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New Teacher, New Problems

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Child Doesn't Like Get Along With New Teacher

Here is a question from a reader that I am sure many of you can relate to:

Hi Alyson,

My 4/12 has had the same teacher for 1 1/2 yrs and she has gone on maternity leave sooner than expected. My son is having a hard time dealing with this and still talks about how when she comes back everything will be better. He has become quite defiant to the new teacher, almost bordering on rude, in my books. She hasn’t wanted to do any confrontational stuff (Montessori). She has put in place a lot of new rules some of which are not very Montessori-like and she has quite a different style from his other teacher. He is refusing to do activities and has kind of clung to his best friend in class. My problem is trying to get him to talk about it, finding solutions or natural/logical consequences for his actions, and helping him adjust and enjoy school again.

At the moment, you want to let it be. He is facing the first challenge in the big world. We want him to learn that sometimes life sends you less than the best teachers (or bosses) and heck, you survive! You want to avoid him learning that by being upset or acting up mom will come fix his problems or arrange life to suit his likings.  Unless you think this teacher needs to leave the teaching system, just have empathy for the fact that he misses his old teacher and the new one is not as enjoyable. Let him know “I know you can handle it” which expresses faith, love, empathy, encouragement but does but not protect or rescue.

If the teacher comes to you with complaints about your child’s behaviour in class, check out my article called Tattling Teachers. If she is looking for ideas on how to respond more effectively to his behaviour I recommend you point her to an Adlerian resource on classroom management, like Jane Nelson’s Positive Discipline in the Classroom, or Dr Thomas Gordon’s T.E.T (Teacher Effectiveness Training)

Have any of you found good ways of helping your kids deal with the disappointment of a not-so-hot teacher?

About Alyson

Alyson has been blogging parenting advice for over 15 years. She has been a panelist at BlogWest, Blissdom, #140NYC and more. Her content appears on sites across Canada and the US, but you can read all her own blog posts right here.

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