Every day I dreaded the hour that I had to spend in her room. Watching her teach was like watching paint dry. I was a grown woman, how could these nine year olds be managing the whole day like this? Their parents would say how pleased they were to have her and how she was so sweet. I would think, you have no idea what the reality is. The children weren’t making any progress and while they were safe and comfortable, the kids had basically checked out. If you were looking for a dynamic teacher, this was the wrong room. Oh but down the hall there were great teachers, teaching the same grade. The kids in those rooms were growing and learning. They were engaged, because they were with a dynamic teacher who made learning interesting and fun!
Parents will ask me often if they should request a teacher and the answer to that is not always a clear cut answer. Maybe the question should be when should I request a teacher and who do I request? As a educator myself, my stomach has often been in knots about what to do with my own children. I certainly do not want to be viewed as a pain, too pushy, or quite possibly be playing with my children’s fate and making wrong choices for them. As a parent, you often go by “the word on the street.” That information can be reliable but it is just not always the case. The way to know who is the teacher that is the right fit for your child is to speak with your child’s current teacher. Develop a relationship with that teacher and share concerns with them as springtime approaches. Do not wait till May or June to do this, as often lists are made by this time.
I know personally when I made up class lists, I always took into consideration the personalities of my students as well as their parents’ needs. A parent that needed constant reassurance was placed with someone patient. A student who could easily make friends and become a leader often went with a teacher who was more direct and less gentle. Who else knows about which teachers will give your child a dynamic year of learning? The other people that work in the school as well as other parents. Don’t be afraid to casually ask who they would choose for their own child or who they think may be a fit for your child? Most importantly, do not ever put a teacher in the position to criticize another coworker. It best to always keep the language positive.
Teachers in each school do not always create class lists, so what then? If you have a specific concern about your child absolutely not being placed with someone, then contact administration in writing. Some children have special needs both educationally and emotionally and having the correct teacher for their learning style can be crucial to their development. If you have a child like this,then the decisions are more important about where they spend each school year.
Both my children are having fantastic school years and we did not make any requests for either of them. Most times you will not need to make a request, but if you do remember to open the lines of communication early. Trust your school, they want what will be best for your child too!