When Problems Arise with Teacher, When Should You Call the Principal?

Most teachers are wonderful individuals. Giving and unselfish, they care for our children almost every day, and input things of value into their lives. We should appreciate the good teachers in our children’s lives and not take them for granted.

Occasionally, though, we may encounter a good teacher having a bad moment, or have the misfortune of dealing with a teacher who seems to be set on making our child’s life miserable. What do you do when a problem of this nature arises with one of your child’s teachers? Should you call the principal, and how do you know when the appropriate time for that is?

Determine the Severity of the Situation

If there is an incident that is not putting your child in danger, it is generally a wise idea to talk to the teacher first. Before bringing in anyone else, give them a chance to explain. Simply inform the teacher of any info they need to be aware of. For example, if a teacher gives your child a failing grade on a paper that they put much effort and thought into, ask him or her if he would be able to meet with you to speak about it. If it bothers you that a teacher misspelled words on a homework sheet, politely and discreetly make the teacher aware of it in a private email or note.

If your teacher appears to have good intentions, but she made a mistake in some way, find a non-confrontational way to bring it to her attention. Hopefully, you will be able to keep your relationship with the teacher positive. In these cases, bringing in a higher authority is unnecessary and will likely escalate a situation unnecessarily.

Consider What Is at Stake

When a situation has occurred that needs to be brought up, consider what will happen if you tell the principal. What will happen if you do not tell the principal? Did the teacher curse in class? Did they curse directly at your child? Was your child abused?

If you trust your child’s teacher and the matter is only a small issue, it may be worth talking to them before bringing the principal in. If for any reason, you believe that speaking with the teacher and no one else could cause your child to be in danger or make the situation worse, consult the principal before that happens. Trust your intuition in this area. If you feel uncomfortable with leaving your child alone after bringing the situation up, it is probably a situation that needs to be brought higher up the chain of command.

If No Changes Happen

Maybe you have started the resolution process with your child’s teacher, and nothing has changed. Even worse, the situation may have spiraled downward. In this case it would be appropriate to consult the principal. Let him or her know you spoke with the teacher and things have not improved. In this case, you have done what you could without the principal, and you have been left with no choice.

Keeping a positive relationship with your child’s teacher is one of the most important things you will do as a parent. Protecting your child is even more important. Be wise and know when things can be worked out individually, and when you need to involve the principal. With the appropriate action, you will be able to bring any almost problem to resolution.

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