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Would you like to know how to deal with a bad teacher? When your child gets a bad teacher, it can feel like a death sentence for the whole family.

What makes it worse is when every other parent in the class starts complaining after the first day of school because they know what it will be like for the next nine months.

And then there is always that one mom…

She starts talking loudly about how the school is terrible and that she will get a class change. She knows people, and this isn’t right… yada, yada, yada. You know it’s going to be a long year with her, too.

Truthfully, the whole thing stinks if your child is in a class with a bad teacher and the crazy mom. (Yep, I just said it.)

If this is your life, there is hope! There are things you can do to mitigate the situation.

Check out these 15 genius hacks for dealing with a bad teacher. They’re from a teacher mom who understands both sides of the classroom.

Most of all, don’t give up. Your child needs you to help him learn the material one way or another.

How to Deal With a Bad Teacher: 15 Genius Hacks

Here are some genius hacks on how to deal with a bad teacher. Remember, you are not powerless. There are things you can do to make your situation tolerable or even positive.

1. Wait and see

There have been some years when it really wasn’t that bad. My son had a rigorous math teacher, but she loved him. They got along great. I never once called or emailed her. I was so relieved.

Remember, there is always an adjustment period. The odd years of school are harder. (1st grade, 3rd grade, 5th grade, etc.) There is a big jump in learning.

More is expected of your child these years.

Your child may be complaining because he is no longer babied. It is a natural process of shock and adjustment.

This is how to deal with a bad teacher–wait and see if it improves.

RELATED: 50 Easy School Readiness Skills Parents Can Do With Kids [Printable Checklist]

2. Being involved is how to deal with a bad teacher

Keep up with what is going on in your child’s classes. Ask other parents if what you are hearing is correct.

Read the emails and paperwork your teacher sends home. They are all important.

Check your child’s grades and be aware of projects. Most schools have this option online now.

These are good things to do, no matter what your teacher is like. You don’t need to remind her of the assignments; just be aware.

Understanding what is happening in the classroom is how to deal with a bad teacher.

3. Get ALL the details from your child

If you want to know how to deal with a bad teacher, ask questions before judging. Find out the exact details (as best you can) before you write that email, talk on the phone, or go in for a meeting.

There are always two sides to a story.

You may not have a bad teacher; perhaps you are not getting the whole story.

Even as a mom teacher, I have been snookered into believing one thing from my child only to find out it wasn’t the whole truth. Boy, was I surprised! It was only part of the story.

Kids tend to slant things to their side. We all do. Just keep that in mind before you proceed.

And don’t yell at your kids when you find the whole truth. Calm down first and realize you are all working toward the same thing–learning the material. This is how to deal with a bad teacher.

RELATED: How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids: 7 Easy Tips to Be a Calm Parent`weekly meal planner template pdf

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4. Diagnose the problem

You may wonder what qualifies as a bad teacher. Most bad teachers fall into one of these four categories:

1. Too hard/goes too fast

2. Yells/severe

3. Too easy/lacking in classroom discipline

4. Not qualified/can’t relay the material to the kids

Sometimes, it is a combination of these categories. If you want to understand how to deal with a bad teacher, then realize that teachers are learning, too, and may need some constructive criticism.

Approach the teacher with some positive things she has done, then slip in your suggestions. Close with some more positive words.

See also  How to Discipline Kids: 29 Easy Ways to Get Obedience

Be kind with your words when dealing with a teacher who can’t teach. It is difficult to manage a classroom and teach the curriculum within a specific time every day.

5. Address it early is how to deal with a bad teacher

There is a delicate balance between when to step in and when to wait. Academic issues cannot wait very long. If your child comes home with a few failing grades, it is time to talk to the teacher (after you have spoken with your child).

Find out what your child can do to help him pass the homework, projects, or tests. It is better to catch it at the homework stage instead of waiting for a few failing tests.

If you want to deal with a bad teacher, learn how to work with her. Get supplemental work, have your child stay after school for tutoring, or work with your child extra at home. A good education includes the parents, whether you have a good or bad teacher.

RELATED: 40 Fun Reading Activities For Pre-School and Elementary Age Kids

6. Communicate with the teacher

How do you react to a bad teacher? I suggest you start with the teacher first. Not the principal!

Approach the teacher as a collaborator. You are a team working together for the good of your child. Keep it in the “I.”

