• Jennifer Meliton

Most asked "What should I do about..." question.

My child has a teacher I'm not crazy about/is in a class with a kid I don't want them to be with/isn't with their friend who they just have to be with. What do I do about that?

This by far is the question I am asked the most. The teacher one by people outside of my schools OBV. There are as many teacher personalities as there are personalities. My follow up question to this is, "What are you not crazy about?" Usually the answer is based on something heard by way of mouth. Rarely there are parents who have had a truly negative, year long experience with a teacher that didn't receive proper, or any, intervention. Even then, unless legal action was involved, here is my advice.

Don't do anything. Seriously.

What about being with another mean or bad kid? Or not being with their best friend? They need each other! (No shade intended to any parent who has made this plea!) Same answer. I'm telling you this with 25 years of experience, 20 as an admin, and 20 years of parenting. One-it will be ok. Two-you are the key player. That's rough, I know, but hear me out.

About the teacher. Let's make this the worst case scenario, and you have first-hand knowledge that this teacher is not a very kind individual. Is there anything redeeming about them? Anything. Be fair. Is it just that they are so different than you? May I gently ask...is that terrible? When we limit ourselves and our kids to people who are just like you, your scope of the world becomes terribly limited. Dealing with folks who may not be your favorite is something that we all have to do. Usually on a daily basis! Do your child a favor and tell them that everything is going to be ok. Support them, listen to them, and if something goes wrong talk to the teacher by presenting them with facts. But give it a shot. It could turn out to be the best year ever.

About not being with the "mean/bad" kid and being with the with the bestie. First, it's important to remember perspective. Have you ever seen a sibling yell out after the other one touched them, "OW! S/he hit me!"

"S/he didn't hit you s/he barely touched you!"

Or this, "I hate her! I'll never talk to her again..."

4 days later, best friends.

Keep this in mind when listening to school stories.

There are many things that can be done to help kids get along, respect boundaries, or avoid each other.

Again, learning more about the person usually leads to greater understanding, even friendship.

Devastated your kiddo won't be with their bestie? I've been there. My little LexaBean was very quiet and shy around new people, and her pre-school best friend Anna just NEEDED Alexa. They NEEDED to be together. Anna's mom Lynn and I literally cried when we received their teacher assignment for kindergarten. I called the principal, because you know, principal kinship. I was a middle school principal, I knew the scoop. She would understand.

"No. She will be fine."

But.......

"We're not changing the assignment. They will both be fine."

I was outraged.

Guess what? They were fine. In fact Lex and Anna were never in the same class until they hit high school. They not only remained best friends, but also branched out and added new friends to the squad.

Leave it alone. They will be fine. I promise.

Here's where you come in. Your kids will most likely mirror much of your attitude about the situation. If you telegraph that you are worried and wish so much that they were with their best friend or not with that big meanie, they will remain fixated on the issue. If you calmly and consistently talk to your child about making new friends and learning new things about people, they may just cruise in on day one ready to take on the day. When school starts, give the issue a casual mention to "take their temperature" on the issue. If things are quiet, let them rest for a week or so before giving the topic another light touch. Of course, if there are issues of abusive treatment they need to be immediately reported to the principal, who will investigate immediately.

A post script. Anna and Alexa went on to be fully functional honors students. Anna is at Johns Hopkins and Alexa is at Kent State's Honors College. The verdict is still out on Lynn and me.

Here are a few links to check out for more information:

https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/getting-along-teachers.html

https://www.parenting.com/article/5-smart-ways-to-handle-teacher-troubles

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