Dealing with teachers
Is your child having trouble with a teacher at school? Is he being picked on repeatedly? Before you rush to defend or protect your child, keep an open and objective mind and ask yourself if there might be a reason why this has happened. Understanding both sides of the issue is crucial to resolving this particular challenge.
Let Your Child Resolve This Problem On His Own
This should be your initial response. You need to differentiate which problem belongs to whom – the child or yourself? In this case, the problem belongs to your child. By automatically assuming responsibility for his problems, you are robbing your child of the opportunity to develop a sense of responsibility for dealing with issues or problems. You are also giving him the false impression that you will always step in to defend him and he does not have to fend for himself, which is not true in the real world.
Rather, keep calm and ask your child what the teacher has done to make him feel like he is being picked on. Ask probing questions and encourage your child to think about reasons why the teacher may have done certain things.
Empathise with your child by saying, “You seem very upset. What happened?” Then, let your child share his feelings with you. Listen without interrupting and allow him to give you his account of the teacher’s actions and reasons. Then ask your child, “What do you think you can do to resolve this problem?” You also need to take a step back and objectively assess if your child has done something that caused the teacher to pick on him.
If you want to propose a solution, propose in such a way that your child will adopt it as his own and verbalise it. For instance, you can begin by asking, “Have you thought about…?” or “Have you considered …?”
If your child is receptive to following your suggestion, your child will likely respond, “Oh yeah, I need to do that…” or “I guess I should…”. Through verbalising, your child will take ownership and responsibility for carrying out the suggestion. Then all you need to do is encourage him to act on his newly found insight.
Understand The Teacher’s Intentions
Perhaps the teacher sees potential in your child and is trying to help your child develop that potential by posing challenges. Only by pushing your child to explore responsibilities and duties outside his comfort zone can you and his teachers work together to unleash your child’s potential and expand his abilities, even discover hidden talents.
Use Intervention As A Last Resort
If you have determined that your child has been consistently well-behaved and responsible, yet he is still being negatively targeted by the teacher, then you may need to intervene. Stay calm and rational. Refrain from becoming defensive or overly protective.
Meet with the teacher and learn the facts of the situation and the teacher’s assessment of your child’s behaviour in class. Too many parents jump the gun by concluding that their child is an angel (which may be the case at home but not necessarily a true reflection of his behaviour in school).
Conversely, some parents may go the other way. They automatically assume their child was the trouble-maker, causing the teacher to pick on him. These parents typically conclude by asking, “What did you do that caused the teacher to pick on you? You must have done something wrong!” or “Were you naughty in class today?” Be careful, parents! When we assume or conclude prematurely, we show a lack of faith in our child and teach our child to develop the same poor habit of jumping to hasty conclusions.
You may wish to speak to different subject teachers, not just the form teacher, so that you have a more objective picture of how your child behaves in school. If your child has been innocently and unjustifiably targeted, simply meeting with the teacher and making known your concerns should help to resolve the situation.
Written by Alan Yip:
Founder and Peak Performance Coach of MIND EDGE
A passionate educator, cutting edge entrepreneur and
one of the most dynamic, powerful and humorous speakers in Asia.
With over 20 years of experience, he is dedicated to empowering others to realise their highest potential for success in school, work and life.
His achievements in Singapore include:
- Author of best-selling FUNtastic Parenting in 2008
- Record Holder (Memory Power), Singapore Book Of Records
- Coach of the first and only Grandmaster Norm of Memory in Singapore
- Coach of the Singapore Memory Team,
which represented Singapore in the 2004 World Memory Championships (U.K.).
His achievements in the U.S.A. include:
- Voted Best MBA Speaker and elected as the first-ever non-American President of the Indiana Personnel Association (U.S.A.)
- Received the honourable appointment to be a Human Rights Commissioner (U.S.A.)
- Consultant to design and development of system improvements for a top-5 global pharmaceutical company in America
- Designed and implemented powerful public relations, low-cost/high-impact marketing, effective leadership, customer delight, impact presentation, win-win negotiation, revenue generation and business growth strategies for small and medium enterprises in America