When You Disagree with Your Child’s Teacher
Parents and teachers can’t agree 100% of the time. Whether parents and teachers experience differences over teaching methods, a specific grade on a test or homework, or some other element of the educational experience, parents have tough decisions to make about how to handle those differences. What follows are some tips on how to handle those differences successfully.
- Assume that the teacher is acting with benevolence . . . that there is simply a miscommunication or an instructional style mismatch between you and the teacher.
- Determine which differences are worth pursuing and which are not. Some differences are simply insignificant: it’s best not to spend your time on these.
- If the difference is worth pursuing, begin by asking questions of your child to ensure that you thoroughly understand the situation from his/her perspective.
- Then, ask questions of your child’s teacher to determine his/her perspective as well.
- Where there are differences between your child’s perspective and his/her teacher’s perspective, determine what portion of those differences can be resolved by clarifying matters or clearing up any misunderstandings.
- Differences that remain (after step five) should ideally be negotiated to mid-ground. Compromise is the cornerstone of all good relationships.
- Some differences are not subject to negotiation. Perhaps you are or the teacher is in a position in which compromise is not possible or perhaps one or both parties are unwilling to seek compromise. At this point, you are well advised to seek additional information. For example, are there school policies that govern this matter? Such fact finding can be accomplished by speaking with the school principal, the school board, or other authority. With this additional information, is your position strengthened or weakened? If it is strengthened, you may wish to pursue the matter through formal channels within the school system.
- Through it all, remain calm. Do not engage in personal attacks on your child’s teacher. You can express concern about a behavior without criticizing a person. When you speak and act, you will be more likely to obtain a successful resolution if you approach matters constructively. Additionally, you may think that others will hear your words and actions and use them to determine the character of the teacher with whom you are engaged in conflict; however, others will hear your words and actions and use them to determine your character as well.
By following these eight steps, you will handle parent-teacher differences constructively and be more likely to achieve successful outcomes. For more tips; visit Care4hire.com.