The following is a query to Child Caring writer Barbara Meltz during a Q&A with Boston.com readers:
Question: Hi Barbara, for the first time ever, my 9-year-old daughter, who has attends a Christian private school, does not like school. I know it's because of the teacher. From what I hear, she's incredibly strict. I have absolutely no problem with a teacher establishing his/her rules in a classroom, but my daughter has no motivation at all to do well, where as in the past she had teachers who would motivate her to do her best. I've been watching and listening from the sidelines and don't know if I should say anything to the teacher at all.
Barbara Meltz: Buttercup, everybody gets a dud teacher sooner or later, even in private school and there's certainly valuable life lessons to be learned for a child from figuring out how to make things work when you and a teacher don't hit it off.
So that's an ongoing convversation to be having with your daughter. On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with approach the teacher in a way that isn't accusatory but that puts the two of you on the same team: "Jill seems so unhappy at school. I wonder if you have any insight into what's going on for her."
For all you know, there's a social issue or some other issue. And just asking that question will potentially make the teacher more alert to her and could change the dynamic, espeically if you are helping your child figure out some coping strategies. I would also talk to other parents of children in this class. If this is a problem that's larger than your child, you are justified to go to the teacher and, subsequently, the head of the school about it.
Readers, do you agree with Barbara's take? Have some advice of your own? Let us know in our comments section below.