18 Ways You May Be Accidentally Insulting Your Child’s Teacher

Having a parent-teacher chat? Here’s what not to say

We know you want what’s best for your budding scholar, but when it comes to your relationship with your child’s teacher, there’s a fine line between a healthy parent-teacher partnership and an overly demanding one. So how do you best keep the communication channels open without offending anyone? We asked teachers to tell us about the common passive-aggressive, condescending, or straight-up rude comments they’ve gotten from parents.

Here are some things to avoid saying during a parent-teacher chat so you don’t (even inadvertently) offend your most important academic ally:

1. “I need… [insert thing here]”
– Michael W., third-grade teacher, Los Angeles, CA

I need an independent study.” “I need my child to do his homework.” “I need my kid to focus better in class.” We know you need things. But so does your teacher! Stop telling your teacher what you need and think more about the teacher’s (and the class’s) needs.

Instead: Say: “Do you have any time to discuss independent study/homework demands/etc.?”

2. “My child never had this problem/did this thing/struggled in the past.”
-Michael W., third-grade teacher, Los Angeles, CA

The past is the past! When you complain your child has never struggled in the past, what your teacher hears is you think it’s somehow their fault.

Instead: Focus on the present and discuss your child’s current needs without comparing them to years past (unless you have pre-existing strategies to offer your teacher that might help).

3. “But he was fine in preschool.” or “He never did that in preschool.” 
-Marni N., kindergarten teacher, Los Angeles, CA

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