What do you do when your child gets THE ONE teacher that everybody warns against? Just like that, the tone of the year has the potential to be set: It’s not that your child didn’t get the teacher SHE wanted, she got the teacher no one wanted.
At that very moment, mamas, we have a choice — buy into the feelings of other parents and students, prematurely predicting our future experience on someone else’s past experience, or rise up above the rumors and go in open minded to create an opinion of our own.
Focus on the positive. Seeing our children disappointed is never an easy task. Give them a moment to work through their emotions (and yours), and then immediately focus on the positive. We may not be able to change their feelings in the moment, especially when we have similar feelings, but our reaction can greatly influence how they feel about this teacher in the days to come. The beauty of a new year is that it always brings a fresh start. Place the emphasis on to your child on how this year may be different and the key to this difference starts just may start with our own response.
Give the teacher a chance. Until you (not your BFF or every other parent in the class) are given a specific reason, support the teacher by giving him or her a chance. No single year in the life of a teacher ever looks the same as the last. Setting opinions aside, focus on ways that you can make this a better year for the teacher, while allowing your child to see you make those efforts to care for the teacher regardless of his or her reputation.
Encourage your child to get to know his or her teacher, too — not trigger her as some of the other children may do. Ways to do this would be to have your elementary aged child create a “My Favorites” questionnaire with creative questions to show initiative to get to know the teacher’s heart or coach your older children to evaluate what’s happening in the room when the negative traits appear so he or she knows what to do to avoid it or help other classmates see it too.
Watch your speech. In the event you experience first hand why the teacher has a bad rap, avoid telling horror stories to your neighbors, other fourth grade moms, and mostly, expressing your anger in front of your child. Expressing disappoint to our child and finding a way to walk through it is one thing, but getting angry in front of our child and allowing him or her to listen to us condescend the teacher can often negatively affect the situation. When our children hear us talking poorly about any adult, they, in turn, tend to lose respect for that adult because they know their parents feel the same way. This only makes the environment worse for a potentially already disgruntled teacher. Just as we should watch out speech, our older children should be reminded to keep his or her negative feelings about his teacher to just his parents, too.
And when the rumors become reality? Address the issues with the teacher first, and if it does not improve, involve administration as you see fit. Focus on what your child can and will learn from this experience. Kids won’t always get the teacher they want, but they will always get a teacher that they can learn from, even if the circumstances are messy and less than desirable, even if the lesson is tolerating someone that is difficult, there is always a lesson.