A delicate dance: When parents ask for specific teachers

Should you be able to request a specific teacher for your child? (AJC file photo)

Should you be able to request a specific teacher for your child? (AJC file photo)

One of the most controversial elements of teacher assignments is whether schools will consider parent requests for specific teachers.

While most systems say they don’t honor parent requests, many principals over the years have told me that they will do so when they can.

Savvy parents get around “no request”policies by asking not for a specific teacher, but for specific characteristics that they maintain enhances their child’s learning. There are a lot of web sites guiding parents on how to request a teacher using this approach. EduGuide offers a sample letter.

On the Great Schools site, parents offer advice on this delicate negotiation. One parent wrote:

At my son’s school, there was one older teacher who had a reputation for being very soft-spoken, and putting on lots of rehearsed “historical re-recreations” of events  (dress up in period costumes and recite “old English.”) My son is dyslexic, and doesn’t do well in settings where he either has to memorize lots of lines, or sit quietly and listen to others doing it. I knew almost any other teacher would be better for my son than this woman, but it’s inappropriate to say, “Please avoid Mrs. Smith’s class,” or “Put him with Mrs. Jones.”

Instead, I wrote a letter to the principal stating that “My son learns best in a classroom where there is an energetic and patient teacher, who values interactive discussion and provides opportunities for hands-on learning.” He ended up with a teacher who did things like letting kids prepare historical recipes in class (allowing each to get involved in the process, rather than watching a skit where one student enacted an event as others watched) and it turned out to be a much better placement than if he’d gotten stuck with the old, soft-spoken teacher.

On a gifted education blog, a parent says she begins her letters: “Realizing that historically this school does not accept parental requests for placement, I would like to express my feelings about what I believe to be an issue that could make a very big difference in my child’s success in the coming year. I would like it to be known that, after discussion with Mrs. XYZ, we both agree that she would be the most appropriate teacher for Johnny’s needs and that to place him with another teacher could be cause problems from the outset for him” and then go on to back up my statements.

The AJC took a look at how students are assigned to classes in a Sunday story that was limited to print subscribers, so I cannot link to it. You can read it by logging on to the paper’s iPad app. If you are a subscriber, you can read the article on our e-edition here

But here is an excerpt:

Parent requests are among the many factors school leaders consider when building a classroom roster. Assembling that perfect classroom might not be science, but it involves a whole lot of chemistry, educators say. Academic standing of students, disciplinary issues, race and sex can all play into the months-long juggling act, which usually begins during the previous school year.

“It is a big deal for us to make sure there is a good match going in because it’s going to make a seamless year for everybody, ” said Amy Bartlett, principal at Forsyth’s Sharon Elementary. “The time we put in is well spent to build these classes.”

Bartlett’s team starts around late April creating profile cards for every child at the 1,000-student school — pink for girls, blue for boys. The cards contain a laundry list of information about the students — from how they scored on state exams to how involved their parents are at the school, she said.

Using the cards, administrators create a rough sketch of “balanced” classes, taking special care to make sure one class isn’t loaded with gifted students while another is stacked with behavioral issues. Then, teachers and counselors review the process, and administrators read about 400 letters and emails from parents with input and make changes as necessary.

“I make it really clear to parents that we don’t honor specific teacher requests, but we do honor any information they have on learning characteristics, ” Bartlett said. “We have teachers of all kinds. We try not to focus on teachers, but on the learning style.”

For the most part, education research shows students benefit more from exposure to advanced coursework than from exposure to advanced students, said Robert Slavin, director of the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University.

In other words, a second-grader who is above average in reading will fare better in a third-grade reading class, not because the students are more advanced, but because the content is. Conversely, an advanced student won’t regress in a class with lower-performing students, so long as the teacher creates opportunities for more challenging lessons such as special projects or computer activities, Slavin said.

Cobb parent Kimberly Hunt said she gets a good idea which teacher might be a good fit for her child by volunteering at school and networking with other parents. The school doesn’t allow parents to request specific teachers, and she respects that.

