Your child is finally back in school after a long summer vacation and everyone is starting to get back into a routine. Then, suddenly, you feel like you hit a brick wall. Your child comes home crying that he or she is afraid of the teacher. You may be tempted to just pat your child on the head and say that it will all work out, but that could very well be a big mistake.
It is important to first gauge how serious the situation is. Is this problem just a product of a very late night and too little sleep? Is your child either having problems with friends or schoolwork that they don’t know how to express properly?
Once you have established that your child is truly afraid of the teacher, you need to find out why. It is important to get not only your child’s perspective, but also to try and call some of the parents of your child’s classmates. You will want to know if their children have also been having difficulties or if they have noticed your child being singled out.
After gathering this information, it would be good to schedule a time when you can observe your child’s class. If your school does not allow parent observation, then you can attempt to go into your child’s classroom as a volunteer and observe while you are there helping.
Now that you have acquired all of the information that you can from your child and his or her classmates, in addition to observing the class, you are ready to have a conference with your teacher. It is always best to try to work with the teacher first without going above his or her head to an administrator. There may be some minor changes that a teacher could make that would make a world of difference to your child. While you may not want to blatantly say that your child is afraid of him or her, you will definitely want to convey that there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Hopefully, the teacher will want to work with you to make your child more comfortable, especially since your child will not be able to work efficiently while in the grips of this fear and your child’s performance reflects on the teacher.
If the teacher is involved in the situation and is obviously indifferent to your child’s discomfort and needs, then it is time to make the school administration aware of the problem. You need to make it clear what the exact problem is and that it is not acceptable for your child to be afraid of the teacher whether it is due to the fact that your child is getting singled out or if the teacher yells at the students or any other unprofessional practice. It should be made clear that the administration will either need to work with the teacher until the problem is resolved or your child will need to be moved to a different class. You are your child’s main advocate and the administration will only work to help you if they know that there is a situation requiring their action. A teacher will make all the difference in not only your child’s grades, but also how much they learn and what their view of education and learning is in general for years to come.
Most important, though, is to always be there to support your child through this experience. Let your child know that whatever the challenge, you will be there to work through it together.