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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What Do You Do When A Teacher Doesn't Like Your Child?

Alright, all my teacher friends out there...what do you do when you really don't like a student? And how do you handle the parents when they know you don't like their child? Loaded questions, I know and you don't have to answer them but could you please answer the questions at the end??

I know it is too late to fix anything for this year but I need to know going forward how to help my kids handle this. This is the first time a teacher has truly shown the signs of not liking Lucas.

Lucas has always been our challenging one. I have blogged many times about the challenges of Lucas. He could drive Mother Theresa to madness with some of his past behavior. So I know he could drive a teacher over the edge with his behavior. I adore Lucas, though. He is a one in a million...driving you crazy with his wild side one minute, cracking you up with his wit and humor the next and then going on to melt your heart with a kind word or hug. There are few people in this world who don't love Lucas. Unfortuntately for him, this teacher seems to be one.

Here's our side of the story...I know there are two sides to every story and I can only share mine with you.

As I've blogged about in the past, this year has seen Lucas struggle more than he ever has since he was diagnosed with ADHD. We have played with his meds and dosages for the first time ever. (We have been lucky to go this long without any adjustment to dosages and types of medicine.) I have been honest with his teachers regarding his struggles this year. I have kept them abreast ~ though not overly informed ~ of what is going on in his growing, 12 year old boy brain. Lucas has presented challenges to everyone this year and he is no angel, I am sure.

What I am sure of, is that we have encouraged him to take responsibility with his teachers, making sure when he has a question he is the one to make contact. His school has all of the teacher's emails listed on the kids' online schedules for quick and easy access to their teacher when a question comes up about an assignment or there is a problem. The school, and I would say our county, encourages email interaction with the teachers. I make sure Lucas is the one to send emails to his teachers. I have read the emails and approved them before hitting the send button, so I know none are inappropriate. This teacher is the ONLY teacher who will not respond to his emails ~ at least, in a timely manner. When she does respond it is usually after the assignment is due or Lucas is already in school and had the class. She told Lucas to stop emailing her (I didn't find this out until recently) so I took over emailing her with his questions, putting my name in the subject line along with Lucas'...still no timely response.

From what Lucas tells me, she is openly hostile to him and shows her hand that she does not like him. This is coming from Lucas so I take it with a grain of salt but he does not complain about people not liking him...in fact he believes every person he meets is an old friend. He has never met a stranger. I know the truth of his perception is somewhere in the middle but I don't know how far in the middle it is.

I tell my kids to follow the rules, do your work and be respectful of your teachers. If you follow the rules and turn in your work, there is no reason to get in trouble, I tell them. It has worked, for the most part, until this teacher. Maybe Lucas is not following the rules but I would think if he were so out of control I would have been contacted by the teacher or principal. Am I wrong to think that?

So teachers, what, as a parent, should I do in this type of a situation? ~ Suck it up, Stan says but is that the answer...suck it up??

Maybe this is also a question for parents as well, how do we handle it when someone doesn't like our kid? What's the best way to teach our kiddos to come out on top?

Ooooooooh, for the love of...our children!

2 comments:

  1. Hey there... Ms OC here.
    I can honestly say that I do not commonly have this situation.. where I do not like a student. The SINGLE...ONLY thing a student can do to turn me off is to lie about me.

    I take my role as a teacher as an assignment by God. So I have definitely been challenged by this dilemma.

    What to do? I can say... do not give the power away. Be present. Ask the teacher what is it that causes my child to really bother you. Listen. Try to see what exactly the child does that is an issue to the teacher. Is it really disruptive to the child.. or other children... or is this plain and simply an adult who is not managing her feelings well.... not choosing to be professional when they should?

    I do not comment because I have the answers. I comment because you are the parent. You are the person who is most likely to love your child no matter what. You are the child's best advocate. Sorry Stan... but DO NOT SUCK IT UP.... until High School. Teach your child how to manage people who do not act fairly and do not filter their actions.

    On the other hand... filter your words and actions... think before speaking... before texting.. before emailing and certainly talk to the teacher.. or invite the teacher in writing .. to talk to you BEFORE going to the principal. Most principals these days will not respect you as much if you go around the teacher. Keep a log of situations that you feel are not positive. You might find they are harder to quantify than you think when you are only thinking with your child's emotions. (although they are important).

    Remember that this teacher is being a teacher. you are being a parent. They will have your child for a limited time.. and no matter what goes down you and your child will not be subjected to that person for long.. but you will be important to your child forever. Do the right thing whatever that is!

    Pray. Pray for the teacher. Pray with your child for the teacher. Pray for yourself to be receptive to the teacher. Pray that you will have insight to the situation that you do not already have.

    Let your child know that you do not expect them to be perfect but that they may be causing this situation in some way (if it floats... play the game of detectives... ) work together to find out what is going wrong and see what might fix it.

    Love Ms OC.

    PS I was fortunate to love your children..Z .. who I taught and the others who I simply got to enjoy!!!!

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  2. Dear Ms. OC,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to lend me your ear and give some much needed feedback! I think, as a parent, sometimes I have too much of a "hands off" approach. These middle school years have been a challenge for me. I was SO involved in elementary school. I LOVE elementary school! It's easy for me to be an advocate for my kids and their ONE teacher! I don't think I have transisitoned to learning how to be an effective advocate in middle school...high school, for some reason, seems more natural to have grown up conversations with teachers regarding young adults. Middle school is a strange in-between and I haven't mastered the art of advocating.
    Your insiight was invaluable and your words a comfort! Again, thank you for taking time to respond!
    xo,
    Jenni
    p.s. thanks for your kind words about my kiddos! Z is STILL benefitting greatly from you and your love and compassion for ALL of the kids entrusted to you!

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