Loggerheads: What To Do if Your Child Doesn’t Like the Teacher

Posted December 20, 2011 by

It may begin on Day 1 or several weeks (or months) into the school year, but at some point in most children’s academic lives, they’ll come home announcing emphatically, “I hate my teacher and she hates me!”

Here’s how to take action:

  • Talk with your child. Say, for example, “I know you keep telling me you don’t like Mrs. Smith. Can you tell me some of the things she does that you don’t like?” Listen carefully—don’t put words in your child’s mouth. He may miss his teacher from last year. Or, he may be worried about fitting in to a new class.
  • Make an appointment to talk with the teacher. Let her know what you’ve heard. Say something like, “I’m not here to criticize; instead, I’m here so you and I can work together to solve this problem.”
  • Be prepared to listen to the teacher and reach a compromise. Perhaps the teacher can reassign desks, or give your child a little more warning that it’s time to finish a project. Or even give your child a bit more attention.
  • Write it down. After the meeting, write an email or a note to the teacher outlining what you’ve discussed so there aren’t misunderstandings. Be sure to thank her for her time.
  • Fill your child in. Let your child know that you and the teacher have talked—and what changes may be made. Listen carefully for the next few days. Often, a few changes may help your child start to feel better about school and the teacher.
  • If the problem persists… If there’s still a problem, talk with someone else from the school—perhaps a counselor or the principal. You may also need to tell your child, “It’s okay not to like every teacher. But sometimes we have to learn to work with people we don’t like.” In some extreme cases, children do need to be moved to another teacher, but only as a last resort.


Carol Brooks Ball is the editor of SchoolFamily.com, a website that offers parents ways to help their children be successful in school. SchoolFamily.com has tips about homework; studying; academic and social changes by grade level; information about keeping your child healthy; printable math, reading, and science worksheets; social and emotional developmental issues; and much, much more. Portions of this article were previously published at SchoolFamily.com.

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