Pick next year’s teacher — How much say do you get?

We have three days of school left this year, and my kids already know who their teachers will be for next year. In fact, they are meeting them at school today.

I love how parents at our public elementary school have so much input into which teachers their children will have next year. We are not allowed to request a specific teacher, but our principal really makes an effort to match the personality and learning style of each student with a teacher.

Here’s the process (partially pulled from our principal’s letter that was sent home explaining):

1. Parents fill out a form toward the end of the year answering questions about the best learning environment for your child, any concerns that you have about your child and any children you do not want in your child’s class. This form is taken very seriously.

2. Then they talk to each classroom teacher about what they feel like the child needs from a teacher and a class – ie. Firm teacher, lots of choices, work sheets VS free form work.

3. Each grade level develops a preliminary list based on child’s academic, social and special needs.

4. Next administrators review the groupings and assign teachers based on student needs and teacher strengths.

5. The special area teachers and special education staff review the list and make recommendations.

6. Finally the grade level teachers reconvene to review the classes to verify optimal placement.

And I’m pretty sure our principal wrote in another letter that she personally reviews each class to make sure she agrees with all the placements. This whole process generally takes two months!

I feel like the teachers’ opinion and the parents’ opinions are respected, and the school is actually concerned with finding a good fit for the year.

I also like that we find out who we’re going to have before school gets out. The idea is that the kids don’t have to spend the summer stressing about who they are going to have. Also some teachers send home reading lists for the kids to work on during the summer.

On the other side of that, I know some teachers that don’t like the kids finding out early -

“I don’t need moms talking about me at the pool all summer,” says one veteran teacher I know.

So, how much input do parents get at your school into choosing next year’s teachers? Do you feel like you are listened to? Do you feel like they are really trying to find the best teacher and best learning environment for your child or just running through a computer and where they land is where they land?

Do you find out before school gets out like we do? If not when do you learn who your child’s teacher will be? Is it stressful to find out later rather than sooner

If you’re a teacher, do you like for parents to know ahead of time or do they pester you when they know?

In a related story, you should know: A new Georgia law will give more parents the power to pick their children’s schools. A controversial bill signed recently by Gov. Sonny Perdue gives parents the ability to cross neighborhood boundaries and select almost any campus in their district — the closest ones, the ones with the best SAT scores, sports teams, etc. As long as there is room to teach the new students. Check out the full story.

54 comments Add your comment

BlondeHoney

May 19th, 2009
11:31 am

I can’t get in either…blank screen with title wheni click on it.Help, Theresa :)

DB

May 19th, 2009
11:33 am

I used a different browser and got in fine after IE failed me. So annoying . . .

irisheyes

May 22nd, 2009
10:20 pm

We just finished our class lists today. What stress! There are so many things we look at when making the lists. We need to equalize boys and girls, make sure the racial profile is ok (we’re majority African American, so we need to make sure that we don’t have an all AA class with just one white student), make sure that you don’t have all high kids and one low one, and separate all of the behavior and parent problems. It took us two hours! Then, we had to meet again later because the admins weren’t happy about how the reading levels were spread out.
As a teacher at the school, I can specifically request a teacher. I did last year for both of my kids, but this year I didn’t make a formal request. I did go to both of their current teachers and told them who I wanted next year.

Patsy

June 2nd, 2009
9:53 pm

I am sorry, but as a teacher of 14 years, I have already gone through the interview process several times when changing schools or districts. If parents should be allowed to interview teachers, then teachers should also be allowed to interview and choose parents. After all, teachers are not children’s personal servants, as some parents seem to think they should be. I have had enough of overindulged children, who are not expected to think for themselves, and then their teachers attacked for expecting them to think for themselves. If parents want to do the thinking for their children, then they should home school!