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Dealing with a Teacher with Attitude

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: My eight-year-old daughter's teacher has a negative attitude. How do I approach her about this? I know children don't always interpret things adults say in the way the adults say them. So I've waited to see if things would change. I'm afraid to wait any longer, I don't want my daughter to lose all her self-esteem. I feel this teacher is verbally abusing them.

A: Verbal abuse can damage students self-esteem and even leave emotional scars. Your daughter has spent more time this year listening to, talking with, and taking cues from this teacher than any other adult except for her immediate family. Unfortunately, the teacher's negative influence on your daughter has been enormous.

Before talking to the teacher, ask your daughter for concrete examples of what this teacher is saying in the classroom that upsets her. It would be a good idea to talk to the parents of other students in the class to find out what their children's reactions are to this teacher. A personal observation of a class will also give you a better idea of how this teacher deals with the children.

When you talk to the teacher, explain that your child is upset by how the teacher speaks to the class. Give examples of hurtful comments. Ask the teacher to tell you how this situation can be turned around in order to rebuild your child's self-esteem. If other parents feel the same way, ask them to accompany you to a meeting with the teacher. The less emotional you are in talking to the teacher, the greater the chance you will have of convincing the teacher some changes are necessary in the classroom. If you get nowhere in convincing the teacher, don't delay in taking this matter to the principal.

Besides working to improve the school situation, you and other members of your family need to help your child rebuild her self-esteem. Talk to her each day about all the good things that happen at school so she won't just focus on the teacher's attitude.

Learn more: Read these tips on how to get the most out of your parent/teacher conferences.

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Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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