9 tips for difficult conversations with teachers

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Kids Help Phone is here for you during the COVID-19 pandemic. School looks a bit different this year, with many students studying either through e-learning, in-person classes in some provinces/territories or even a combination of the two. It’s important to find ways to get support with school (e.g. by reaching out virtually, etc.) while practising physical distancing.

If you need to talk to your teacher about something that’s on your mind, here are a few tips for navigating the conversation:

1. Set a time

Book a virtual or physically distanced appointment with your teacher so you both have time to prepare. You can also give your teacher a brief description of what the meeting is about.

2. Write it down

It can be hard to say (and even remember) everything that’s on your mind. Writing your thoughts down on paper beforehand can help you stay focused. (You can read from the paper if you need to.)

3. Practice

If you’d like to practice what you’re going to say to your teacher, or if you’re not sure what to say, you can always call a Kids Help Phone counsellor at 1-800-668-6868.

4. Keep calm

Try to relax before the conversation. If the meeting gets heated, it’s OK to ask for time to calm down.

5. Prioritize

Start the conversation with the key points so you cover the big stuff first. For example, if you’re experiencing bullying at school, you can begin by telling your teacher what happened and how it made you feel.

6. Listen

Give your teacher time to reply to what you’re saying and be sure to listen carefully to their response.

7. Get support

If the conversation is not productive, you can ask someone else (a principal, guidance counsellor, parent/caregiver, etc.) to step in.

8. Take notes

As your teacher is talking, it may be helpful to take notes so you can recall the most important details.

9. Decide on next steps

Wrap up the conversation by defining next steps for both you and your teacher.

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