What if I don’t like the way my child’s teacher teaches?

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By Mary Beth Hall

Q: I do not like the way my son’s teacher teaches. I’ve called other parents and they agree with me. We want to form a group and go to the principal or the school board. What is the best way to do this so that we will be listened to?

A: You need to be careful about what you are planning to do. Although you may not agree with the teacher’s teaching style or teaching practices, you need to be aware that this person is a professional with a professional degree who is evaluated by his/her principal with an extensive evaluation tool. If there is cause for alarm, the principal would be the one to intervene and correct the situation, not the parents.

You also need to be aware that by calling other parents and meeting about this teacher you could be in jeopardy of slander against this teacher. This means the teacher could file a lawsuit against you. Although you are permitted to voice your opinion, you are not justified in defaming the teacher’s character or harming his or her career.

It would be wise for you to go through the proper chain of command for this and any other school issue. You first need to speak to the teacher privately about your concerns. This needs to be done individually, not as a group ganging up on the teacher. This can be achieved by making an appointment with the teacher. Do not walk into the school building unannounced expecting to have a conference. The teacher has a schedule and by allowing proper time to be scheduled for the meeting you are assured of uninterrupted time. You may find that there are some miscommunications that are causing your concerns. By talking through the issues, you and the teacher may find you have the same goals and expectations.

After meeting, if you continue to have the same concerns, you can schedule an appointment with the school counselor. The counselor can meet with you alone and then set up a meeting between you, the teacher and the counselor if it is needed. If your concerns are still not resolved after these three meetings, you can call and schedule an appointment with the assistant principal. If the issues are continuing after this meeting, you can schedule a time to meet with the principal.

You will find that school personnel are easy to work with and care about your child as an individual. You will realize during your meetings that the school personnel desire to remedy whatever situation is bothering you. They will formulate a plan with you to correct the wrong. They will continue working with you to ensure that the situation is handled properly. They are professionals and will handle your concern professionally.

(Mary Beth Hall is a guidance counselor at Grant County High School. To get a question answered, e-mail her at marybeth.hall@grant.kyschools.us.)