A trained teacher herself, Hunt said that, some years, she writes a letter to school administrators requesting an instruction style that lines up with a teacher or two she wants. “Do you always get them? No. As parents are we OK with that? Yes, ” she said. “They do best they can, and I’m always impressed with how they do it.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

88 comments Add your comment

6th Grade Social Studies

August 9th, 2012
5:49 am

The schools in South Georgia that I’ve been associated with have always honored requests. It isn’t a deal. At the elementary level, they “say” they don’t- but who you ask for – you get. I don’t see a big deal. If the parents are happy, then the school year is just going to go better.

Peter Smagorinsky

August 9th, 2012
5:51 am

When I taught at Barrington HS (IL) a few decades ago, their enrollments were entirely choice-based. Now, we had a strong faculty across the board, so it was a matter of choosing a teacher whose approach was aligned with the student’s ways of learning. It worked pretty well as far as I could tell, and I don’t remember much complaining.

The Dixie Diarist

August 9th, 2012
6:13 am

I have a school fund raising idea I’ll offer from my volunteer days with a charity where one of the fund raising events during the year was a golf tournament. Auction off teachers, just like we did with the PGA Tour professionals who were involved with the charity and golf tournament.

Before each school year, line up the fine educators on a stage and let the bidding begin. You’re desperate to have Mrs. Hulga Whorthawg teach Johnny AP calculus Johnny learns best the big red wart on her nose makes him happy in class? Pay for it, mom. And help the school’s finances at the same time.

Otherwise, we hear you … we always have to hear you (know what I mean) … and we’ll do the best we can.

http://www.adixiediary.com

ScienceTeacher671

August 9th, 2012
6:21 am

I’ve always thought that matching teaching styles and learning styles, as much as possible, makes sense; probably more sense than expecting a teacher to address 15 different learning styles in one classroom successfully.

That said, teachers should have more than one trick in their bags, and students should learn to learn in different ways as well. At some point, we all have to adapt sometimes.

mountain man

August 9th, 2012
6:30 am

When does caring about your child’s education end and the “helicopter parent” syndrome begin?

Panthergirl

August 9th, 2012
6:47 am

Sometimes parents are wrong. When my older son was in first grade, he got one of the two teachers that I thought I did not want him to get. I was so upset that I was borderline rude to the teacher on “meet the teacher” day. Looking back on it, I consider this teacher to be one of the best teachers that my son ever had. She was great for him and I was wrong.

Inman Park Boy

August 9th, 2012
7:43 am

This one never caused me as much problems as the request to put “friends” in the same classroom. TWO moms would come to see me to tell me their little darling would be devastaed if separated from a life long buddy. Teachers had usually separated the two for good reasons and if I put them back together, then I caught it from teachers. What to do, what to do?

Concerned Dawg

August 9th, 2012
8:05 am

It’s sad that a balanced classroom is the goal of public education. What about actually developing the best method for teaching kids. Balanced doesn’t cut it. Here’s why. Your article quotes “For the most part, education research shows students benefit more from exposure to advanced coursework than from exposure to advanced students.” Think about this – a 3rd grader reading on a 2nd grade level will find something advanced that a 3rd grader reading on an 8th grade level probably read last year. So what do you do? What ends up happening is you get mediocre kids. If – and I know in this race-absorbed state it would never happen – you could track kids by their abilities, then aim one level higher, you’d manage to get kids advancing at their levels while also pushing advanced content.

Pluto

August 9th, 2012
8:12 am

Maybe this should be policy. If a specific teacher is requested, maybe there’s a reason. If the students excell as well, maybe this could inject a little competition into the profession.

CharterStarter, Too

August 9th, 2012
8:33 am

I suppose my general thought is that adaptation is one of the most critical skills parents can foster/teach a child. Learning to adapt to different personalities, expectations, environments, etc. is a life skill that is a natural part of adulthood. And, theoretically, teachers should be meeting the children where they are and differentiating as much is it is practicable and beneficial to each student. So, unless there is a reason that would truly negatively impact the child’s learning, I don’t think requesting teachers does the child any favors.

Pilot Project?

August 9th, 2012
8:40 am

“an advanced student won’t regress in a class with lower-performing students, so long as the teacher creates opportunities for more challenging lessons such as special projects”

Yes, but there’s the rub: what schools and teachers actually do this? On a daily basis, on a weekly basis, ever? When will APS start doing this (hiring and training teachers, and providing them mentored teaching opportunities, and staffing schools so that teachers will be able to create and critique advanced special projects for advanced learners in multi-ability classrooms, replacing lower level concrete work at least for those students? How about a pilot program at Mary Lin, Morningside, Springdale, or Inman? Take some of the best teachers, give them training and mentoring, ask them what number of students they can handle while still creating and critiquing different projects for many different levels of students (and dealing with behavior issues as well – though hopefully there will be fewer of these if each child is being provided opportunities to learn) – 14? 10? 8 students per teacher? what would it take? – and let them give it a try.

