What to Do About Mean Teachers

Parents get very concerned when their child complains about his teacher being rude and mean and refuses to go to school. Parents hate to see their children being annoyed with the people they should be trusting to guide their physical, mental, and emotional development. So, how should parents react when children complain about their school teacher consistently? Here is a simple step-by-step guide that can help you in understanding the problem and reaching a solution.

What to Do About Mean Teachers

Listed below are 6 steps to teach you what to do about mean teachers.

Step 1: Get to the Bottom of Your Child's Discontent

It is important to first confirm that the problem lies with the teacher. The best way to go about it is to ask your child about the teacher when he is in a calm mood and figure out what irritates him the most about the teacher.

  • Start with a chronological approach.  Asking questions about the daily activities at school will help. Your questions may be "After you enter school, which is the first thing that irritates you?" or "Do you get sad during classes or during recess?" or "Is it all about the homework?"
  • Ask general questions about the teacher.If your child doesn't give you the response you are looking for, you can always go for the more global approach where the child doesn’t feel threatened by the thought that his answers would make you blame him. Your focus should be on the teacher with questions like "Does Mr. Weber get angry when a student misbehaves?" or "Does Mr. Weber ridicule students regularly?"
  • Get down to the specifics. In case your child tells you that the teacher is "rude" and "bad," get an explanation out of him by asking for concrete evidence of the teacher’s rudeness.  You can ask questions like "Does he shout too much?" or "Does he mock students?"

Note: Make sure that your child understands that regardless of what his teacher does and says to him, he will always have your support, love, and confidence. However, there is no need to talk ill of the teacher and end up taking sides, as the child might start to act badly in front of the teacher knowing you will back him up.

Step 2: Reach out to Other Parents

If you reach the conclusion that the problem does lie with the teacher, it's best to check if other students in his class are also facing the issue. You can confirm this by contacting the parents of your child's friends and classmates; but you must ensure that you don't converse in a manner that makes those parents suspicious of the teacher, even though their child has no problems with the teacher. It's best to start the conversation with questions like "How has Laura been feeling about school this year?"

Contacting parents who have had children taught by the same teacher earlier would also help as they would be able to tell you whether your suspicions are well founded. You might also get your hands on some new information about the teacher.

Step 3: Meet the Teacher

You should schedule a meeting with the teacher and ensure that you don't start blaming him from the get-go. Children often fail to communicate their issues properly, and their instincts aren't always that great. Thus, it's best to make sure that you allow the teacher to offer explanations without giving him the idea that you are blaming him.

  • During the Meeting

Start the meeting on a positive note by praising the teacher for any recent activity that he has conducted in the class and then move on to establishing that you are meeting him to discuss a specific issue. Tell him that your child is having problems with a specific aspect of his teaching, but your words and tone should not make the teacher go on the defensive, as once he goes defensive, he might not talk openly to you and might even take offence.

  • After the Meeting

Once the meeting ends, make sure to send the teacher a concise email. In the mail, you should thank the teacher for scheduling the meeting so quickly and for showing concern. Don’t forget to follow up the issue with your child from time to time, too. You can also volunteer to become the educator's aid. This will allow you to get a better idea of his habits and behavior.

Sometimes, the child shares as much of the fault as the teacher. If you realize after the meeting that the blame lies partially with your child, then don’t hesitate in accepting that notion and try to explore how to rectify the problem.

Step 4: Move up the Chain of Command

  • Get the Principal Involved

If you don't feel that the teacher is convincing enough, you should approach whoever lies above the teacher in the school hierarchy, which could be either the principal or the assistant principal, and schedule a meeting.

  • Make a Group Complaint

If the principal's response is disappointing as well or if you feel that the principal is incapable of finding a solution, you can launch a complaint to the school superintendent in the form of a group with parents of your child's classmates. This can help in getting the teacher transferred from the classroom and into a non-teaching spot, even though it might not end up in getting the educator fired.

Step 5: Consider Switching Classes

This is one step that you should only think about taking if none of the afore-mentioned steps brings results, and if you think that your child would have no difficulties in changing classes as long as it gets him away from the teacher. This would show the seriousness of the matter at hand, as children usually don’t like switching classes. Here are some tips on requesting a switch of class from the principal.

  • ŸBe objective. It's important that you don't highlight the teacher's problems that much as it might adversely affect your case. You would be better off by maintaining a neutral tone and by offering a reason like "My child would feel better and learn more easily in a quieter environment." or "The teacher's teaching style doesn’t really suit my child's needs."
  • ŸBe particular. Be prepared to supplement your reason with examples of what has happened in the classroom and how your child has been affected negatively by it so as to ensure that the principal understands your point.
  • ŸBe urgent. If you feel that the principal is delaying the task till the end of the term, ask the principal to give you a timeline by which the switch would be made. Since you would want the child to be switched soon, you should show urgency so that the principal realizes the gravity of the situation and acts more quickly.

Step 6: Let It Be

Remember that you can always give your child lessons like "Life can be pretty unfair at times" if all of your efforts fail to yield results. Your child might not adapt to it at first, but at the end of the day, it would prove to be better for your child. The child will eventually understand how to deal with a stern educator and strenuous environments while learning one of the most important lessons of life. All that your child would need is your support and encouragement, so make sure you don't let that dry up.

To know more about what to do about mean teachers, check out this video: