Back To School: What To Do If You Don’t Like Your Child’s Teacher

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We all had a teacher in school that we simply couldn’t stand. Mine was Mrs. Truitt*. She was seriously evil. I came home from third grade crying on a regular basis. I had a whole lot of wonderful teachers in my educational career. I adored school, to be completely honest. But I remember Mrs. Truitt more vividly than any awesome lesson or influential pep talk. To this day, I hate cursive writing and I’m pretty sure that its all her fault.

I truly believe that the majority of people of dedicate their lives to educating young people are a good bunch. They seem noble-hearted and kind. But a teaching degree does not make them infallible and bad teachers exist. In fact, I think Mrs. Truitt is still out there somewhere. I’m sorry kids.

So what exactly should a parent do when their child has a horrible teacher who makes you cringe everytime they talk and regularly sends your little one into frantic emotional breakdowns? (Seriously, I did this. Third grade was a rough year.)

  • Document Everything.If things get out of hand, you’re going to need to talk your principle. When you do that, you’ll want to have some cold hard facts. Keep a copy of every snappy note written home, write down any extreme stories from your child and be ready to share these facts when necessary. A decade later, I found my mother’s file on Mrs. Truitt.
  • Your child still has to follow the rules. When your little one has a terrible teacher, they could start acting out. It’s easy to become angry and frustrated with your situation. And as a parent, its easy to excuse that behavior because you know that they are in a rough circumstance. But a bad teacher is not an excuse for bad behavior from a child. Just like you can’t hit someone for being a jerk, your kids can’t act out when presented with a difficult situation.
  • Get involved.Volunteering in your children’s classroom is always worthwhile. But if your child has a teacher from H – E – Double Hockey Sticks, it might help to spend some extra time in that classroom. Let the teacher know that you’re involved and paying attention. In fact, be as intimidating as you’d like while in the classroom. Hopefully then Mrs. Truitt will mess with someone else’s kids.
  • Don’t be afraid of bribes. Oh yea, let’s all pretend we’re above this. Bullshit! We don’t actually want to give $20 gift cards to every teacher during the holidays, but we do! Why not send some nice cookies or a couple Starbucks gift cards their way earlier rather than later? Every little bit of effort counts when it comes to truly terrible teachers.
  • Remind your child that it will all get better.It’s only one year. We can all get through one year. Ignoring that your child is upset will just make them more frustrated by their situation. Let them talk to you about their troubles. And then reassure them how awesome next year is going to be, when they can put the even Mrs. Truitt behind them.

Terrible teachers happen. Even though teachers, in general, are wonderful, it’s ok if you dislike your little one’s leader for the year. We can all get through this together.

*Obviously, I changed my horrible third grade teacher’s name. Slightly.

(Photo: JustJared)