The following are examples of what to say: “I need your help.” “I don’t understand.” “I may have misunderstood.”

When you start a sentence with “you” or “why,” you automatically put the teacher on the defense, and the teacher will feel attacked.

I have found that my child actually didn’t have a bad teacher. My child (ugh) was actually not taking notes correctly, studying enough, or talking too much during class.

If you want to know how to deal with a bad teacher, act appropriately no matter how angry you are. You could be embarrassed if you don’t.

There is a good chance it is your child. Gasp. 

Alienating your child’s teacher is the worst thing you can ever do as a parent. I have only dealt with a rude parent twice as a teacher. And it was a horrible experience.

RELATED: What to Say in a Parent-Teacher Conference: 21 Hacks From a Teacher Mom

7. Support the teacher when possible

Support your teacher when possible. Give the benefit of the doubt. There are very few teachers who would decide to dislike a child.

Teachers go to their jobs every day because they love teaching. And they love kids. They sure aren’t teaching for the money!

This is how to deal with a bad teacher.

RELATED: Reversing the Moral Decline In America by Raising Kids Who Love God

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8. Talk to the principal is how to deal with a bad teacher

You may wonder, “How do I complain about a rude teacher?”

After you have talked with the teacher, go to the principal. Ask for a meeting with the principal and teacher, not before then.

Nothing makes a teacher angrier than going over her head without giving her a chance to correct the situation.

If the situation is not better, let the principal know what is happening in the classroom. You may have an inexperienced teacher who needs help. This gives the teacher a chance to improve with a little more pressure.

Try to work together as a team. You should all be on the same page.

Don’t forget the end game is your child. You want your child to learn in a safe environment with a teacher who is not hostile toward him. This is how to deal with a bad teacher.

9. Address the situation as a group

Talk to other parents if the teacher and the principal won’t listen. Get parents together and address the situation as a group. There is power in numbers. It makes a statement.

My son had a horrible baseball coach in high school. Over the years, many parents complained individually to the head coach, but nothing happened.

The year after my son left, a group of parents got together and went to the school district’s athletic director. They complained as a big group and got him fired.

Sadly, this coach verbally destroyed many boys during his tenure. I think a few baseball careers were probably squashed, too. Don’t be afraid to be assertive if you know the coach/teacher should be gone.

See also  How to Parent a Teenager (and Not Freak Out!)

10. Volunteer at the school

Volunteering at the school is one of the best ways to experience what is going on firsthand. You can work in the lunchroom, library, or be a room mom. You can also come up at lunch and eat with your child when he is in elementary school.

You will grow two heads after sixth grade, so take advantage of the limited lunch years. 

Go to the class parties. This will allow you to see how the teacher interacts with the students. This is how to deal with a bad teacher.

RELATED: Family Bonding Activities: Fun Ways to Spend Time Together

11. Learn to cope with the bad teacher

When you have a bad teacher, you must learn to cope with the situation. You can’t always have the best teacher, the best principal, or the best school.

News alert: There is no perfect teacher. Someday, your child will not have the best boss either. This is life. Character traits can be taught, and lessons can be learned by working with a difficult person.

Coach your older child (11-12 years or older) on handling the problems before you step in. You don’t want to rescue at every juncture.

Step in after the child has tried on his own a few times. If the teacher is inappropriate or your child is failing, address it immediately. Those two things cannot wait. This is how to deal with a bad teacher.

12. Work around a bad teacher

You may have to work around a bad teacher. See if your child can get extra tutoring after school with another teacher or hire a tutor if your child isn’t “getting it.” YouTube is also a great way to find help.

There is a video that explains anything your child needs to learn.

My daughter had a math teacher who knew her content but was impatient. She yelled and got angry when the students asked questions and was not good at repeatedly explaining the steps.

After talking with the teacher and then the principal, we finally hired a private tutor. My daughter learned math and passed the class. I’m still a little miffed we had to hire a tutor, but you can’t change a teacher.

Sometimes, you have to work around a bad teacher.

Do what you must to ensure your child learns the material. By the way, that math teacher was fired. I think that was because of me.

Uh, sorry, not sorry. 

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13. Have a good attitude

Having a good attitude is how to deal with a bad teacher. Listen to what other parents say, but always talk nicely about the teacher in front of your child.

If you give your child an inch, he will take a mile. Your child will use any ill feelings you have toward the teacher to slide through class without putting forth the full effort required to do the assignments.

