Monday, August 8, 2011

What to do When You Don’t Like Your Child’s Teacher Assignment

You’ve just gotten the letter in the mail that you’ve been dreading all summer - your child has been assigned to the teacher that all the moms on the playground have warned you against. You immediately go into protective mother mode, planning how to fix this wrong. Yet, before you call the Principal or check out private schools, take a deep breath and think it over. Like you, I personally experienced that sick feeling with my own child, and I’m happy to share what I learned.

First, how bad can it really be? This teacher must possess some redeeming qualities. I admit my kids had a couple of below average teachers in their long educational careers. But now that my son is a young adult in the workplace, how horrible was it really that I found his grade school teacher lazy? Would I have I preferred the spunky teacher just out of college instead? Definitely at the time, but in hindsight, my son learned ways to compensate. We can’t always make life right for our kids. This was a good lesson that real life isn't always perfect and they will have to figure out how to adapt.

Schools spend a lot of time forming classes. They must match students to both the appropriate teacher and the best class for that child and that is not an easy process. Students’ personalities, temperaments, and learning styles must be considered, but there must also be a broader picture of the entire group.

Think about why your child might have received that placement and question why you are so sure he won’t succeed in that class. If you still feel uncomfortable, call the Principal and politely share your concerns and listen to why she believes your child will be successful with that teacher. Listen to what she has to say and consider if you have over-reacted. If you still feel strongly, point out your concerns rationally, and give examples of how your child will benefit from moving to a different teacher. Use specific examples, not things you heard from other parents.

If in the end, you are unable to switch, try to make the situation work as best you can. Communicate with the teacher when you feel it's appropriate and keep an open mind. Hopefully, you’ll look back on the year and realize it all worked out for the best. But, if you don’t, chalk it up to a learning experience that will benefit your child in the long run.

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