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How to Deal with a Bad Teacher

When your child has a bad teacher at school, it sets up a tricky predicament: Do nothing and hope the situation gets better, or confront them and pray you don't make things worse? Here's how to navigate your way to a happy ending


  • Step 1: Stay calm Don't assume someone is a bad teacher just because your child says so, especially if your child is very young. In a calm, neutral voice, try to tease out details as to exactly what the teacher is doing that your child feels is mean or unfair.
  • TIP: Casually ask other parents if their children are also having trouble with the teacher.
  • Step 2: Be objective Try to remain objective. Is the teacher really at fault or could your child be to blame? Consider whether your child needs time to get used to a new teaching style or particularly challenging subject, or needs to adjust their grade expectations.
  • Step 3: Look at the big picture Look at the big picture: If your child is learning what they need to know in the class, the problem could be that they simply don't like the teacher. And in that case, the message to your child may be, "Sometimes in life we have to put up with people we don't like."
  • Step 4: Meet the bad teacher If you feel your child has valid points, arrange a meeting with the teacher. Emphasize that you are there to ask for help in making school a better experience for your child who seems to be having trouble adjusting. If you're angry and accusatory, you'll only make the teacher combative and defensive.
  • Step 5: Call the principal Child still unhappy? If talking with the teacher hasn't helped, consider going to the principal. Again, stay calm -- the principal will be more apt to listen to you if you're composed. Stress that you're not there to assign blame, but to find a solution.
  • Step 6: Switch schools If having to deal with a bad teacher means your child's education or health is suffering, consider putting them in a new school. But only take this drastic action if you feel it's absolutely necessary. Most people survive a bad teacher just fine.
  • FACT: Only 48 percent of U.S. students think their teachers care about them, according to a survey of 400,000 students in grades 6 through 12.

You Will Need

  • Composure
  • Objectivity
  • Finesse

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