Parents who trash their child’s teacher don’t know how to deal with a bad teacher,

14. Prayer is how to deal with a bad teacher

I can’t tell you how many times I prayed for my kids’ teachers before they were assigned to the new school year. ( I still pray for my daughter’s college professors.)

It made a huge difference.

Their schedule was miraculously changed several times, and they got out of a bad teacher’s class. When they did have a bad teacher, I prayed for favor.

Over and over again, I saw how my kids would escape the wrath of a teacher when other kids didn’t fare so well. This didn’t always happen, but I knew God was with my kids through the hard times. He protected them even when things were difficult.

You and your child can pray for your child’s teacher throughout the year. Pray for your attitude and your child’s attitude.

I remember when my son hated his first-grade teacher. We worked really hard to help him adjust, and many prayers were said over the situation. By Thanksgiving, he wanted her to go camping with us and sleep in our tent.

Prayer is how to deal with a bad teacher. It works! Pray extra hard if you have a rude teacher!

RELATED: 25 Different Methods of Prayer That Are Powerful

15. Change schools 

Don’t be afraid to change schools. One of my kids was having a hard time at school. It had been going on for a while.

The school environment was becoming more hostile to our beliefs, and our child was becoming unusually disinterested in anything.

See also  6 Positive Parenting Tips Your Teens Will Love

The teachers were not bad per se, but the classes were so big it was hard to get individual attention.

We moved to a smaller Christian school, where the class ratio was 15:1. This made a huge difference. Immediately, our child started thriving again.

The teachers cared, the work was challenging but manageable, and the environment was positive. It was one of the best years of my child’s life.

If you want to know how to deal with a bad teacher (or school), consider removing your child from the situation. Sometimes, the best way to resolve a problem is to start over elsewhere.

RELATED: How to Find a Good School: 29 Insider Secrets From a Teacher-Mom

What Are the Signs of a Bad Teacher?

A bad teacher will not work with you or your child, doesn’t care about helping your child succeed, or is just plain rude.

Bad teacher characteristics will appear in lesson preparation, grading, communication with parents, and tutoring time. Most of all, a bad teacher will have a bad attitude, act rudely, or be sarcastic.

This kind of teacher may be better off working elsewhere. If you have talked to the teacher multiple times without action, you can bring these issues to the principal as a parent.

The impact of teachers on students is lifelong. A good teacher can help your child find his purpose in life, while a bad teacher can destroy him in a matter of months.

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How to deal with a bad teacher; teacher in the background

How to Deal with a Bad Teacher and Overcome

Focusing on your child’s teacher’s good qualities can help you overcome a bad teacher, no matter the situation. You can’t always control what teacher your child gets, but you can control how you deal with a bad teacher by how you behave and talk.

Be professional and stay calm.

Remember that the main goal is for your child to get a good education and learn to work through complex problems. Working through life problems is just as crucial as learning contentment.

It is good practice for your child to learn how to navigate challenging situations before he has to do it for real someday.

You can survive with a bad teacher and learn some good life skills in the process. It just takes a little more creativity and lots of prayers.

 Did you learn how to deal with a bad teacher? Tell me about your experience in the comments below. 

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Julie is a wife, mom, teacher, author, and blogger. She writes about Christian family living, marriage, parenting with a touch of humor.

72 Comments

  1. These are great tips! My son isn’t at the age where I have to worry about teachers yet, but it will be coming soon. I’ll have to keep these tips in mind. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Crazy that we need to deal with these type of teachers but yet inevitable. Thanks for the advise those we’re truly helpful.

  3. Elizabeth O Reply

    This is a really helpful post, i think sometimes people do not know how to handle these kinds of situations because you do not expect a teacher to be a problem.

    • Elizabeth, I agree. You would think that teachers would all be good. Sadly, this is not the case. Thanks for your comments.

  4. I’m so lucky that I’ve never had to deal with a crazy teacher. But if I did, these are great tips.

  5. My son is about to start school next year. I am quite nervous about it. Your tips will really help

    • Thea, I am sure you will have a great year. Elementary teachers are usually pretty good. Thanks for your comment.

