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Personality Conflict Between Teacher and Student

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: My daughter has been having some serious problems with her fourth-grade teacher -- she comes home almost daily in tears. The teacher has humiliated and insulted my daughter in front of the class. I've spoken to the principal on several occasions, but nothing has changed. This teacher has had many problems in the past and I can't understand why she is still teaching. How do I reassure my daughter, and make her understand that the problem is the teachers and not hers?

A: Talk with the school counselor. He may be able to give your daughter some individual time or include her in a small group on self-esteem. (There may be others in the class who could benefit from the small group as well.) Ask the counselor to help your daughter understand that she is okay just as she is.

Talk with the principal again. Put your concerns in writing and include factual information. Since it is almost the end of the school year, let him know the kind of teacher you want for your daughter for fifth grade (caring, supportive, etc.). Tell him also that you hope that something can be done so that next year's fourth-graders have a better experience than your daughter and her classmates.

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Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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