Should you request your child’s next teacher?

Parents often toy with whether to request a teacher for their child or allow the school administration to place their child with a teacher. There may be some factors that you want to consider to help with that decision.

With the current school year ending, kids, parents and teachers alike are looking forward to putting backpacks away, pushing coats and boots to the back of the closet, and redirecting lunch money into ice- cream money. But not so fast! Depending on the school that your child attends, there may be forms and end of the school year paperwork that needs to be completed. 

One of those forms may be a teacher request form for the next school year.  Parents often toy with whether to request a teacher for their child or to allow the school administration to place their child with a teacher. If you are a parent who has struggled with this decision, Michigan State University Extension has some factors that you will want to consider to help with that decision.

Do you need to complete a teacher request?  Consider whether or not you actually need to complete a teacher request for your child.  Often times there is a wonderful pool of teachers that your child could be placed with, leaving you satisfied with administration placing your child. If your child is at or above grade level and has no specific social or academic needs, you may consider whether you need to complete a teacher request.

What do you know about the teacher pool? Are you considering requesting a specific teacher or trying to avoid a teacher based on what you have heard other parents say?  Parents can meet with the school administrator to learn more about the teachers that a child could be placed with.  Learning more about those teachers includes asking about teaching styles, classroom atmosphere, discipline policies and specialty areas. If you discover that all options of teachers would be appropriate for your child, you may not need to complete a teacher request.

Are you creating a match for your child to foster a positive educational experience?  Be sure you are considering what is best for your child and their educational experience.  Stray away from choosing a teacher because, as a parent, you are good friends with them.  Rather look at your child’s learning style, educational growth patterns and personality traits when considering a teacher for your child.

What are your child’s educational needs?  Every parent wants their child to be successful!  Teachers work diligently to create a balanced classroom to meet every type of learning style.  Still there are times where children are not challenged enough by the material presented or too challenged and need additional assistance.  Furthermore, there are many factors that can affect your child’s educational needs such as a diagnosed disability, personality struggles and changes/challenges with home-life.  Be sure to consider matching your child’s educational needs to the teacher who will provide them with the best opportunity to be successful while fostering their learning environment.

What are your child’s social needs?  Is your child shy?  Does your child have a behavior problem?  Are there conflicts that your child has with a specific adult or another childs personality?  These are all factors to take into consideration.  If you are not sure what your child’s social needs are you can always ask their current teacher. This may help when requesting for your child to be placed, or not placed, with a teacher or group of children.

Be sure to check your school’s policy regarding requesting teachers.  Some schools do not allow parents to request, while others encourage teacher requests and will provide parents with forms and/or sample letters of how to write an effective request.

Regardless of whether or not you request a teacher for your child, if you discover that your child is completely unable to be successful in a specific classroom, you may need to work with administration to have your child placed into a different classroom.  As a parent, you also serve as an advocate for your child, which includes talking with your child about their daily struggles, as well as successes.

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