As a parent, I will tell you that the thing I long for most each September is that my children will be assigned classroom teachers they adore.
Connection makes a child’s world go round. It frees up kids to learn and grow in ways that simply are not possible if they are bogged down with trying to make the connection happen themselves. It makes good sense that a child who adores their teacher is a child who is fantastically positioned to learn. This actually is a teacher’s secret power – if their students like them, just about anything is possible!
But…as parents we usually don’t have any control over who our child gets for a teacher. And intuitively you probably know that this relationship NEEDS to work for your child or the school year will be a bust.
So what do you do when your child comes home from the first week of school and it is clear that this whole situation is not off to a good start?
This is the first post in a five-part series entitled: What If My Child Hates His Teacher?: 5 Tips For Turning Hate Into Love.
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You can put your match-making skills to work between your child and his teacher. One of the most effective ways to do this is via story-telling. You are going to quietly – and without parade – relay stories to your child about his teacher and to the teacher about your child. The theme of all of your stories should be something along the lines of an observed instance of affection or appreciation.
For example, if you saw a twinkle in your child’s teacher’s eyes or noticed that the teacher smiled at your child when you were picking them up after school, you might find a quiet moment to say to your child, “Did you see how Ms. Jones smiled at you after school today? I think she really likes you.”
Or maybe, “You know, there was a real twinkle in Ms. Jones’ eyes when she said hello to you this morning. I think she has a soft spot for you.”
But avoid offering these kinds of stories to counteract a moment of your child bemoaning his placement with this wretched teacher.
Then maybe if your child has run off to play with some friends and you happen to snag a moment with the teacher without your child around (important point!), you say to the teacher, “Sam told me the funniest story yesterday about the silly song you sang in class with the kids – he seems to really be enjoying those moments!” Or maybe, “Sam told me last night how amazing it is that he got to pick a friend to sit with. He said that had never happened to him before! He loved that.”
It will be important that the stories you will relay are based in truth, but if the relationship is really rocky, be prepared to take small nuggets of truth and explode them for use in your stories.
The idea behind all of this is a simple social psychology principle – that being that we tend to like those who like us. And so, in your role as match-maker, shine a light on the things that affectionately unite your child and his teacher.