… Or wait: did somebody say something about the schools having budget problems?

Just wow

August 9th, 2012
8:46 am

Why not cut to the chase and just ask for a specific grade?

Solutions

August 9th, 2012
9:06 am

Mommy and Daddy can only arrange for junior’s success for so long, eventually the little fellow is gonna have to sink or swim on his own. Avoiding really bad teachers is one thing, seeking the best of the best is something else. Of course, the school should have replaced the really bad teachers before word got out to the parents that such creatures exist, let alone their individual identities. A more community oriented approach would be for the parents as a group to demand the really bad teacher be immediately replaced, since he/she will be teaching someone’s children otherwise.

Christina

August 9th, 2012
9:09 am

When your child gets out into the “real world” he/she will not be able to say “I don’t care for your management style, and I think you expect too much of me, therefore I would like a new boss.” You need to teach kids NOW how to get along with all different kinds of people and adapt to changes. Parents who think you are doing the best thing for your kids by handpicking their teachers are actually doing them a grave disservice.

alm

August 9th, 2012
9:14 am

I wish my child’s old school had done that. The special ed teacher gave me a recommendation for the following year but she said there was no guarantee the school would follow it.

BlahBlahBlah

August 9th, 2012
9:42 am

“Using the cards, administrators create a rough sketch of “balanced” classes, taking special care to make sure one class isn’t loaded with gifted students while another is stacked with behavioral issues.”

Lord no. God forbid we do that. Let’s shackle the gifted to the lowest common denominator. RACE TO THE BOTTOM FTW!

Georgia teacher

August 9th, 2012
9:44 am

As a parent, I’ve never requested a specific teacher for my dual-exceptional child (autistic and gifted). However, I did request that my kid NOT be with a specific friend/buddy/partner-in-crime next year. The two boys distracted each other.

Howard Finkelstein

August 9th, 2012
9:47 am

Oh yes, diversity is the eternal panacea.

Atlanta Mom

August 9th, 2012
9:51 am

In the vast majority of cases, when a parent requests one teacher, they are in reality trying to avoid a bad teacher. That was my experience in 16 years of public education.

catlady

August 9th, 2012
9:53 am

Well, when I taught in a school with one class per grade, this was not an issue. In fact, over the years I had 3 students whose parents did not live in our zone but sent the kid to stay with the grandparent during the week so that the kid could be in my class. Strange, but true.

If you honor requests, you are going to have smart classes (the beautiful, young woman everyone went to school with) and not smart classes (the new teacher) and the new teacher will also get many behavior problems. Of course smart kids have behavior problems as well.

I know principals want parents to have one less thing to gripe about, so it frequently “just happens” that a student ends up in the room the parent requested.

I kept my mouth shut on the subject for my own kids from 1982 till 2003, except for one time. My younger daughter was in a “pod” that was scheduled to have a certain science teacher. I knew and liked that teacher (h3ll, I had taught him as a kindergartener and as a 7th grader!) but I knew the science teacher who was to have the other pod had some interests that would be a match for my daughter. So I went to the principal and said, “I have never asked for anything, but I would like my daughter to be switched to the other pod because..” And they did. Meanwhile, I had not actually discussed this with my daughter. Well, you would have thought the world ended! I endured several days of her moaning about how I had ruined her life. She didn’t know or like anyone on that other pod, etc, etc. I just smiled and said, “I am sure you will manage.” First day of school came and went. After the secnd day of school, she came home and said, “Okay, NOW I understand why you wanted me in Mr. X’s room.” He is one of probably three teachers who had the most profound effect on her in terms of college/grad school.

I am telling this for two reasons 1) Sometimes it is good to make a specific request and 2) don’t do it every year. Be judicious. Your child has to learn to deal with lots of different kinds of teachers and other “bosses” in his/her life. Your job is to reassure and encourage.

@Just wow

August 9th, 2012
10:08 am

“Why not cut to the chase and just ask for a specific grade?”

