FWP: When a Preschool Teacher Hates You, There’s Only One Option
PROBLEM: What do you do with the preschool teacher who doesn’t approve of you? Every time I’m the last parent to pick my son up, she’s waiting with pursed lips. Every time she calls me by the wrong last name, and I politely correct her with my actual name, she barely conceals an eye roll. Do I even bother?
KB: Let’s try to see this from her perspective: She deals with neurotic mommies all day long, so until you prove to her that you’re not going to obsess over organic finger paints, she’s going to keep you at a distance. Right now, with your name correcting, you’re actually sounding a little like a neurotic mommy, so don’t expect her to treat you any differently.
This situation seems ripe for killing her with kindness. The more sugar you pour on this relationship, the more rewards you’ll reap. You can get this surly schoolteacher on your side with a few polite smiles; and also, get over you naming preferences, you’re being petty.
LG: Or, is it a situation ripe for killing her with obnoxiousness? The preschool teacher doesn’t seem open to polite overtures. So, consider embracing the hate. There’s a peculiar freedom that comes with being disliked and not caring. Do everything you wouldn’t normally do in front of people who do like you: talk loudly on the phone, scratch your bum. Tell her long, detailed stories about distant relatives’ illnesses and holidays. Cultivate a cackling laugh precisely for the moments when she’s within earshot. Keep it up long enough and she still won’t like you, but her eye rolls may give way to resignation. Or she’ll flee from you in terror. Then, you’ll be spared all interaction.
Or, you know, give this poor, stressed teacher a break and just get over it.
MM: The short answer is NO. If you want some free gyaan with that, I’d say don’t look to parent teacher relationships for validation of who you are. Maybe you have exactly the life she wants and her disapproval of you is merely a manifestation of the major envy you evoke in her when you come to pick up your kids with your seemingly perfect life reflected in your eyes. Maybe she just got a lip job and that’s her face. Or maybe it’s just easier to remember one last name per family.
Whatever the deal, she probably doesn’t like you — get over it. A lucky side effect of having kids is opening yourself up to judgement from a multitude of humans. Art teacher, piano teacher, school principal, pediatrician… someone will like you (hopefully). Otherwise, there’s always recreational drugs.
SB: Seems like we are all on the same page about this one. I’m sure you’re one of the many flavours of parents she has to deal with, and she’s not likely to change how she does things for all of them. Any effort spent trying to win this woman over to your way of thinking is likely energy wasted. Your modern mom vibe may just not go with her take on life.
Forget those four minutes and give your kid your full attention when you reunite after a long day. If you want to get a little cheeky (or passive aggressive?), you could always give her a nickname and see how she likes it, but I wouldn’t give it much more thought than that.
Got a first world problem? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll give you some maybe-usable advice.