  6. It is difficult working with a teacher that isn’t on your team. We homeschool now, but when my son was in preschool, we had a teacher and principal that didn’t seem to do the right thing concerning my son. He once got in trouble for biting a student and I thought that seemed odd. He’d never been a biter. When I asked him about it, he told me he and the other boy were pretending they were cars and the other boy shoved his fingers in my son’s mouth like he was pumping gas. Well, duh, if someone shoves their fingers in my mouth, I’m probably going to bite them.

    • Ha ha. That seems pretty logical. I am so sorry that happened. I guess that won’t happen at homeschool! Thanks for your comment.

  7. It’s hard when you KNOW the teacher is not good to not color that for your child as well.

  8. Emma Riley Reply

    This is such a great article to read by all parents like me. It is so important to identify the problem and good communication is a key to have a better relationship not only to your child but also to his/her teachers.

  9. Listening to your child and identifying issues is key! Ideally we won’t have to deal with bad teachers, but great tips just in case!

  10. Amanda Friedland Reply

    Such great tips, thanks for sharing. I remember when I was young, I had an English teacher that I thought would be the worst. Almost a decade later, we still keep in touch.

  11. These are great tips that I will need to keep in mind for the future when my son is old enough to go to school.

  12. This is very good information. I think communicate is very important not only with teacher, school as well.

  13. As a teacher, I loved how positive many of your solutions were. I doubt I’m one of those bad teachers (LOL), but many of these tips are important as a general guidelines for working together with teachers. I definitely advocate getting the whole story from teachers. I’ve had some odd stories come back to me in the past that were embellished by students (they’re only in kindergarten) haha!

    • Melissa, you aren’t kidding. Kids like to embellish no matter the age.
      My kids embellished stories when they were even attending high school. It’s so embarrassing. I found out my daughter was talking all the time instead of taking notes. Ugh.

  14. These are a lot of great tips. As a father with a daughter entering school in a couple years, I will definitely keep these in mind.

  15. I’m wondering how you’re defining a bad teacher. If it’s because students are complaining the teacher is giving too much homework, I don’t think that makes a teacher bad. As long as the homework is relevant to what is being taught, teachers shouldn’t be considered bad teachers because they give homework. If they come to class unprepared and are verbally abusive, I would consider that a bad teacher. However, it’s a slippery slope. It’s important to get all the details before labelling a teacher bad. Often school is not easy for the students or the teacher.

    • Nancie, I have no problems with homework. What I have a problem with is when a teacher doesn’t teach properly, and then expects the students to do the homework without sufficient instruction. That is a bad teacher to me. Especially when it is math.
      A bad teacher does not create a safe environment to ask questions either.

  16. Teachers can really make or break someone’s experience at school, from young kids to adults at uni. It really sucks when you get a bad one that you just have to deal with, but these are some great tips on how to cope with such a situation! As for the crazy mum (which mine was), there really isn’t anything you can do except for stay out of her way!

  17. I did not pay attention to the teacher good or bad. But after reading this article I just realized that this is very important to students, especially kids. thanks for the tips ^^

  18. Communication with the teacher and work as a team for the good of your child is the key. I don’t believe by just listening to one side of the story from the kid.

  19. This post is really indeed! Bad teacher not means that they torture or child or what ever. HAHAHHAHA! sometimes being bad teacher can make a child discipline This is a great tips!

    • I believe in discipline, but I don’t believe in humiliation. There is a difference. Thanks for your comment.

  20. This is such a tough one. I had a teacher in middle school who, in hindsight, I realize was sexually harassing me and other girls. Of course, at the time I just knew he made me really uncomfortable. I’m trying to strike a balance with my kids where they will raise the flag on real issues with teachers without feeling like they can just get away from any teacher they don’t like.

    • Yes, that is why I said if there the teacher is inappropriate, you need to deal with it right away. I think having a sexual harassment conversation and defining what that looks like is important. Thank God for the #metoo movement and #timesup! We have come a long way. By the way, I had a teacher and an administrator make advances at me. I never told about one them. I didn’t think anyone who believe me.

  21. There always a good teacher and a bad teacher, and I agreed with all you have said, we have to speak up and open up our voice and dealing with it in a smart way. I think it apply to the bully problem too.

    • Yes, we had that problem with my son in 5th grade. I hate to tell you how we dealt with it…I don’t think you can do what we did now. It worked though. After months of talking to the teachers and principal, we told my son to defend himself. The kids punched him at recess, so my son went after him. They had to pull my son off of the kids. My son punched him back. OF course, my son was suspended for a day. But he NEVER had a problem again. You have to stand up to bully some way. They will not go away until you do. My son didn’t get in trouble with us at all.

