Dear Snarky – What If I Hate My Kid’s Teacher?

b13b7a5ce82559faea26a164a45fa70dDear Snarky,

I am freaking out because I’m afraid my daughter will get a bad teacher. Last year, for 4th grade she got the teacher no one ever wants. It was a long year. I thought about asking the principal, multiple times, to get her out of the class but I didn’t want to be THAT mom. Now, I don’t know if my daughter or me can take another year of having the teacher that is horrible.

 Signed, Upset Mom

Dear Upset,

The good news is the odds are in your favor that your daughter will probably get a teacher she loves. Yes, every so often, you will get a teacher that isn’t a good fit for your child but that doesn’t happen every year and if it does you may need to look in the mirror and not at the school.

 That said, if you do get a teacher that you fear, using fact not emotion, (some emotion is fine – your mom gut should never be discounted) is going to be a train wreck then by all means swiftly swoop in and get your child into another class.

In my long-term parenting career only one time did I request to have one of my children change teachers. I also didn’t want to be THAT mom so I waited to see if things would get better – they didn’t. Finally, after the winter holiday break my son changed classes and it was a wondrous and beautiful thing. I kicked myself for not doing it sooner.

So, bottom line, if you are 100% (okay, make that 95%) sure your child’s teacher is quite possibly the worst educational match in the history of the ABC’s (gentle snarky reminder – you do not swap teachers so your kid can be with his or her best friend) then request a change early in the school year and know that there’s only so many of the these changes you can make (you are not Goldilocks trying to find the teacher that is “just right”). This means do your homework to assure yourself and your child that the change is needed. 

If you have a question for Dear Snarky email me at



11 thoughts on “Dear Snarky – What If I Hate My Kid’s Teacher?

  1. Normal Mom says:

    Chiming in to echo the admonition that you should use that card sparingly. Some teachers might be a bad fit for YOU, but an okay-to-great fit for your kiddo. And some teachers start off the year putting down the hammer, but once all the kids are used to the routine, things lighten up. If a teacher is really, truly horrible and no one wants him/her and everyone absolutely has terrifying stories…well, maybe it’s time for a Mom Bomb…

  2. Mrs. K-12 says:

    I’m a teacher and all I ask is that you gave us a chance. I like Snarky’s advice that if no teacher is a “good fit” to go look in the mirror.

  3. Pam says:

    and sometimes look at the overall makeup of the class and the class she/he might move to.
    Even if the teacher isn’t a great fit, moving to the other class may mean a group of kids (read recess, lunch, specials, hallway commutes, bathroom breaks, before school/after school time a.k.a. the other 50% of your child’s day and drama) that are not a good fit.
    Out of the frying pan…into the fire….

  4. Pearl ;) says:

    As a mom of 3, I have come across my share of teachers, good, bad and indifferent. One was a total whack-job and this was well known. My child suffered in her class but was young enough to not understand she was plum crazy….literally. I worried so about his next year. I was unsure of his teacher, but they formed a bond that worked for them and I supported them both from the sidelines. Seeing her interact with the kids changed my opinion of her. It turned out to be his favorite teacher in 4 years.

  5. Lisa says:

    Teachers always love that advice to look in the mirror. I was so excited for my
    Kid to start school and she had an awesome Kindergarten teacher who was strict yet kind and was a great teacher. Then came the lazy, lethargic 1st grade teacher who I made a $100 bet with my husband that she would retire soon – and sure enough a few months after I said it, came the announcement. Then there was the arrogant, mean- spirited jerk of a 2nd grade teacher who not only looked mean but was negative, downtrodden, snarky and who should not even be around kids. I straight out hated her. She was also Teacher of the Year. Now we are in 3rd grade and we have another arrogant jerk. I am pissed off that not only will I have to endure another 9 years for kid #1 but I have 12 more years with kid #2.
    My kid gets top scores on her math tests -as in 100% – and the grades come back as B on the report card. She turns in all of her homework – I check it – and the report card says “homework needs to be turned in on time” — the questioning, the going back and forth and all of it is draining. I hate my kid’s teachers and I get even angrier how teachers are held so high – perhaps they just suck and parents should be able to think and say it without being made to look bad.

  6. Dotcom says:

    I can’t believe how many people think a child should just suffer through the year with a bad or even just a mediocre teacher. This can really hold a child back! If it is making your child miserable, pull out your claws, have a talk with the principal and switch classes. If badly matched teachers become a regular thing at the school? Look into pulling your kid out of the school—either by looking for a new place to live or sending them to a private or homeschooling (if either is affordable and doable. Homeschooling isn’t easy but it’s no longer an impossible task in the United States—even to those of us who don’t have education degrees (which are mostly about classroom management—a skill you really don’t need when you teach your own kids). I can’t believe how many parents just waste their time and energy complaining while letting their kids suffer. All that does is creates more stress for everyone—your child and even YOU. And your kid’s self esteem and grades will suffer for it which can be something that follows them for a lifetime.

    For the record? I appreciate what most teachers do. It is a hard and often thankless job that gets less and less support these days. I also don’t believe children should ever be pampered. However, that is no reason to allow an abusive adult wreck a year (or MORE) of your child’s life. Childhood is one of the most important stages of our lives and it is the shortest. Why bother having kids if you are going to let it all get thrown away?

  7. Sarah says:

    I wish I would have read this when it was posted. Ugh. We had a really bad experience last year that I am just now learning all the details to. (We’re homeschooling this year and happy about it.)

    I think that teaching has become such a thankless, draining job with a lot of jerky little kids and it has soured most teachers. My kids have had some real hard nosed disciplinarians that we had no problems with whatsoever. However, last year, my daughter had a teacher who was impatient and mean. I witnessed it first hand. I didn’t want to be “That Mom”, either, so I had her stick it out.

    Fast forward a few months. She’s still regaining the confidence she lost during that school year. She’s opened up about some of the mean things her teacher said- not just to her but other kids. She’s admitted to me that she was afraid to tell me because she was afraid she would get into trouble from her teacher.

    Once a child who was a grade level above in both mathematics and reading, she is now behind and we are hurrying to catch up. I have no worries that she will because she’s bright and we get to spend as much time as we want working on things. She loves learning.

    So, although this is super old, if anyone googles this during their first few weeks of school, I would encourage moms to listen to their kids- especially if they know their kid is typically reliable. It’s like people either treat teachers terribly or they worship them. The truth is, they are just people. Some are decent but some are real a-holes that treat kids (AND PARENTS) terribly.

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