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Teacher and Parent Conflict

By Jamie Mastrangelo

Parents and teachers share in the responsibility of a child's education. The two should work cooperatively to foster a positive educational experience for a child. Often times, however conflicts do arise. There are several things parents can do to resolve conflicts effectively and come up with a resolution that is best for their children.

How Conflict Arises

According to Essortment.com, conflicts between teachers and parents can arise in a number of ways. A child sometimes relays a message incorrectly or misplaces a letter or note from the teacher. It may not be wise to depend on your child to handle important documents or information. Parents may also have a hard time dealing with the fact that someone else is "parenting" their child. Another common parental gripe is that the teacher is not giving the child enough attention or otherwise treating her inappropriately. Issues like these should initially be addressed with your child's teacher directly.

Conference Considerations

Both parties must decide on a time and place to meet for a conference in order to come to a resolution. Professor of Early Childhood Education and educational author Lillian G. Katz says that after school is not always the best time. At 3 p.m., your child's teacher may be tired. After a long day, you may not get the best results out of him or her. First thing in the morning before work may be a good idea. Suggest meeting the teacher in the classroom so you can be in the environment your child is in all day. If the child is present at the parent-teacher conference, set a good example and model behavior that you would like your child to use in later life when coping with his own problems.

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Suggestions

According to Katz, parents should always talk directly with the teacher about the problem. Always make the teacher aware of the issue and then address other school personnel in the order specified by school policy. Always check the facts with the teacher before jumping to any conclusions or assigning blame. Katz also says to be careful not to criticize the teacher in front of the child. Even young children can pick up on the frustration a parent has about the school or the teacher. This may cause confusion and create an attitude of defiance in students later on.

Important Questions

You should be prepared with several questions for the teacher in order to get to the root of the problem. The Public School Parent's Network suggests parents ask questions like, "Is my child performing at his or her grade level?" "How are my child's work habits and attitude?" "Does my child participate in class/attend class regularly?" Parents should also inquire about the child's strengths and weaknesses, formal testing results and social habits. Remember that you have, so far, only been hearing your child's side of the story. The teacher may have reasonable insight on the situation and may have a reasonable solution. If you can come to no agreement, pursue a resolution through her supervisor--usually the school principal.

Conclusion

The key to a good relationship between teachers and parents is open communication. This prevents conflict from arising and makes resolutions a lot easier.

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