Get involved. Volunteering in your child’s classroom or chaperoning a field trip can give you front-row seats to see what’s really going on. Attend parent-teacher meetings and use every opportunity to build a positive relationship with the teacher before you start in with the complaints.
Be a role model. No matter how frustrated you feel while dealing with a difficult teacher, keep your cool and act with maturity. “Development in childhood is a time when the youth learns to cope with dealing with difficult people by learning how to communicate effectively about their feelings,” says Lisa Bahar, a professional clinical counselor and family therapist. “This starts with modeling by the parents or primary caregivers.” The way you deal with this conflict will show your child the correct way to approach a conflict with an authority figure.
Don’t play the savior. It’s tempting to save the day, but becoming a superhero isn’t good for your child’s development. Try to step back and give him some space to deal with the situation on his own. If he can’t improve his relationship with his teacher, then you’ll know for sure that he needs your help.
Take your child’s side … at first. When your child first approaches you with a problem, listen and be sympathetic. Let him tell his side of the story. It’s the best way to get the most information out of your child. You can ask questions to find out more about the situation later.
Define the problem. When your child complains about a teacher, take time to figure out exactly what he’s saying. For example, if your child says “She’s doesn’t like me,” it might really mean something more specific, like “She gets frustrated when I’m spacing out.” The problem could be something you never would have imagined. Maybe your child thinks he is brighter than the teacher and challenges her on everything under the sun, or maybe he’s struggling in the subject and is taking the easy way out by blaming the teacher.
Hear the teacher out. Contacting the teacher for the first time can be awkward. Approach the conversation with the mentality that you are just trying to understand the situation and would like to make it workable for both the teacher and your child. Be respectful of her point of view, and then focus together on what your child needs in the classroom. Avoid personal criticism at all costs.