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Teacher-Ward Dispute Resolution- The Parent’s Guide

  I did not like so many of my teachers when I was younger, maybe I felt like they hated me and were created to make my life miserable. I mean, just imagine a chubby 3-year old who thinks of nothing but food and cartoon more than half of the time, being asked to learn the alphabets or spell “tiger”.

So yes! Some children hate school and might take a longer time adjusting to the institution because they don’t know the importance of education (after all, they are only children!!!) or because they think their teacher(s) hates them. You as a parent need to explain to the child, as best as you can, that school is a necessary sacrifice for success in life.

My neighbor recently complained to my mum about her son’s teacher, she said her son, Michael, reports his teacher’s harshness towards him to her almost everyday after school. She was in a bind and did not know how to handle the situation. My mum advised her to cool down and not fight the woman because kids actually exaggerate. Are you in this kind of situation? Here are a few nuggets she said which I found useful:

Step 1 – Understand your Child’s Concern Well!

Children sometimes make generic claims such as “She hates me and wanted to beat me till I fainted”. So, make sure you find out in detail what your child means. Sometimes children forget the details of what happened. Probe until you get concrete and reasonable answers. Make sure you let your child understand that the teachers are working for his/her own good and should never hurt him/her on purpose. You can even suggest that he tells the teacher about how he feels politely. (This is a way of teaching the child to face his problems headlong in life). Depending on what the outcome of this stage is, you might need to progress to Step 2.

Step 2- Speak to the Teacher
If you decide you really have to speak to the teacher, set a time that is not drop off time or pickup time because these hours are rush hours in every school and the teacher might be indisposed. Try as much as possible to be very polite and uncritical. Start by asking about the performance of your child, listen carefully for any undercurrent of frustration in the teacher’s voice, and then calmly state your child’s report and feelings. Despite your light touch, the teacher might feel criticized—some people are sensitive, particularly, beleaguered, tired and underpaid educators who occasionally deal with parents who are a little overzealous on behalf of their perfect little angels. Do your best to reassure the teacher that you’re not blaming him/her. Ideally, the teacher should explain what’s going on to you and if he/she doesn’t, then it’s time to take Step 3. I really hope you don’t have to go here though.

Step 3 – Report to the Principal
Report to the principal. Most parents don’t like going this far, but sometimes extreme measures are necessary to ensure immediate improvement. Explain that you have spoken to the teacher and you haven’t noticed any improvements. At this point, the teacher will definitely have no love for you and your child. If you notice that the teacher is pouring his/her frustrations with you on your child, it’s time to change classes, unless this can affect your child on the long run. The child might feel ignored or ostracized. If the complaints aren’t attended to, you might have to consider changing your child’s school or perhaps, reporting to a higher authority still, like the CEO/Proprietor(tress)

NOTE: Whatever you do, please don’t quarrel or fight. Understandably, there is the need to defend and protect the “younglins” but let everything be done with grace, dignity and respect for our fellow partners-in-progress.
Good luck in helping you kids settle down in school.

As for me, need I say I soon got over my love-hate relationship with my teacher?

This article was written by Tosin Abejide, a 1st year Law Student in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.