That is one possible good solution for some kids.

http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/acceleration.htm
http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/enrichment.htm
http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/browse_articles_164.aspx

Many school systems won’t allow it, however. For one thing, if you place children in the best grade for them academically, the school system loses out on the easy and automatic “exceeds” on the CRCT.

Beverly Fraud

August 9th, 2012
10:17 am

“Using the cards, administrators create a rough sketch of “balanced” classes, taking special care to make sure one class isn’t loaded with gifted students while another is stacked with behavioral issues.”

If we wanted to really EMPOWER those with “behavioral issues” we start referring to them as “children who make poor behavioral CHOICES”

To further EMPOWER them, we should have swift, sure, and compelling, and most of all CONSISTENT consequences when they choose to misbehave. Especially important to teach them that your “right” to an education doesn’t interfere with the rights of others.

But we aren’t even REMOTELY INTERESTED in having an honest conversation about this.

As suspect as the motives of SOME are, how can you blame parents who want to change charter laws to maximize the chance their child is not forced to sit with children whose poor behavior choices are all but encouraged by a LACK of consequences?

How do you blame that parent for wanting their tax dollars to work for them?

Greg S.

August 9th, 2012
10:29 am

Asking for a specific teacher should be honored on a “First come, first served” basis. I know, however, if that were the case the system would be “gamed” immediately by those parents with those “special little darlings.”

oldtimer

August 9th, 2012
10:36 am

August 9th, 2012
10:17 am

“Using the cards, administrators create a rough sketch of “balanced” classes, taking special care to make sure one class isn’t loaded with gifted students while another is stacked with behavioral issues.”
And in some schools teachers get labeled as being really good with children who need structure…..or children who need extra help…..or cannot manage any behavior issues…. Guess what kind of classes they all get. When I moved to MS much of this got better as we tried to create equal teams and as 6th grade teachers we did not really know any of the kids.
And we had an administrator who did not really listen to parent requests.

Never again

August 9th, 2012
10:48 am

Only one school year did I request a specific teacher for any of my children. My oldest had had success with one of his elementary school teachers and when my younger son got to that grade, I requested her. It was a crazy, stressful, hectic year. Eventually my son was successful and was promoted to the next grade, but I vowed to never take my children’s teacher assignment OUT of God’s hands. He knows best and He will work through the teacher and my child to be successful. That doesn’t mean NO parental involvement. I will do my part, but I leave the control to Him.

NullOp

August 9th, 2012
10:49 am

School Day 1:
You are not special no matter what you’ve been told! Your grade is what you’ve earned not what you or your parents “feel” it should be. Your placement in classes is based on standardized tests which I suggest you take seriously. You will wear the uniform, no exceptions, and the bus will not allow you on the bus out-of-uniform nor will you be allowed to set foot on school grounds during school hours out-of-uniform in case you’re “too-special” to ride the bus. Make trouble on the bus and you’re off, no exceptions. Make trouble in the classroom and you’re out, no exceptions. Education is a privilege of a developed nation. We suggest you don’t waste the opportunity or your parents tax money. Homework is not an option. Don’t do it or don’t hand it in, you fail as in “YOU fail”, no one else. You “take a call” in class, your parents can pick up your phone at the end of the day, no exceptions. Texting in class, see “Taking a call”. Threatening a teacher is assault, we always prosecute. Any type of bullying/intimidation and you’re out, no exceptions. Your lawyer can speak to our team of New York lawyers any time they wish. They’re happy to discuss “Fair”, a place where people go to watch pigs race for cookies, with you. Good luck!

V

August 9th, 2012
10:54 am

Radical Idea- let the parents chose the school and the teacher? After all, the parents are hiring someone to provide an service (an incredibly important service) for their child. Why are parents treated like sheep? What if the parents got to interview the teacher AND the teacher got to interview the parents? Like any other transaction in a free society? The totalitarian model of education doesn’t make any sense to me and is unlike any other situation we face. Its scary.

bootney farnsworth

August 9th, 2012
11:00 am

I have no problem with the concept

so long as parents understand asking does not equal getting.
if it can be done without undue disruption, sure.

jj

August 9th, 2012
11:02 am

So every class gets the range from genius to speds? Would just one person tell me where this works anywhere in the real world? When was the last time you got to pick your boss? Good luck with that.

