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What to Do When Your Child Doesn’t Like a Teacher

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Mr. B. already had something going against him before the first day of school even started: Math was my worst subject. On top of that, he had zero enthusiasm when he presented math lessons. The combination of his lack of zeal and my natural struggle with math made for a horrible class. I dreaded going every day. I even tried to switch to another teacher.

With school back in session, there’s a possibility your child doesn’t like a teacher (or two!). Maybe it’s a certain way he or she teaches, disciplines, grades, communicates, or interacts. You might think you’re in for a long (whiney) year when your child doesn’t like a teacher, but a smart mom will use these 5 ideas to help manage her child’s frustrations.

1. Teach your child to think about the teacher’s perspective.

When your child doesn’t like a teacher, use that complaint as an opportunity to teach him or her to view a situation from the other person’s perspective. For example, Mr. B. was regularly exasperated. When I look back at the situation now, I can see that the majority of his students were disrespectful teenagers. Maybe if I tried to see the whole picture back then, I wouldn’t have been so upset about being in his class.

2. Talk about empathy.

Talk with your child about the importance of empathy and give examples of how to show it. I could have come to Mr. B.’s class with a more positive attitude, showing up as a student who appreciated his position and time. I also could have talked to him after class and spoken up when my peers were rude to him.

3. Teach your child how to work with difficult people.

One thing is for sure—we all have to work with challenging people at some point. When your child doesn’t like a teacher, it’s an opportunity to teach him or her how to manage difficult relationships. With practice, kids become considerate and confident and speak up for their needs. With your guidance, working with a difficult teacher gives your child a chance to think about others, work on communication skills, and gain a sense of achievement through perseverance.

4. Help your child respectfully advocate for his or her needs.

We want our kids to feel comfortable coming to us when they have a problem. But instead of saving our kids from their problems, we can help them deal with challenges on their own. My parents probably reminded me that Mr. B. wasn’t mistreating me and that I needed to ask him for more help in class or attend his tutoring hours before school.

5. Pray together for the teacher.

Something profound happens within us when we choose to pray for someone who has upset us. Teaching your child to pray for the teacher he or she doesn’t like will help soften your kid’s heart and show him or her how to put other people first. It’s also a convicting moment when your child might realize how he or she can be more courteous. Praying for the “enemy” might feel daunting and unfair, so you may have to model this first. If I would have prayed for Mr. B., I think I would have been more invested in him and his class.

What question can you ask your child to kickstart a healthy conversation about his or her teacher(s)?

ASK YOUR CHILD...

Why do you think teachers sometimes yell at their students?

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