You should always question a teacher and question them HARD when you get a bad or not so great report about your kid. Gone are the days when all teachers should be considered these noble beacons of light who can do no wrong, they are people, like the rest of us prone to all the trappings of the average Joe on the street. Teachers are not immune to human tendencies, and just as in work situations, when a colleague or boss is an asshole to you “just because” they may not like your hair, your face, your energy and/or your very being and find fault in everything you do, the same thing can be happening to your child at school with their teacher. The difference is, most young children don’t realize it and just seek to please the person in charge. As parents, especially single moms or busy moms, or first time moms, we want to get it right so bad, we immediately take what teachers say about our children and run with it.
I made the mistake once of not defending my child against a teacher who I now believe, just didn’t like her. Her energy and enthusiasm which had her being named the leader in her class the year before, likened and known by everyone in the school from the older students to the administration and the staff, to this particular year, it turned into her being “attention thirsty” and “disrespectful” by her homeroom teacher. I didn’t get it! And so, for the entire year, I focused on having my child behave instead of really researching what was going on in that classroom. She was being picked on and dare I say bullied by a teacher.
At her age, she didn’t know or realize what was going on, but just as a child will always try to please the parent and internalize the lack of love and support they require, they will do the same thing with a teacher and try even harder to get the teacher to like them. And that’s sad. I finally realized what was going on after discussing my concerns with her previous teacher, other parents and a teachers aid and realized that this particular teacher was treating certain kids differently than others, my child was being picked on BY THE TEACHER. But by this time, the year was over. If I had to do it again, I would have, well you don’t want to know what I would have done (don’t mess with mine!)
This is not to say that your kid or mine doesn’t get out of line or doesn’t behave in ways in which we don’t see when we are not around. It is not to say that all teachers behave this way and have bias against all kids. It is not to say that you go in and attack your kids teacher. This is just to say, I will always give my kid the benefit of the doubt and investigate all sides before I get on her behind. And if she is in the wrong, then I need to correct it.
So I suggest:
- Talk to other parents.
- Talk to parents in a grade above your daughter who had the teacher.
- Talk to the assistant teachers or teachers aid because they are more likely to spill the beans on the social dynamic in the class.
- Talk to the teachers who give good reports on your child and ask them what they think.
- TRUST YOUR GUT!