Matt

August 9th, 2012
11:07 am

I would rather a parent just write the name down of who they would prefer. It also helps if I have seen the parent in the school before. Volunteers and parents that participate in their child’s education almost always get their requested teacher. It is also best to ask early. There is a lot that goes into building a schedule, and many times the framework is in place by the end of March. I do my best to honor all requests, but sometimes it is just not possible.

Beverly Fraud

August 9th, 2012
11:08 am

jj I can give you a very clear example: Tennis instruction. For example it’s a common sight to see Betty White on the same court and the same time with Venus and Serena Williams with the instructor just altering the lesson as he goes along.

Isn’t it?

William Casey

August 9th, 2012
11:11 am

This is a difficult issue. I realize that this discussion is primarily about elementary school, but this comes up in high school as well. In high school, it’s more often the students themselves who take the lead in trying to select their teachers, though they sometimes get their parents involved. My take on this is that there are occasions when “teacher selection” is legitimate. These occasions are RARE.

bootney farnsworth

August 9th, 2012
11:14 am

I notice trends in these blogs. the same cast of characters working the same script, with just minor alterations to fit the topic.

1-the Darwin club: despite the fact we’re dealing with children, toss them into the pit and let them live or die with no assistance or guidance

2-Mr. Law & Order: set up iron clad, draconian rules with capital punishments for every offense.

3-the Last Man on Earth society: give me exactly what I want, whenever I want it, regardless if it screws somebody else or causes major disruption. after all, only they really matter

4-the Lynch Mob: let us get together -us being people who have no training, no education, no experience, but an axe to grind- and enact the French Reign of Terror on the people (educators) who have no real control over our circumstances

note-its funny how the lynch mob crowd often is the loudest critics of our alleged union.

long time educator

August 9th, 2012
11:17 am

As a parent/teacher I never requested a particular teacher for my three children. The main reason was I thought they would be fine wherever they were and we were just not helicopter parents back then. My oldest is 39. Looking back, I think it did teach them to get along with all sorts of people. As a teacher, I did not particularly like parent requests for my own classroom, because usually the parent did not want fair treatment in the classroom, but wanted special treatment. As a principal, I did not take teacher requests, but had a form that was mailed in a newsletter that helped parents pick the teaching style that was best for their child, but requested no specific teacher names. I also honored “anybody but” requests. We had 8 to 9 teachers in each grade, and sometimes there might be a prior bad experience with a sibling or whatever; and without elaboration, they could eliminate one of the choices. HOWEVER, parents will not admit it, but almost all the problems I had with parent objections to class assignments had to do with wanting to be with friends, which is a very helicopter thing to do. I would just have patted my child on the head and said, “I’m sure you will make new friends,” and I was confident they would. I expected my kids to be resilient, honest, hardworking and friendly and was confident they were capable of being great students. They received my validation by being resilient, honest, hardworking, friendly and great students. All three have post graduate degrees earned with work/study and scholarships, great jobs, own their own homes and have stable marriages and families. They do not live in my basement. A kid cannot learn to be confident if you act like you have no confidence in him.

Batgirl

August 9th, 2012
11:28 am

@@Just Wow, I think that Just Wow meant letter grade as in A, B, C, D, F, not grade level!

eraser clapper

August 9th, 2012
11:28 am

I think most parents go over board with wanting this teacher or that teacher. Bottomline is your kid won’t have that luxury when they got a job. You won’t be able to pick a boss that “fits” your kids learning style. There are always one or two mom’s in every school that start this “oh you don’t want them” campaigns. It causes a stir that other wide is not needed. Let your kid get who they get and teach your child a lesson in adapting.

bootney farnsworth

August 9th, 2012
11:32 am

@ William

I support parent/student input on faculty as much as possible. students (our consumers) are the best judges of effective teaching.

(apologies in advance for having to be vague)
the HS where I do a lot of volunteer work has a couple of real disconnects in the faculty. parents know it, students know it. one in particular is a very nice guy, really knows his stuff, but is not suited for teaching HS. he’d be great in college, but not HS AP level science courses.

the kids who take him almost universally hire tutors to actually teach the information he goes over.
there is one tutor I know who basically makes his living correcting this teachers communication errors. note: said person is not a native english speaker and has a very heavy, thick accent.

this guy is a known and feared commodity within the AP circuit. students beg and plead not to have him because they understand taking his class will actually set them back educationally. he teaches a non math science which builds heavily on itself. a poor foundation can kill a kid in this topic.

by allowing for some discretion in assigning teachers, the marginal kid who can do the coursework with a lot of effort can be assigned to a teacher who better communicates the material. win-win for everybody.

