Sunday 20 October 2019

Dear David Coleman: My daughter's teacher seems to have a really low opinion of her after just a month at school

Photo posed
Photo posed

Question: My five-year-old daughter hasn't been herself since starting school. Each evening she is upset, worried, a little withdrawn and even angry. Unexpectedly, her teacher pulled me aside at the school gate and told me that she is a rude, impatient, badly-behaved child. I was speechless. I felt powerless. Should I be entrusting her to a teacher who has such a low opinion of her?/b>

David replies: That does seem shocking. If you were, effectively, doorstopped by her, then in your surprise and shock, it is very unlikely that you got to actually discuss the issues that the teacher brought up. It does sound like it would be very helpful to have a planned, more formal, meeting with the teacher.

From the way you describe things, the girl depicted by her teacher doesn't seem to bear any resemblance to the daughter you know. Although, if her teacher has formed such a negative attitude towards your daughter, it may explain your daughter's downcast mood and the stress she seems to be carrying.

It may be the case that your daughter is struggling with her behaviour, particularly if she is stressed by the new environment of school.

It may also be that the teacher mistook you for the parent of another child!

However, all of this needs to be clarified at a proper, planned, meeting, such that you can have the time and space to consider what the teacher is saying. You will know more clearly, after spending more time with the teacher, if you are prepared to leave your child in her care.

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