By Nathan A. Hacker
But there are ways to lose the support of a teacher during your interactions. Losing such a crucial ally can be damaging and lead to long-lasting consequences when fighting for more custody and parenting time.
Having both a background in teaching and divorce law, here are my 7 divorce tips for men on behaviors you need to avoid in order to not have a teacher turn against you and possibly ruin your child custody chances.
1. Do not hit on the teacher. The last thing you need in court is to have a witness swayed because you are romantically involved. If they testify on your behalf it will be given no weight whatsoever, and if things sour prior to the hearing you now have two women who will be against you.
2. Do not complain about your ex. The last thing the teacher needs is to be your guidance counselor. You will seem inadequate and that will transfer to your ability to educate your child. Besides, the teacher will not want to be in the middle of the argument prior to going to court.
3. Do not discuss the pending legal action. Let your divorce lawyer do that. The teacher has other things to do and will feel like the rope in a legal tug of war.
4. Do not argue with the teacher. They have enough arguments with their students daily to last a lifetime. If you are arguing with them, you are not listening to them.
5. Do not use your child as a pawn. Keep in mind the teacher is often spending more time with your child than you are. If you are trying to use your child to sway a teacher’s opinion of you as an adult, you are going to lose that teacher’s support every time.
6. Do not be insincere. If you are not truly involved in your child’s education it will show. Indifference will cost you dearly in the teacher’s esteem.
7. Do not buy your child’s classroom a pet. This should go without saying, however, apparently some things need to be said. If the teacher wants a classroom pet they will get one themselves. As one teacher explained to me after a parent presented the classroom with a snake, “I don’t like snakes. Half of the class is terrified that thing will get out. The other half hopes it will get out. I never spoke to that parent again.”
To summarize, you can win your child’s teacher’s support by having your child in school, on time, ready to learn, and being active in the educational process.
You can lose it just as easily by looking for emotional answers from your child’s teacher, arguing with them, or using the child as a pawn.
Read related article: Child Custody And Teacher Testimony: Getting The Teacher On Your Side