I also like the idea of rewarding excellence when possible. at same school, there is a language teacher who is known for working the kids to the bone. but few complain since he has a unique gift to make the subject come to life and be relevant to HS kids. I don’t see a problem with holding 5-6 seats in his classes as incentive for striving for excellence.

bootney farnsworth

August 9th, 2012
11:34 am

oh , quick note:

if they just wanna hang with their friends,….
life is tough. take the class as assigned. there are plenty hours after school

seen it all

August 9th, 2012
12:29 pm

I think all of these teacher requests we are seeing nowadays is ridiculous. These parents are just pompous and arrogant. The question I have is what makes you think that your child is so special or you deserve the right to demand a particular teacher? Is school about learning and growing or socializing? A lot of parents want to set up classes with their children placed with friends or family members. They want to even go so far as the set up classes made up of cliques from the neighborhood. As a veteran teacher who has taught different grade levels in different communities (upper middle class suburban, lower income, and minority schools), I will tell you this– in terms of actually teaching almost all the teachers are the same. Sure they may be small differences in personalities and teaching styles among teachers, but as a a whole, the instruction is the same. All teachers teach towards the middle to lower middle of the class. The children on the bottom and top get neglected. Everybody using the same books. What difference does it make in the end? I know. I am a teacher. I have taught in the United States and abroad. In the end, it really doesn’t make a difference who the teacher is. Nobody’s life is going to be changed one way or another. The people who want to request certain teachers just want to think they are special and should be afforded special treatment. In my opinion, neither these parents nor their children are special. And in the end “special” people just end up being problems for the teacher, the principal, and the school.

RedandBlackPeachy

August 9th, 2012
12:49 pm

Surely everyone who is saying that children have to adapt in regards to their learning styles mean children have to learn how to adapt the lessons being forth to their learning styles. I am a visual learner and always have been. I have never learned to adapt to any other learning style. I have adapted lessons for my learning style in order to learn. I do that every day at work as well. Anything else falls under that misguided thought that people should work on their weaknesses instead of their strengths. A “worked on” weakness brings weak to mediocre (you should work on making sure that your weakness doesn’t sabatoge effort). A “worked on” strength results in heightened value. Adapting to a different learning style means a child will never be proficient in what is being taught.

Older & Wiser

August 9th, 2012
12:58 pm

I’m pretty much okay with whatever teacher we get as long as he/she has proven classroom management skills. My concern/anxiety used to be ‘which teacher’, now it is ‘who’s in that classroom?’ No chronic behavior problem kids or classroom hijackers, please. Harsh, yes, but it makes a huge difference in what my child is able to learn in a year. IMO it is the biggest challenge/issue we face in public education today.

Beverly Fraud

August 9th, 2012
1:00 pm

“Anything else falls under that misguided thought that people should work on their weaknesses instead of their strengths.”

So when a teenager takes their driving exam, they should be allowed to say “I’m more of a Musical learner than a Kinesthetic (hands on) learning. So instead of taking the actual driving exam, could I just sing a song about it?

Ole Guy

August 9th, 2012
1:02 pm

While it must be very pleasant to have; to expect the entire world to adapt to specific requirements in oyr daily lives, it’s certainly not going to be the norm as we plod through life’s travails. To be sure, some teachers are deemed to be better…some, perhaps much better…than others; it is only fitting and natural that (caring) parents want only the best life has to offer their kids. However, let us, for just a moment, try to view the picture from the global perspective (that, of course, may or may not be possible, inasmuch as we often tend to take a “to hell with the rest of the world, I’m only concerned with my own backyard” view).

We’re probably all familiar with the employment dilema…cant’t get a job without experience; can’t get experience without a job. Just exactly hownhell are rookie teachers; those who haven’t had the breadth of experience which lends to what we view as “good teachers” supposed to get there? Maybe, just maybe, in our mis-directed zeal for this “only the best for my kid” attitude, we, as RESPONSIBLE ADULTS are creating some of the very problems we complain over…(so called) “bad ” teachers.

