5 Common Parent-Teacher Disagreements and How To Fix Them

School is starting back up and it’s no surprise that disagreements between parents and teachers are going to happen. As a parent myself, I can honestly say that educational topics create emotional reactions. And why not? As a parent you want the best for your kiddo. And shipping them off for most of the day can be scary (and a lot of times wonderful, haha). This being said, disagreements are going to come up.

From a teacher’s perspective, often times dealing with an upset parent is the last thing you want or have time to do. This can cause rushed responses or hasty remarks that really do not show the depth of concern teachers have for their students.

No matter which side you are on, a teacher or a parent, it’s important to remember where each person is coming from. Typically, everyone wants the best for the children they are in charge of.

“My Child Is Being Bullied And It Is Not Stopping”

This is such a complicated argument between parents and teachers. It can turn into a giant problem because one, parents are not actually there to see what is happening, and two, it can involve a lot of complicated factors (for instance, multiple children involved, both children initiating issues, two students who disagree).

Here’s are some action steps to fix the issue:

  • Ask your child for details surrounding the event.
  • Ask your child’s teacher for more information on the event. If the teacher was unaware of the situation, find out if another adult was present.
  • Be proactive with your own child. Practice scenarios at home for your student to dismiss the bully and tell an adult. Encourage your child to stay in areas where adults are present.
  • If the problem continues, ask to meet with the other child’s parents and the teacher together. Look for solutions and hear out the other child’s story.
  • If a resolution cannot be found, contact the principal or vice principal to help moderate the situation.

“The Homework And/Or Materials Are Not Making It Home”

Teachers often have multiple ways to help student’s stay organized, but with 20+ students to watch over, it’s very difficult to ensure that every piece of homework gets home.

Here are some solutions to this problem:

  • Talk with the teacher about what they see occurring with your student during dismissal. There may be problems occurring with attention and focus as the end of the day.
  • Ask for your student to be assigned a buddy to help them gather their materials.
  • Ask for your student to be allowed to place materials into their backpack as soon as a subject finishes.
  • If your student has a 504 Plan or IEP, make sure that organizational goals be addressed to help these common issues be planned out.
  • Speak with the teacher about have a “check out” list at their desk. Have your student check the appropriate items as they complete them.

“My Child Has A Failing Grade On Their Midterm Or Report Card. Why Wasn’t I Aware They Were Struggling?”

This can be so devastating to find out about as a parent. It can evoke a lot of strong emotions towards our children, the teacher, and ourselves. However, remember that one bad grade is not going to keep your child from passing or being a successful adult. Teachers are busy and can easily miss some communication or assume that parents are checking online grading tools. Giving teachers the benefit of the doubt can greatly help find a solution to this problem.

Here are some solutions:

  • Unfortunately, once a quarter is over, it’s often too late to change the grade. Still continue to find solutions to prevent the poor grade occurring again. Ask the teacher for input. What did they see? What was the problem: tests, homework, attendance, etc.?
  • Ask the teacher for increased communication that works for both of you. Be realistic. Decide if you need quality or quantity. If you need daily communication, it’s going to be shorter. If you need detailed reports, once a week is probably as much as you can expect.
  • Find out ways you as the parent can be more proactive. Is there website to check? Posted assignments? Are there tutoring groups your student can join?
  • Find out what resources are available to get your child some extra help with the subject.
  • Ask for additional ways your child can bring their grade up. (Again, this has to be done with enough time to actually change the grade)

“I Disagree With How An Assignment Was Graded”

This can be a very tricky issue. Teachers have the right to create a grading criteria and stick with it. I highly encourage every parent to read the grading criteria at the beginning of the year, and refer to it as you progress. Most teachers can be flexible if they are given notice before something crazy occurs. However, there are times when teachers can just be wrong.

Here are some solutions:

  • Reread the grading policies and make sure that your child and the teacher both followed them.
  • If there was a misunderstanding, try to encourage your student to speak with the teacher directly (obviously this depends on the age of your student).
  • If there was some outside circumstance, try to let the teacher know before the assignment is graded. If you can’t, attempt to explain your case afterwards.
  • Ultimately, as students get older, there is less flexibility in changing grades. This is to prepare students for college. However, if there is a major disagreement, contact a principal to help mediate the issue.

“Something Was Said In Class That Upset My Child”

Since we are all human, at times we are going to say something that is stupid. Teachers are not perfect either. Think of all the times you wish you could take something back… That being said, if a child was made uncomfortable, definitely bring it up to the teacher. As I teacher I would roll my eyes when things like this were brought to my attention, but ultimately, I watched my wording closer.

Here’s some solutions:

  • Write a note or call the teacher directly to let them know that “____________” was said and it made your child uncomfortable. Let the teacher know what you want to see changed. For example, don’t say that again, avoid a specific word, use a different tone, etc.
  • I would typically vote to avoid the principal initially, but if you feel it was bad enough to inform the principal, let the teacher know that you told the principal. Your student is still going to be in that class after this, and you want to maintain the relationship with the teacher.

Hopefully these are helpful ways to work through problems. If you think of any other problems, let me know! Comment below for other issues that arise!

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