In the relationship between the student and the teacher, when the personalities are in sync, then you know it. A conflict–temporary or more on-going–can skew learning and create longer lasting consequences than just the school year. Understanding any conflict, objectively, takes some effort on the teenager’s, parent’s and teacher’s parts. What’s a general complaint? What’s a genuine concern or issue that can be resolved? What’s one of those “life lessons” experiences that we all need to go through, in order to mature? Or is what’s happening a combination of the three? Parents have the unenviable task of preparing us for the sometimes unpleasantries of life, yet for the teenager experiencing these lessons for the first time, may not have the same perspective to understand. All the while, school continues and the learning relationship between teacher and student may be somewhat limited.
While there’s truth in having to learn to deal with people whom we don’t connect with personally, so we can work together, how that happens will look differently for each teenager. Some may need more intervention on a parent’s part and others may need greater push to take initiative–and each situation can require a different approach. As adults, we’ve got more experience separating the message from the messenger, so to speak, while teens are learning to do this, as they mature. A parent’s consistent attention to the teen’s complaints and guidance to sort through the emotion to expose the underlying issue can be helpful. Then, the teen can be empowered with strategies to build a relationship with her/his teacher or find ways to work with the personality conflict, so as to only minimally impact their learning and development of a burgeoning talent, or build greater confidence that the subject matter really isn’t the teen’s “cup of tea”, which can give proper perspective and relieve undue stress. If these do not merit results, a parent to teacher conversation can be helpful, yet, can be influenced with its own complications (i.e. parents thinking they don’t want to bias the teacher against their kid, because the parent intervened, which we can save for another blog post). The more teens are encouraged to find ways to work with their teachers, the more both parties can gain greater understanding.
Photo Credit: Evergreen State College