Helicopter mom?

I need to know thoughts. My son is four and has been going to a preschool for the past 2 years. He loved his teacher last year and loved going to school. This year he has a different teacher and she is very strict and can come off mean. My son is a really good kid and so far she has told me he is a very sweet boy but my son does not like going to school anymore because she is mean. He cries every morning saying he doesn’t want to go. Yesterday when I went to pick him up, he got teary eyed and she told him, there is no reason for you to cry and I told her that he was a very emotional boy. So my concern is, since she is a very strict teacher I’m afraid that he is getting disciplined (yelled at) for very minor things. Should I have him stick it out?change teachers? I just don’t know what to do.

  • Anonymous
    Aug 20

    I would talk to your son about why he doesn’t like his new teacher. If the discipline is too much... where you think the teacher is being unreasonable, you are still your son’s advocate at this age. You need to go have a conversation with the teacher to see why she is so harsh with preschoolers. If she doesn’t budge, maybe speak to an administrator. Try to get to an understanding of what is acceptable and not acceptable at this age. If however you don’t think the teacher is being unreasonable, this is a great teaching moment for your son that he won’t like everybody he meets but that we still need to find a way to work with them. Rather than give up on a person, to give them a chance (at least one school year) and see if you can learn something from them. I didn’t like all my teachers in my life. My kindergarten teacher actually kind of scared me but my mom seemed to like her and so I stayed. Same with first through third.. was not a fan but according to my mom, her rules were reasonable, so I stayed. I think it’s ok to show your son that you’re still an advocate for him but that you will draw the line at a certain point.

  • Anonymous
    Aug 20

    A four year old shouldn't be upset about going to school. I'd definitely be concerned.

  • Bethany
    Aug 21

    Change teachers. If it is to the point where he doesn’t want to go anymore it is already too much. Maybe she is cruel or maybe it just isn’t a good fit. Either way, there is no harm in advocating for your child. The teaching moment there is that your child will learn that he can come to you if he needs help versus being brushed off and expected to suck it up.

  • Tsiennia
    Aug 21

    I would like to add a couple of additional options for investigating the issue that may not have initially been top of mind for you. Most schools allow parents to sit in and view classes. Is this an option where your son is so that you can see the teacher in action? Have you set up a time to speak 1:1 with the teacher? Have there been any similar complaints about this teacher?

  • Destin
    Aug 21

    When I was in the 4th grade I had a teacher like this. I was an emotional kid who didn’t do well with that kind of stern, blunt, in your face teaching. I would throw up every morning before school and lost weight. My parents took me to the doctor multiple times to find nothing wrong. Finally, they switched me into a different class with a new, more easy going teacher. I stopped throwing up and looked forward to going to school again. Some kids don’t mess with some teachers. Maybe look into switching classes for him.

  • Kate
    Aug 22

    As a teacher and a mom my two cents: ask your son exactly why she is “mean.” Is it that she won’t let him do fun (but dangerous things) or is she being legitimately mean? Could it be separation anxiety? Ask her about his behavior. Is it major behavioral problems: biting, kicking, not listening etc? If not, then there is no reason to be this strict in preschool. I wouldn’t suggest sitting in because your being there will change the dynamic. However, you can ask another parent you trust to observe. Finally, don’t waste an entire year with this teacher if it’s not a good fit. Preschool should not be the place where he learns to hate school.

  • Jenny
    Aug 22

    You are his advocate, switch teachers. He should not hate school at 4yrs old. I don’t see this as a teachable moment - who teaches their kid to suck it up even though you are miserable at school?! School may not always be fun for a kid but being brought to tears daily is too much.

  • Jennifer
    Aug 22

    I agree with Jenny. Your son is too young to be hating school and sucking it up. The teacher shouldn't be this strict when the kids are that little. He should enjoy school and come home happy. I definitely suggest switching teachers as you don't want this to affect him going into kindergarten and being independent later on. It's going to traumatize him.