Do you ever wonder why your child's teacher seems prejudiced? The reasons could be umpteen - including jealousy/animosity with you in case you are a teacher in the same school, or some altercation the teacher had with you. In case you strongly suspect that your child is being unfairly targeted, here are some possible ways to deal with the situation.
Speak to your child
Your child will be able to give you the best insight into what the matter actually is. Ask him gently about the incidents that have affected him. Check if they really appear like a series of events which have been aimed to trouble your child. Sometimes, a child may be biased against a teacher himself or may not like him/her for various reasons. Making things appear sour may just be an attempt on his part to get even with the teacher, knowing well that you - being his parent - will definitely believe him.
"In certain cases, especially if the child is young, he may not want to attend a certain teacher's class because she doesn't pamper him or give him the kind of attention he gets at home", says Dr S B Singh, a well known clinical psychologist. In such a case,the child should be taught the difference between the environment at home and at school, and explained that the teacher has to treat all children equally.
Talk it out with the concerned teacher
Meet the teacher and ask her what she expects from your child and where she finds your child lacking. Listen to her and discuss how these things can be taken care of. Ask her for her views and tell her how much that will help you and your kid. This will make her realise that she plays an important role in your offspring's life and you respect her for that. This will definitely mellow her down and make her more receptive to discussing the problem your child had with her. Relate the incidents that bother you and tell her that your child has been feeling a little upset of late, because of them. Hear out her side of the story and pay heed to her point of view - there may be a possibility of the problem getting sorted out through dialogue. The teacher may understand your point of view and choose a path agreeable to both.
Speak to the head of the school
If the teacher is adamant and has decided to get even with you while making your child the scapegoat, you need to pull up your sleeve and take action.
Meet the principal of your school and discuss the problem. Go there with your spouse, as parents who are out to seek a solution to their child's problem. In case you are a teacher in the same school, be clear you are visiting as a parent and not an employee. Dr. S.B. Singh believes that if an employee is positive in his/her approach and can control emotions, he/she need not fear the consequences like losing the job in this conflict.
The head of the school should be able to solve your problem, either by speaking to the teacher concerned or - if required - getting the child's class changed.
Go for a change of school, if required
You have spoken to your child, to the teacher and to the head of the school. If you still think things are not working out, then it is a good idea to change your child's school. It may be inconvenient and a very difficult decision to make, but it will relieve you and your child of the mental torture. You being an adult may be able to cope, but a child's impressionable mind may not be able to take it.
Your peers may question such a radical decision. Give them a positive explanation that your child needed the change in environment for better growth. Always keep in mind that the most important person in the picture is your child and it is solely your responsibility to provide a happy and conducive environment for him. So, play the parent's role to the hilt!
Tips to remember
Never unduly believe the child and go against the teacher. It is quite natural for a parent to believe the child, seeing him in distress. But it is better to be aware of the entire picture, before plunging into action.
Never lose your temper. Losing your cool may spoil things for your child as well as for you. There's a possibility that the teacher in question may not even accept playing a role in the problem.
There are always several ways to tackle a problem. Before adopting any one of them, consider their pros and cons. What seems to be the best solution for others, may not work for you at all. The most important thing is to remember that your child's wellbeing is your utmost priority.
A sample incident
The following incident is indicative of the scenario that can happen.
"Mamma, Ma'am did not take me for the solo recitation competition," Subiya came home crying the other day. "She had promised me that this time she would definitely let me participate."
"Then what happened today? Didn't ma'am tell you why she didn't take you?" asked Zubeda, her curious mom. Children can have a one track thinking when it comes to things like these.
"Ma'am said, I won't be able to learn the poem in such a short time," wailed the seven-year-old. Zubeda was aghast. This was not the first time that the biased attitude of her daughter's teacher had come to the fore. What made Zubeda distraught was the fact that she herself was the reason for such behaviour!
Zubeda was a teacher in a reputed school in Delhi and her seven-year-old daughter was a student of class two in the same institution. Incidentally, Subiya's class teacher and Zubeda had a couple of differences due to which they did not see eye to eye. This animosity was reason for the prejudiced behaviour.
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