasty" reputation they have, Feldman said it's up parents to give the teacher a chance.
There's a lot of thought that goes into the placement of a child, according to Patricia Wright, executive director of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association.
Beyond balancing the class based on gender and performance level, conversations are had about each student's needs, personality and even their friends, and teachers typically work with administrators to match students with the best educator and class.
"Those decisions usually begin in the spring of the previous year," Wright said.
Listen above to the interview with Patricia Wright, who tells parents the best route to take when their child isn't fond of their new teacher, sometimes even before the school year begins.