School can be a difficult place for some children. There can be a lot of pressure, a lot of change, and the ever present background noise of fitting in and conforming with their peer groups. All while they are just developing their interpersonal skills and learning to form their own thoughts, values, and opinions.
While children are in school they end up working with many different teachers. Since teachers are just peoples too, they all have their different qualities and values to bring to the table. This can make it so that some teachers end up eliciting a different emotional response from your kids. But what do you do when your child doesn't like their teacher?
Try and Stay Neutral and Open
As a parent it can be all too easy to jump in the “it's not my child's fault!” boat. Or alternatively, you as a parent may know just the things about your child that might be contributing to a negative relationship with a teacher. However like all human interactions there are complex multifaceted reasons why there may be a problem. Keeping an open mind can help you react in a more objective manner, which ultimately will help for communication and establishing a solution that works best for everyone.
Listen to Your Child
The best thing you can do regardless of whether you think your child is justified in disliking their teacher or not, is to listen. Validate your child's feelings and listen to the reasons why they feel this way. Ultimately you might learn some new information, or at the very least show your child that they are being heard and can open the lines of communication to figure out what comes next.
Perhaps your child's teacher really is doing something to cause your child to not like them. By arranging a meeting to discuss the issues that have been brought up, you take on a solution-focused role. In doing this, you are showing that you're willing to be involved and are actively monitoring the situation. This may also allow you to get the other perspective, even if you have to have a private discussion with just the teacher in order to do so.
Communicate With Your Child About What They Can Do
Talk to your child about why they might be feeling the way they do, and ask if they have any ideas of how they can make things better. Children aren't as adept as communicating their feelings and needs, so having a more ambiguous conversation might help give you some additional clues on how they are feeling or why there is a problem in the first place. It's not outside the question to take the situation as a teachable moment as well, that they might encounter people in life that they don't like, however it is important to try and adapt to the best of your ability regardless.
If You Need to Involve Someone Higher Up, Then Do So
When all else fails or the lines of communication just aren't working you always have the option of going to the principal or the school counselor. Some outside perspective might be helpful, especially in cases where your involvement as a parent may make objective communication difficult.
Change It Up
If things really just seem like they aren't going to work then it may be time to shake it up and see if your child can be placed in another classroom. Ultimately if the rift is so bad that it is causing distress or a deficit in learning then it's important to try something different.
Ultimately the key factor in sorting out a problem between your child and their teacher is communication. This will be the most effective tool you have to determining the problem and finding potential solutions. Until then, make sure to actively listen and validate your child's feelings.