Every one of us had a teacher she will never forget. She was the best teacher ever! And each of us had a teacher who was, well, not a favorite at all. How great it would be if every teacher was special, was a winner. Welcome to the world of education. That’s just not going to happen, and maybe that’s a good thing.
As parents we begin to experience the good and the not-so-good teachers that will fill our children’s educational experience as soon as the child starts preschool. The good teacher is great–the one who “gets” our child; she is warm, kind, fair, creative, communicative, resourceful, organized, and superhuman. And then there are all the others. We love those good teachers. But this is the time of year when I get calls about ones you don’t love. Last week I even had a call from a mother who had taken her child out of the preschool because the director refused to give her child the teacher she wanted instead of the one the child got. What a mistake!
Not every teacher is going to be a winner. (In fact it is the ones who are not the winners who make the others stand out! But that’s not my point.) In order to navigate his education, your child needs to learn how to get along with all kinds of teachers. Just like you, he will get some good teachers, some great teachers, and he will get stuck with a few lemons. But no teacher is totally sour. Every teacher has something to offer your child, even if it is teaching him to adapt to her ways. Children need to learn to get along in all kinds of environments and circumstances. It is a life skill. One day your child will have a boss, a supervisor, an employer, a coach he can’t stand. What will you do then, call and complain?
Our job as parents is to prepare our kids for their paths and not to prepare the path for your child. By insisting on getting “the best” teacher, by taking the child out of the situation that is less than perfect, you are not preparing the child. When your child gets the teacher you don’t love, it is your job to help your child make it work for him. He is taking his cues from you, not only about his teacher but also about your expectations for him.
Whether your child is in preschool or high school, there will be a variety of teachers with a variety of skills and personalities. I can promise you that each will bring a lesson…even if it is how to make it through the year with a teacher he didn’t like. Don’t sabotage that lesson. It is one he will use forever.