Everyone who has schooled has probably been afraid of one teacher or another, and for one reason or the other. Sometimes the fear is unfounded, at other times valid. Whatever the reason, being afraid of the teacher can lead to other uncalled for problems such as stress in school, fear of clarifying schoolwork and thus leading to a stockpile of corrections that are not done or done wrongly repeatedly, and even excuses not to go to school.
When a child does not know his work in the Primary School, and he is not trained to ask the teacher, chances are that work will accumulate especially when nobody at home is available to help him and his family cannot afford a home tutor for him. The child may even cover up for his inadequacies with lies such as the teacher did not come to school, the teacher did not collect his book, the teacher did not reteach the concepts and the teacher is not collecting the book until the next topic is taught.
When a child is afraid of his teacher, he may become so stressed that he is not able to focus in class, and he will end up not learning anything from the teacher. He is also so afraid that although he knows his work, he is unable to answer any questions for fear that he will be ridiculed by the fierce teacher. He may even play truant for just the teacher’s lessons.
As a parent, your concerns will be great, especially when your child starts slackening in the subject taught by the teacher. You may also be fearful that your child will end up with sleepless nights and nightmares of the teacher. Teacher phobia is also not uncommon in the Primary School, resulting in problems that need not be.
These are the things you, as a parent of a child with teacher phobia, can do to get your child out of the uncomfortable situation. Otherwise you risk all the accumulated problems that will be more difficult to resolve.
Speak with your child: Ask your child why he is fearful of his teacher. It could be the perpetual stern look that is unlike you and your spouse back home, the loud voice, or the very size of his teacher. For a child who has just entered Primary School, a six-footer who is two hundred pounds can seem a formidable giant, especially when your child is small and timid. Find ways to deal with his perception of the teacher.
Speak with your child’s classmates: Another person’s views will put the picture into a better perspective. Your child may also feel that he is a little silly being afraid of someone that others are not. You child may also emulate his friends who are not afraid of the teacher because he finally realises that his fears are perhaps unfounded.
Speak with his teacher: Get to meet the teacher your child finds formidable. You may then be able to understand your child’s fear and address it better. Even if you do find a reason to justify your child’s fears, do not be on the defensive or offensive. State the problem and be focused on solving it rather than making it a personal issue. After you have met your child’s teacher, speak with your child again, and find ways to help your child overcome his fear, and likely collaborate with his teacher to do so.
Ways in which you can help your child overcome his fear of the teacher include getting your child to send messages to his teacher that he is afraid of, explaining to your child when he should not let fierce or stern looks intimidate him, and helping him understand why people feel that they have to be stern or fierce.
Understand that your child will have to deal with people that he may become afraid of all his life. Look for ways to deal with his lack of confidence and to overcome his shy or timid nature. It may even take you or your spouse to act nasty at times, just to help your child adapt to other people, and even if it goes against your own personality. In today’s aggressive world, sometimes it takes building the heart of David in our young children’s mind, so that he can fight the Goliaths in his world or face nervous breakdowns all his life.