Working With Difficult Teachers

Difficult Teachers

My daughters have been fortunate enough to have all amazing teachers to date. Unfortunately, not all of my family members or friends have been quite as lucky. The odds are ever in your favor that at least one of your little ones will eventually have a teacher that does not blend well with your family. Whether it is personality conflicts or differing belief systems, negotiating relationships with teachers and principals can be tricky.

How you handle the relationship will vary depending on the severity of the disagreements. Learning to walk the line between teaching your child that they will not always like every teacher they have and stepping in to handle the situation is complicated at best.

How to Handle Difficult Teachers

Communicate: One of the most important things you can do to help foster a healthy relationship with any teacher (even those you may not like) is to keep an open line of communication. Always attend (or have your spouse/partner attend) parent-teacher conferences. Do not hesitate to send emails, letters from home or to schedule an appointment to meet with them privately.

One mom told Great Schools that she makes sure the teacher knows she is available for conversations. “Not only do I email questions and give information, I also occasionally send appropriate articles and even funny jokes,” Michelle Hall told Great Schools.

Listen: Whether it is your child or the teacher you are speaking with, listen. As a mom you can tell how your child is really feeling if you pay attention to what they say and how they say it. Some head-to-head issues with the teacher may feel more overwhelming to your child than they really are.

Listen to the teacher too. It is easy to go mama-bear on anyone that suggests your perfect little angel is not quite so perfect. So, take a few deep breathes and really listen. Your child’s teacher is heavily involved in day-to-day routines and may see things you do not. Be open-minded and hold back on going on the defense until you hear everything.

Bring outside help: If you have tried to communicate with your child’s teacher but problems persist, do not be afraid to get outside help. You may want to schedule an appointment with the principal. Your local school district is also an excellent resource.

The Love and Logic Institute suggests these steps before you pull a Chuck Norris on your child’s teacher:


  1. Listen and empathize
  2. Resist the urge to talk badly about the teacher to your child
  3. Encourage your child to recognize that a challenging teacher can be a good thing
  4. Remind yourself that a challenging teacher can be a good thing for your child
  5. Get involved only as a last resort.

Allowing your child to work with unpleasant or difficult teachers can be a good learning opportunity, but if you feel the teacher is extremely negative or incompetent, feel free to take charge.

How have you fostered healthy relationships with your children’s teachers?

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