  22. I remember having to switch schools one year my teacher was so bad.. Not only me but a few of my friends too. We were lucky though, as the town was sooo small. Luckily it was a slit french english community so there was a second school of english kids. The new school was so small my class included kids from grade 1 through 6 and there were still only 20 of us! I didn’t miss the bad teacher though she used to swear at us and yell all the time!

    • Those are the worst kind of teachers. And it is so hard to get a teacher fired in public school.It seems the teacher has to be a psycho to get fired. It is so frustrating. I hope the small school worked out ok.

  23. Oh gosh, if I had a nickel for every BAD TEACHER I had back in the day, I would be A BILLIONAIRE! hahahaha!

    • For sure. I wish the schools would do a better job of hiring quality teachers. Unfortunately, it is hard to get rid of a bad teacher. Thanks for your comment, Gigi.

  24. You’ve dragged the words out of my mouth! A hand-clap is in order.

    This is the kind of parenting the world needs today and tomorrow.

    Thanks for sharing. Much love, Julie.

  25. Love this post and saving for just in case (even though I am hopeful I will never need it 😉 ). My older 2 kids (1st and 2nd grade) luckily attend a great school, but I will say I still have my favorites. I think communication is HUGE! So many parents just sit back and only complain without getting involved.

    • Clair, you are so right. Complaining is no good when you are not a part of the solution. I hope you don’t ever need this post either. Thanks for reading.

  26. Numbers 3 and 6 are so important–there are always two sides to every story and sometimes one isn’t complete or is exaggerated. Usually the truth is somewhere in the middle.

    • Tracy, isn’t that the truth. I know everyone wants to believe their child is perfect, but I can tell you there are quite a few little rascals in the classroom. If parents only knew some of the things their kids say to me. It is kinda funny. Thanks for your comment.

  27. I remember having a teacher in Elementary school that was quite terrible. Don’t forget that your child is in the middle. So be nice and work with the teacher so you child doesn’t get the short end of the stick. On a side note, I am still a student (in college) and I still come across some terrible teachers. With that being said your child will have to learn how to deal with it and how to overcome the obstacle. Thanks for the post!

    • Yes, that is why we could never do anything about our horrible baseball coach. He would take it out on our boys. It was a terrible situation. So difficult to navigate. Thanks for your comment.

  28. I was interested to read this because I am a former teacher. I was pleasantly surprised by your tips. These are all right on point. My absolute favorite quote is, “You are a team working together for the good of your child.” This the most truthful thing parents need to know.

    • Christina, I am so glad to hear you validate my points. There is nothing like having someone in your field agree with you. Good luck to you. Thanks for reading.

  29. I love this! I’m a mom and former teacher. I love the steps because it’s best to look at everything before taking any action.

    • I am glad you agree. I think having the perspective of a teacher can really help a parent to see both sides. Thanks for your comment.

  30. As a teacher myself, I don’t ever want anyone to have to survive a “bad teacher”. Sometimes parents jump to conclusions without giving things time and sometimes the school year is not so great. You made some very good suggestions on ways to slow down and help.

    • Angie, thanks for saying this. That is why it put it in the number one spot. You have to give the teacher a chance. Kids are not always easy to please, and they don’t like it when things get hard. Sometimes extra studying is all the child needs to do to make it better.

  31. Believe it or not, some things don’t change. We had the ‘crazy mom’ & ‘bad teacher too when my daughter went to school. Great article.

    • HAHA! I am laughing out loud. I don’t know why this happens! I am laughing, but it is not always funny. It is horribly disruptive. Thanks for the comment.

  32. This is all great advice! I think all too often parents jump in and act on what the child tells them rather than get all the info first. When I was a kid I had a “bad” teacher for English. I thought my whole year was going to tank. Turned out she wasn’t bad at all and was one of my favorite teachers! Waiting it out a bit is very good advice!

    • Diana, it does take time for the teacher and the students to get into a stride. I am glad you waited it out. Sometimes patience is all that is needed. Thanks for your comment.

    • Yes, I agree it is good to speak up if your child’s grades are tanking or the teacher is horribly inappropriate. Other times it is good to wait and see if it is really that bad. Thanks for the comment.

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