Our Education expert at Rahoo.ie reveals the best way to make a complaint or concern to your child's teacher to ensure you are heard.
If you have a complaint or a concern about a teacher in your child's school, it is appropriate in most cases to firstly try and resolve the issue by talking with the teacher in the first instance.
Here are five steps to take into consideration:
1. Have all the facts.
Before you confront a teacher about an issue, make sure you have all the facts. Try not to make assumptions about what may or may not have happened. As rationally as you can, gather all information needed from your child about whatever the issue may be.
2. Have an objective you wish to achieve.
It sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget the objective you
wish to achieve when you’re contemplating how to raise an issue or make a
complaint to a teacher.
Will what you’re saying actually be useful and achieve something or will it just ruffle some feathers?
Whatever the issue at hand is, you should have a tangible
goal in mind of how the complaint should be dealt with.
3. Plan what you are going to say and who to.
When it comes to making a complaint or having any type of difficult conversation, wording is everything. How you phrase your complaint can affect how the teacher responds.
For this reason, you should take a bit of time to plan out what you’re going to say before you actually say it. Make sure you have all the facts ready and you are clear how you will address the issue.
4. There is a time and place.
A parent and teacher have the chance for an informal chat at the start and the end of the day; however, this is not the time or the place for a complaint! It is also not appropriate to enter a teacher’s classroom (with or without students) to discuss an issue.
Unfortunately, there are many stories from teachers of incidents where angry parents enter their classrooms to complain about something. This is intimidating for a teacher, against school safety rules – and not to mention, rude!
pre-arrange a meeting with the teacher via the school secretary or appropriate
5. Keep calm.
Depending on the nature of the complaint, it might be difficult to get past the emotions you are feeling whilst you are advocating on behalf of your child and making a complaint.
- Stay calm.
- Take a breath.
- Listen to responses from the teacher as rationally as you can.
If you feel like this is something you cannot do, you should re-arrange another time to continue the conversation when you are calm.
If you feel
like your complaint is not being taken seriously, then you may need to escalate
Please note that it is important if making a complaint to adhere to the school’s complaints procedure. The procedures adopted by most schools in dealing with complaints about teachers are those that have been agreed between the teacher’s unions and school management bodies.
This article was written by Ciara McGuane, our Education Expert who works for Rahoo.ie. Rahoo is a Department of Education Approved provider of professional development courses for teachers.