How to Positively Influence Your Child's Negative Teacher

By Maria Magher
Positive child-teacher interactions help kids succeed academically and socially.
Positive child-teacher interactions help kids succeed academically and socially.

Your child's teacher can have a big impact on his success in the classroom, both now and in the future. As noted by the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning, a poor child-teacher relationship can lead to more challenging behaviors in class, lower academic performance and poor peer interactions. If a teacher has a negative attitude toward your child, it can cause long-term negative consequences. You can work to positively influence your child's teacher to improve attitudes and foster a better relationship that will improve your child's classroom experience.

Read and respond to class announcements. Many teachers send out important notes and reminders that are overlooked by parents. Resentment can build as this continues to happen and teachers feel like parents are not taking the work that they do seriously. You can build goodwill simply by being an active participant in the classroom culture, including reading the announcements, responding to them and acting on them appropriately. For example, if you are asked to send in a smock for art time, make sure you send it in. If you are asked to sign a permission slip, be sure to do it by the deadline.

Be on time and prepared for meetings. Many teachers are overworked and are trying to get as much done as they can in their limited schedules. Parents who show up for meetings on time or take the time to prepare for meetings reading notes, progress reports and other important information, help everyone involved, including the children. When parents show up on time and prepared, they show teachers that they are committed to their children's education and that they respect the work the teacher is doing.

Read with your children and support their studies at home. In the book, "The Parent Backpack for Kindergarten Through Grade 5," M.L. Nichols says that teachers can tell which parents are making this extra effort at home by how their children are performing in class. By showing that you are committed to your child's education, you may inspire the teacher to rededicate himself and improve his attitude.

Be positive and professional in your communications. Tensions can easily escalate if you need to discuss an issue, such as the teacher's negative attitude or your child's unhappiness in class. Save these conversations for in person. Be courteous but direct with your concerns, but don't be accusatory. By raising your concerns, you may highlight an issue that the teacher was not even aware of, and you may show the teacher that you are a committed parent who will be monitoring your child's experience closely -- which may be enough to inspire a change in attitude. If things don't change, speak to the principal, but again in a respectful manner to avoid being flagged as a trouble-maker. The principal may request a meeting with a school counselor, your child and yourself to help sort out the situation.

Volunteer time and, if possible, donate requested supplies to the classroom. Teaching can be a stressful job, which can contribute to your teacher's negative attitude. You can help to relieve some of this stress by volunteering for classroom activities and field trips. This may help to improve the teacher's attitude in general and to your child, in particular. And it will help you to monitor the situation while making a contribution.

Share positive feedback from your child. Teachers hear a lot about what is going wrong in class, but positive feedback comes far less frequently. Share the positive feedback you hear from your child with the teacher to bolster morale and inspire a more positive attitude. Maybe your child loves a new game that was introduced in class, or maybe you hear other children say how much they enjoyed a recent field trip. Share these comments.

A little gratitude can go a long way to creating a more positive relationship with a teacher. Often children pick up their parent's attitudes, so if you are expressing a positive attitude, your child may reflect this at school. Write a thank you note. When you see the teacher in person, take the time to thank him for things that he has done to help your child specifically. This will go a long way toward opening the door to discussions about your concerns.

About the Author

Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.