Handling teacher-parent conflict

By Drum Digital
11 July 2014

On Friday 4 July a teacher in the south of France was stabbed to death in front of her primary school class by the mother of one of her learners. Are you ever frustrated by or angry with your child’s teacher? Here’s advice on how to handle this type of conflict.

On Friday 4 July a teacher in the south of France was stabbed to death in front of her primary school class by the mother of one of her learners. According to reports the mother arrived at the classroom with a knife and murdered the 34-year-old teacher with it.

Are you ever frustrated by or angry with your child’s teacher? Caréne Fourie, a Grade  4 teacher at Gene Louw Primary School in Durbanville, Cape Town, says it’s important parents and teachers work as a team to educate children.

“If your child is unhappy about something, follow it up with the teacher rather than immediately taking your child’s side and criticising the teacher at home. This shows your child that you respect the teacher and will result in him having the same attitude.”

Teachers from our Facebook community Teachers for Change also give advice:

Dos

  • Follow the correct channels, says Annelise Boot, a head of department at Springvale Primary School in Centurion. First contact the teacher involved and make an appointment to meet. If you can’t get an appointment make one with the head of the grade or subject, the head of department, the deputy headmaster or the headmaster if necessary.
  • Try to find solutions and discuss common goals you’d like to reach.
  • Be prepared for your meeting – make a list of the issues you want to discuss.
  • Make sure you put your child’s interests first – not your emotions.
  • Be prepared to accept your child might be the one who’s at fault.
  • If you can’t find a solution together you should ask for advice from a third party.

Don’ts

  • Don’t resort to social media. Rather try to solve the problem in a place where the teacher can present their side of the story.
  • Don’t get into a fight with the teacher in your child’s presence.
  • Don’t badmouth the teacher in your child’s presence at home.
  • Don’t resort to violence under any circumstances.

Remember, teachers are just people. If the problem is academic, bear in mind teachers have whole classes full of learners. Some need individual attention, which isn’t always possible in class.

“Identify weak areas in subjects (especially maths) and help your child with homework or extra lessons,” Fourie advises. “Teachers are always ready to give extra exercises or say which subjects need extra attention.”

-Shané Barnard

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