Friday, August 22, 2014

Teachers, To Request or Not Request?

image source
When I first had children, I figured that when it came to things like requesting a specific teacher, I wouldn't do any requesting. I would let the cards fall where they may and we would all adjust and deal with it. In all of my elementary on through to high school years, I never had any input into who my teacher was. I came out of it just fine. In college, however, I was able to at times choose which professor I wanted. I found I really learned well from certain professors and I sought to take classes from those professors in future classes. Despite my positive experience in choosing professors in college, I stuck to not requesting for several years.

Then came time for Kaitlyn to go to first grade. Now, the other first grade teachers are fabulous at my school. Really, all of the teachers seem great. We are very fortunate at our school. But the teacher Brayden had for first grade is, in my very strong opinion, totally amazing. Totally. You should see the letter I wrote last year recommending her for an award. I really hoped Kaitlyn would get that teacher.

I was talking to one friend who shared that she had felt like she should request a certain teacher and didn't and her daughter got a different teacher. That year ended up being a bad year for her daughter--it wasn't necessarily with the teacher, but with the dynamics of the class. She had previously had the opinion to not request, but then realized that as her mother, she should be doing things that she felt are best for her daughter. With that in mind, I requested the teacher for Kaitlyn for first grade.

On the flip side of that, if I had requested for Brayden for first grade, I would have requested a different teacher than the one he got--the amazing one. So there have been many times things  have not been as I thought they should and they turned out better.

There are pros and cons that I see to requesting a teacher.

Cons
  • You can potentially hurt the feelings of other teachers if they find out you requested a certain teacher.
  • You might miss out on growing opportunities.
  • You might miss out on getting to know a great teacher.
  • Administration might find you burdensome.
  • You can make the wrong choice!
Pros
  • You are being an advocate for your child.
  • You know individual needs of your child and can assess what you think is best. 
  • You can choose a teacher who you know will work well with your student and with you.
I used to just pray that the Lord would make sure my child was where he/she should be. This is definitely a good practice, but I realized simply praying about it is kind of like sitting in your car with a flat tire and praying the flat will be fixed. Sometimes we need to do some work and get our hands dirty. 

Now I pray to know if I should request or not. If I feel I should, then I pray to know who I should request. I still try to primarily leave it up to the administration to decide where they think things would be best.  I stay prayerful so that I can know if I do need to step in and make a request. That way, we can benefit from the pros when we need to request and can take advantage of the benefits of not requesting when we do not. 

5 comments:

Michael and Yvonne said...

Interesting as our school states in all placement forms that you cannot request a teacher (well I guess you technically can but they disregard it). There is a spot I believe to request NOT having a specific teacher, I think (although I can't 100% recall if it was teacher or certain kids). I know there is a spot where you can request to not place a certain child in a class (I am assuming like a bully if there was issues with a certain kid). That makes sense but in my case I always put on there a couple of friends who we would like to be in the next class if possible (so hopefully there will be 1 familiar face in the class. The teachers say that is a good idea, especially if your child is on the quieter side...because otherwise, when they're in the younger grades at least, it's almost like starting over each year with practically all new faces. So it gives them a bit of comfort/security).

Tierney Kirk said...

A mom friend of mine that was a teacher and administrator before having kids gave this advice: ask your child's current teacher who they would suggest for your child next year. Teachers see different sides of their coworkers than the parents do, and they know the different teaching styles and what may work well for your child. I think this would work especially well if the current teacher is someone that has been really good with your child.

Valerie Plowman said...

I love that advice, except I have found the teachers will not give a name. They say, "oh so-and-so would
Be great for this reason. The other would be great for this other reason. Or there is this other teacher that would be great for this..." I kind of think they don't want to say a name in case it got out that they said one teacher would be better than another.

BUT our current teachers do assign who is in which class for the next year, so they do have a huge impact without having to say anything.

Valerie Plowman said...

I think a lot of schools don't allow requesting. I haven't ever requested friends, but learned you could a month ago. I wish I knew because Brayden has a friend who is so great to be with--they are so competitive in a good way. They push each other.

They really do have basically a whole new class every year in those younger grades. But I must say, I have liked my kids having to make new friends.

Kristy Powers said...

I felt just like you did with Braedyn, Valerie, with my oldest. This year we did decide to request a certain teacher because we had seen in our younger son's preschool that he worked so much better with one teacher than another, basically due to their personal ways of expressing themselves. So far, so great! And it was the same teacher our oldest had had so he was able to coach our youngest a little bit on what it would be like and what to do when he got there. :) Like you said, it's hard to know which to do. We could be missing out on a super fabulous kindergarten teacher this way...but this teacher's personality really does work for our son.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails

blog advertising is good for you