Back to School for Moms

6 Telling Signs Your Child Has a Bad Teacher

signs kids bad teacher

With the beginning of the next school year swiftly approaching, moms are gearing up for all of the changes -- and in turn, potential challenges -- their child will likely encounter in their new classroom. And as tightly as you may cross your fingers that it won't happen, it's always possible your kid may end up with a "bad" teacher, otherwise known as an educator who doesn't resonate with your child.

"Having a 'bad' teacher or, as I’d rather call it, a 'bad fit,' can be very detrimental to a child’s social, emotional, and academic growth," explains Kimberly Kulp, director of marketing and product development at Bridgeway Academy. No wonder moms dread it! Thankfully, there are red flags to look for that can help you confirm your suspicions or your child's accusations, so you can preempt problems down the road. Here, 6 signs your child's teacher really isn't up to par.

  1. Your child is suddenly disinterested in school. If your kid was psyched about all the books he was reading or acing his math homework last year, but his attitude about school has taken a turn for the gloomy, his teacher may be at the crux of his crankiness. "Parents need to watch out for their child verbalizing and showing a decreased desire to go to school and learn," Kulp notes. "He may say, 'I don’t want to go to school' or even, 'I hate school.' Typically, when the struggles are related to the teacher, this will be a big change from how your child has felt about school in the past. If you’re lucky, he’ll be able to tell you that the teacher is the root of the problem, but he will likely not say anything."
  2. Your child suffers a staggering drop in self-confidence. "Your child may begin to call himself 'dumb' or 'stupid' or is overly anxious about homework," explains Jessica Parnell, president of Bridgeway Academy. "This is often a sign that the teaching style your child is meeting in the classroom is in direct conflict with what he or she requires to learn. Conversely, if your child is not being challenged, you may notice that he or she has started to act out in the classroom or regularly complains about being bored at school."
  3. You hear (either from your child or another parent) that the teacher is having temper tantrums. "Your child may report that the teacher screams and yells at all the kids -- for any reason," notes leading child and family psychotherapist Fran Walfish, Psy.D., author of The Self-Aware Parent: Resolving Conflict and Building a Better Bond With Your Child (Palgrave Macmillan Trade, 2010). "There is no excuse for teachers losing it and modeling bad behavior in the classroom."
  4. signs kid bad teacherYou're told that kids aren't actively engaged or involved with their classwork on a regular basis. The mark of an exceptional educator is one who gets kids fired up and excited. But every teacher relies on handouts or silent sustained reading from time to time. That said, teachers who disengage from their students more days than not are likely problematic. "Your child might inform you that the teacher does not lecture or facilitate class discussions," explains Dr. Walfish. "He or she simply assigns quiet reading or individual solo desk work to the kids during class lesson teaching time. This may indicate a psychological trauma the teacher is suffering from or pure laziness."
  5. The teacher is MIA for parent-teacher check-ins. Sure, you have to have realistic expectations about how much emailing and phone calling the teacher will be able to do, but poor, lacking, or nonexistent communication may signal a problem, explains university administrator Chester Goad, Ed.D. "It's prudent for parents to ask educators their preferred method for contact because it lets them know you respect them and their time," advises Dr. Goad. "If you've done that, and you're still not getting a proper or timely response, that may be a red flag."
  6. The messages the teacher sends home are consistently negative and/or point the finger at Mom and Dad. "Be on the lookout for the blame game," recommends Dr. Goad. "Most parents at some point are going to receive bad news from the teacher regarding academics or behavior. But an effective teacher will work cooperatively with parents and the student to address the problem as soon as it surface, not wait until the issues are out of control." Ideally, a teacher will want to work with parents, not go to battle with them.

Even if these signs ring a bell, it's important for parents to tread lightly. The first step: "If a mom has a suspicion about her child's teacher, she should request a classroom visit to observe the candor of rapport between the teacher and all of the students," advises Charisse Beach, assistant principal of Joliet Public Schools in Illinois and author of At-Risk Students: Transforming Student Behavior (R&L Education, 2013). "Much can be learned about a teacher based on how he/she communicates with other students."

You may determine that the situation isn't necessarily as dire as you had thought. Or your hunches may be confirmed. "Part of life is sometimes learning to cope," says Dr. Walfish. "On the other hand, if you've determined you're in a hopeless situation, that's never worth the misery. A lot of ground can be lost in a year, and there's nothing wrong with demanding a positive, quality experience for your child."

Has your child ever had a "bad" teacher? How did you cope?

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nonmember avatar FutureTeacher

I will officially begin my teaching career in January, and all I have to say is THANK YOU! I've observed so many teachers, and must say, the best ones, the ones the children love and learn the most from, are the ones who are excited to show the students what learning is about.

IHear... IHeartCake

#5 is nonsense.  Teachers shouldn't have to be emailing and calling parents.  Show up at the end of the school day and go to the classroom and ask the teacher when he or she is available to discuss the issue, if it's an important issue.  If I were a teacher, I would not be spending my evenings calling and emailing parents. Next thing you know, you are being sued, or having the parent try to get you fired over, something you wrote in an email.  Forget it!

the4m... the4mutts

Your kid getting a bad fit (or an actually BAD TEACHER) isn't that big of a deal to fix. My son had a terrible time with one in 4th grade. It took a couple months of every single thing on this list happening every single day, but I finally stopped calling, emailing, showing up before/during/after school, (the lady was a flat out bitch, she refused to communicate with ANY parent until parent/teacher conferences, or unless you cornered her)

I just filed a complaint with the district, and got my son moved to a new classroom. End of story.

nonmember avatar Kc

4mutts always has a story to tell. STFU please

craft... craftycatVT

Right back at ya, Kc. I like her stories. You don't have to read them!

the4m... the4mutts

Lmao thanks craftycat

Maybe when kc has kids, and you know, interracts with them, and even LIKES them, he/she will realize that parenting = stories

And what better place to tell type them out, than, oh, IDK, a mom blog site? Haha

nonmember avatar Sarah

IHeartCake- Seriously? I've never had a teacher that doesn't specified how to be contacted. It's not about emailing the parents a report every night about their child's progress, but responding to questions or concerns parents and/or students have. They don't need to be chatting it up all the time, but you need to know how to contact them when you need to.

I had a professor in college who, among other things, made it impossible to contact her. She never got back to any questions, never seemed to be there during office hours, and even had times where she didn't return assignments (not giving us any feedback on most of our papers, just a letter grade). Teachers like that who you can't communicate with are not acceptable.

nonmember avatar alexandra

Our district just threatens parents with the NEA...they let parents know they will take them to court and they have more money than individual families. They stick together at all costs and even if you see them behaving badly, you're at fault. School board is a joke..all are backed by the NEA who actively campaigns against whomever they dont support. They ( it does cross a line) when they use an off site building and pay teachers to basically bash someone. Off site so no violation of campaigning in schools!! Lol

Madel... Madelaine

I try to be more of a presence in the classroom when my child has a "bad teacher".  My daughter had one last year.

jessi... jessicasmom1

helped teach her more of specific at home

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