By Dr. Ruth Jacoby, Educational Consultant
What should you do when you have a problem with your child's teacher and other parents also seem to have the same kinds of problems?
Make a list with all of your concerns with exact documentation if you have any. Call for an appointment with the teacher to see if you can resolve any of the issues. Do not worry yourself with how others feel. Your only concern is what is best for your child.
Be prepared to listen, listen and listen. You may learn a lot more about the teacher's philosophy and who she is. You may want to practice first exactly what you want to say, so you are precise. Bring a checklist with you to the meeting so you hit all the pertinent points that you want to make.
Some of the concerns you may wish to report are: your concerns with her academic teachings, with projects, with too much or too little homework, with how she explains the lessons, with her communication, with her attitude or with your feelings about not being welcomed into the classroom.
If you leave the meeting still carrying the same concerns, you may wish to seek out the advice of an administrator (principal, assistant principal, and/or guidance counselor). Explain that you already had a parent-teacher conference, but not all your concerns were addressed to your satisfaction. Ask for their assistance and guidance. Remember not every teacher your child has through the many school years ahead—especially in middle and high school, where there is one teacher for each subject area—will be perfect. Changes sometimes can occur if your approach the problem with "a lot of sugar and honey."
Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.
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