Doing Life Together

teacher-1280966_1920Reader Question:  My 11-year-old daughter says her science teacher doesn’t like her and has it in for her. She claims the teacher calls her out in class and grades her papers more strict than the other students. How can I find out if she is right without making matters worse?

At some point in a school career, a teacher and student will clash. Not all personalities work together well.

What your daughter is reporting is her perception, so it is important to get at the root of what is going on between the two. As you investigate, stay open minded, not accusing the teacher of anything. You need to hear the teacher’s perception as well.

I would send a note to the teacher and ask for a meeting. In that meeting, talk to the teacher about how important it is for your daughter to do well in her class and ask what your daughter could do to improve her grades. You can tell the teacher that your daughter feels like she is struggling and see what the teacher has to say. Maybe the teacher is unaware of your daughter’s feelings. Most teachers want to help their students succeed.

That said, I have had a few parent-teacher conferences in my day where I felt the teacher was picking on my child. A parent-teacher conference helped clear things up. In addition, I encouraged my children to meet with their teachers for regular feedback. Doing so, forced my children to deal with conflict face to face. And teachers like children who show an interest in improving and being taught. Teachers usually like involved parents who are supportive of their efforts and want to help their children. The most important point to remember is to not go in to a teacher meeting gunning for the teacher. It will only make the teacher more defensive. Show respect and be the best advocate for your daughter by encouraging a working-together attitude.

If you still feel that the teacher is not listening or minimizing the problem, track your daughter’s homework and notes and request a second meeting. I had to do this once and it put the teacher on notice that I was paying attention. Things improved because I stayed positive and took the position that the teacher wanted to help my child.


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