SURVIVING THE INFAMOUS TEACHER

(Woman’s Day) Did your child get “The Teacher” this year? Even if a teacher lives up to her reputation, you and your child can not only survive, but thrive, in the year ahead. Here’s how:

  • The Strict Teacher — Focus on what your child can gain from the teacher’s approach. Know the classroom rules, and review assignments and homework with your child on a regular basis to ensure he’s meeting the teacher’s expectations.
  • The Tough Grader — View the experience as a life lesson. When his honor student son got a teacher who never gave a grade higher than a C, Bob Nelms of Philadelphia encouraged the teen to stick it out rather than switch to another class. “Difficult teachers, like tough bosses, are part of life,” Bob says. Encourage your child to work hard no matter what the results, and help him adjust his grade expectations.
  • The Non-Communicator — Think you’ll be forewarned of a D on your child’s report card? Not always. Ask for ways to keep tabs on your child’s progress throughout the marking period that don’t make unreasonable demands on the teacher’s time.
  • The Crabby Teacher — Encourage your child not to take it personally if his teacher is irritable, and help put the teacher’s behavior in perspective. When her son had an impatient and scolding teacher, Dawn Bernett of Leesburg, Virginia, asked the teacher to list some of the boy’s strengths, and then shared them with him. “It was nice for my son to know that, despite outward appearances, the teacher liked some things he was doing,” Dawn says.
  • The Confusing Teacher — Ask for individual help. If your child is still lost in a cloud of chalk dust, encourage her to find a study buddy in the class, and ask the teacher for recommendation of Web sites that explain the material.

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