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Questions to Ask the Principal if Your Child Hates School

by Sara Ipatenco

It's tough to drop your child off at school if he protests and exclaims that he hates school each and every morning. While many children don't necessarily say school is their favorite activity, most children do enjoy learning, socializing and spending time in a well-run classroom. If your child seems to genuinely hate school, it's time to set up an appointment with the principal at her school. Figuring out what is causing your child to dislike school so much is the first step in helping her overcome what she doesn't enjoy, so she can look forward to learning.

Is My Child Having Problems?

Since you aren't in the school or classroom with your child all day, every day, asking the principal about what's happening is a valuable way to learn more about how your child interacts with peers, teachers and others in authority. Ask the principal if your child spends time in his office or if the teacher complains about his behavior behind closed doors. If your child regularly gets sent to the principal's office, he might hate school because he feels like he's not valued. Being in trouble, even if it's justified, can have a negative impact on how much your child enjoys going to school. If he is having behavior problems, work with the principal to come up with a solution so he's able to remain the classroom with his peers. Reducing the behavior problems will often encourage your child to like school more.

What Is the Teacher's Style?

Ask the principal about the teaching styles used in the school. Talk specifically about the teaching style of your child's teacher. Learning more about how your child's teacher teaches can give you valuable clues about why he dislikes school. For example, a teacher who requires students to sit in rows, fill out worksheets and avoid talking might not be conducive to a child who needs to move around and thrives on socialization. If your child and his teacher constantly clash, talk to the principal about possibly switching him to a different classroom with a different teacher. Alternatively, you might ask the principal to work with the teacher to develop additional ways to help your child be successful, which can increase how much he likes school.

Should I Conference With Teachers and Others?

The principal can only offer a limited amount of advice since she isn't in the classroom with your child. Ask the principal how you would go about conferencing with the adults that spend the most time with your child. Of course, you should ask about conferencing with your child's teacher since she knows your child the best and can offer the most insight into what's causing your child to hate school. Don't stop there, however. Also ask to conference with teachers who teach art, music and physical education, as well as the adults who monitor lunchtime and recess. Gathering all the facts will help you clearly understand what's causing your child to hate school, so you can take steps to help him overcome these issues.

What Can I Do To Help?

The principal at your child's school has received extensive training in what it takes to ensure a high-quality education for each student. She probably has a wealth of resources and advice for you when it comes to what you can do at home to help your child learn to like school. Showing a willingness to help instead of accusing the school of causing your child to hate school will go a long way toward motivating the principal to be on your side and to help your child overcome his problems. Perhaps you could ask more detailed questions about your child's day and what he enjoyed or didn't enjoy. You might also help your child focus on the good parts of school, so he begins to realize that everything isn't as bad as he makes it out to be.

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

Photo Credits

  • Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images