When the kid goes to college, enters the world of reality, or simply chooses to exit the front door of one’s enclave, one has to learn to accept the world…with all its warts, stinks, and imperfections. So just where are we suppose to begin in this great journey of actually allowing the kid to experience life, along with the less-than-ideal virtues which, unfortunately, populate, to one degree or another, the entire face of the Earth…IT’S CALLED REALITY!

So let’s continue to be the gd “helicopter” parents which, in the end, probably create more problems, for everybody, than they could ever imagine. Believe it or not, people, your kids are NOT special; in your eyes, they may be so, but in the big picture…you know, the world…they’re simply specs which are going to have to either learn to adapt, function, and flourish, or become examples of Darwin’s teachings.

RedandBlackPeachy

August 9th, 2012
1:02 pm

@ Seen it all—if that was your experience throughout school as a student, you missed out. I have had a couple of teachers who taught so differently and engaged the class so completely that they made me question things and thirst for knowledge in a way that never happened before; in away that carried over to other classes and advanced years in school. Instruction doesn’t have to be the same. And at least in GA, where the textbooks are no longer the main reference for teaching, teachers have to be/get to be very creative. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen (in my kids experiences) anyone rising to the occasion.

RedandBlackPeachy

August 9th, 2012
1:03 pm

@ Beverly Fraud—guess you chose to ignore the part about sabatoge.

janet

August 9th, 2012
1:04 pm

My daughter started 1st grade today. I didn’t request a specific teacher by name, but I did meet with the assistant principle and specifically ask for an experienced teacher. In Kindergarten, my daughter was showing some red flags for dyslexia and her kindergarten teacher advised that I try to get an experienced teacher who might be able to better recognize the symptoms as she learns to read. So that’s what I did. I don’t feel like I did anything wrong and I don’t feel like I’m “special”. I do feel like it’s my duty as a parent to make the school aware of any pototntial issues or specific learning style so we can work together to give my daughter the best possible education.

I believe that public school can offer a great education **IF** the parent(s) is working with the teacher/administration to make it happen. I’m not a helicpoter parent, but I am involved and I won’t apologize for it. I’m sorry if Joe Smith’s mom works 80 hours a week and can’t do the same for her kid. I’m sorry Jose Sanchez’s mom doesn’t speak english and can’t communicate with the administration. But just because I am involved and educate myself and read these education blogs and many others dilligently so I can learn to navigate the bureaucracy that is public education…. doesn’t mean I think I’m “special”. It’s like a catch 22… if you’re not involved, it’s your own fault your kid is not thriving. If you are involved, you must think you and your kids are special and deserve special treatment. Very frustrating to hear. I honestly, do not want to be a problem for the teacher. I want to be as hands on as she needs me to be. But in these days of shoving 25, 26, 27 kids into kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms (with no parapros), if I feel I need to be step in and be an advocate for my kid, I will… and I did.

RedandBlackPeachy

August 9th, 2012
1:05 pm

@ Beverly Fraud—I said nothing about showing proficiency. I said about learning. So if LEARNING the manual helps a teenager learn the rules of the road better, let me put a tune on the radio and have at it. Reading is fundamental. That you can’t get around.

RedandBlackPeachy

August 9th, 2012
1:05 pm

@ Beverly Fraud—I said nothing about showing proficiency. I said about learning. So if LEARNING the manual using music helps a teenager learn the rules of the road better, let me put a tune on the radio and have at it. Reading is fundamental. That you can’t get around.

Beverly Fraud

August 9th, 2012
1:15 pm

“Reading is fundamental. That you can’t get around.”

EXACTLY. And sometimes, rather than asking teachers to twist themselves into pretzels, sometimes we need to ask Johnny to actually APPLY himself.

Yes it’s a “checks and balances” thing, but that check and balance has gone WAY out of whack, to the point where students are learning PAINFUL lessons in life about behavior and work that teachers weren’t ALLOWED to teach them at school.

For example if a person don’t show up to work for a week, HR isn’t going to tell the manager “Oh give him 50% pay; otherwise it will be hard for him to catch up” are they?

Beverly Fraud

August 9th, 2012
1:16 pm

if a person DOESN’T show up that is…