Children are not always reliable narrators. So, you don’t have to panic if your 6-year-old comes home and announces that her teacher hates her. At this point, it won’t cost you anything to investigate her complaints because you have advocate for your child.
But once in a while, you may encounter a teacher who harbours some unexplained anger towards your child and you need to take action immediately.
Reassure your child. Let your child know that no matter what the teacher thinks, you love him and believe in him and his ability. Let your child know that you will speak to the teacher, but be careful that you don’t take sides yet. Don’t give your child license to stop listening to the teacher or worse, to tell her off. Just let him know you have his back, and you will get to the bottom of things quickly.
As soon as possible, call or email the teacher at work and let her know you would like a meeting at her earliest convenience. You can suggest several times that work for you, and ask her to do the same. Aim for an in-person meeting, but if a phone call is the only way both of you can connect, so be it. Be polite and friendly, but firm.
If you get no response within two school days, leave a message with the school’s main office. If there’s still no call back, call the principal. You want a meeting tomorrow at 8 a.m. and you want the principal and the teacher in the room.
When meeting day arrives, don’t go in guns blazing. Rather, you can aim to establish a rapport with the teacher and ask to get the story straight. Let her present her side of the story, and then follow up with specific details.
Ask as many questions as you need to in order to understand exactly what’s going on with the teacher and your child. And share as much information as you can. Think of yourself, your child, and the teacher on the same side, facing the problem together, rather than casting one of you as the problem itself.
With your child’s teacher, make a plan of action. Do not leave the meeting without a plan of action in place. And if the plan isn’t put into writing on the spot, get the teacher’s email address and send her a copy of the plan by the end of the next day.
Stay positive. After the meeting, send a brief email to thank the teacher for her time and her commitment to your child. And stay on top of the situation by following up regularly.
And if you leave the meeting with the feeling that no matter what, this teacher is predisposed to dislike your child, go to the principal. Take steps to ensure your child will be in a safe, nurturing environment. Consider switching classes, if possible, but only as a last resort.