Does your school take student requests for particular teachers?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by TrademarkTer, Jun 9, 2018.

  1. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Habitué

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    Jun 9, 2018

    So I teach mostly juniors this year. They found out that I am teaching a few sections of seniors next year. Natrually I had a handful of kids tell me "I'm requesting you next year!" or even "I'm going to demand that my guidance counselor put me in your class again next year!"

    While it is very flattering (and I would rather teach kids who request me than kids who don't want me), I don't know how many of them will actually follow through and ask to be put in my class (I'm guessing not many). If they do ask, our guidance counselors usually say they can't honor such requests (unless there are extenuating circumstances, and those circumstances are usually to NOT be placed with a particular teacher, rather than to be placed with one). While this is the official stance, I do think that a lot of kids (or more particularly, parents) who request a teacher are "coincidentally" placed in that teacher's class.

    How does your school handle such requests?
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I have never worked in a district which allows students to request teachers. The closest thing to that is students requesting an elective of a favorite teacher.
     
  4. cocobean

    cocobean Companion

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    I teach elementary so it’s a bit different. Parents can put in a written request for a teacher (or request their child NOT to be put in a certain class). Our principal takes it into consideration but has to make sure classes are balanced ie, boy to girl ratio, class size, number of IEPs, etc. She also speaks to the teachers about it!
     
  5. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    I think they do to an extent. It's discouraged but not forbidden.
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    My previous admin used to honor parent requests. Her reasoning was that parents who requested tended to be on the "high maintenance" end and when that same parent came back to complain about something the teacher did, she could say, "Remember, you asked for Ms. __________" rather than having the parent complain even further about how there would be no problems if their child had just been put in the class they'd asked for. We didn't get a ton of requests, so it wasn't really an issue with creating balanced classes.

    My current admin doesn't honor requests and says that she wants parents to know that any teacher in the building is a good teacher. In previous years, we've also picked out specific teachers for some kids based on personality, and we weren't allowed to do that this year either, because P said that it led to "making assumptions about colleagues that may not be true."

    I can't imagine any school honoring student requests. I know at my high school, the classes you ended up in were entirely a product of what would fit in with the rest of your schedule/what classes you needed to take. Making one move would have a domino effect and mess up the rest of the schedule.
     
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  7. rpan

    rpan Comrade

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    I think when there is a personality clash between a particular student and a teacher and it has led to a lot of problems for both parties - student deliberately causes disruptions and doesn’t do work etc leading teacher to call the student out and this becomes a vicious cycle, the school has moved a student out of the class to another class and the problem alleviates.
    But as to simply requesting a specific teacher because a teacher is “better” than the other then I think that’s only under extenuating circumstances. Because parents talk to one another, if admin honours one request then it has to honour all requests and that’s just not feasible. Besides all teachers have different teaching styles and students need to be able to adapt.
     
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  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    No.
     
  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    My school gives some consideration to parent requests, but none to student requests.
     
  10. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Connoisseur

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    At my private school, students make requests to get into my classes all the time and the principal almost always honors such requests. It doesn’t create any problems, except once my classes are full the parents are notified and they have to pick someone else to be taught by. I don’t see why this would be an issue.
     
  11. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    At my HS most classes were only taught by one teacher. If you needed Spanish 3 or AP English, there was often only one section. There were multiple teachers for generic gen ed requirements in the younger grades (i.e. something like sophomore world history), but the rest of the student's schedule pretty much determined what class the student was placed in. For example, maybe world history is offered 3rd, 4th, and 5th period, but the student is in band which is only 3rd period, and Spanish 2 which is only offered 3rd and 4th period, dictating that the student would need to be with whoever teaches Spanish 2 4th period and whoever teaches world history 5th period. If parents insist that they want the teacher who is teaching world history 4th period, it would mess up the entire schedule.
     
  12. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Connoisseur

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    This is a suitable explanation. However, what if some students want to be taught by teacher A and some students want to be taught by teacher B and they both teach the same subject mater? In this instance, it shouldn’t matter if it balances out in the end.
     
  13. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Absolutely. The official answer is no, they don't. But if you know someone, have the time to sit and wait in the front office for the principal to show up, donate to the athletic program, have a kid that is a star player for a team, are a politician, can afford to be a SAHM and volunteer on a regular basis or are otherwise priviledged, your child will get the teacher that hands out high grades like candy. And if you don't get who you want right away, just call up the school, make up some crap about the offending teacher and your child will be moved immediately.
     
  14. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Because it doesn't balance out in the end. Last year we had two teachers for AP World History. It was to be capped at 128 students. Each teacher had 32 students in two classes. One teacher is well-known for being challenging and getting top scores on the AP exams (which are optional here). The other teacher believes that AP students should be responsible for their own learning and runs the class as a study hall. Kids can come and go as they like, can work on any assignment from any class or play on their phones, can even leave campus early. Those kids are given one open-note test per marking period, which can be repeated until they get the score they like. Everyone knows this and the administration does nothing to address it. Of course the kids want to be in the second teacher's classroom. They get a guaranteed A in an AP course which looks awesome on their transcripts. Within the first three weeks of school the first teacher's roll had dropped from 64 students to 37. The second teacher had more kids than seats in his room but since he never had everyone show up, it was fine. One section had 41 students.

    If you work in a school where teachers teach and have similar expectations, choosing a teacher based on personality isn't as big of an issue. But when there is a big difference in expectations, it really undermines the more rigorous teacher.
     
  15. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Student requests at the elementary level? No. We do honor all parent requests, though.

    This year, we received about 20-25 written parent requests for particular teachers. We accommodated those parents.

    I totally understand why parents requested those particular teachers. If I had children, I’d want them in those classrooms, too.
     
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  16. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    This implies to me that the non-requested teachers are not up to par. And that administration is aware of that.

    So, first, why are you allowing sub-par teachers to work in your school? What are you doing to change the situation?

    Second, why are you allowing students with more involved parents to handpick teachers? How fair is that to the student that doesn't have a parent in the know? Or a parent that has the ability to advocate for her child? Wouldn't the children without such parents be the ones that actually NEED the better teachers?
     
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  17. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Our school (elementary) does not allow teacher name or gender to be specified in a request form. Parents may request their child not be with another particular child (i.e. if there was some significant strife between them, or if they have twins, for example), and may request certain elements in an environment, but not by name. It'd open up a can of worms...
     
  18. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Connoisseur

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    This issue was addressed in a previous post of mine. It’s first come, first served at my high school and all student requests are handled in the order they are received. This means that once all seats are filled in my classes, for example, parents and students are notified via email and no further students have the option to enroll in my classes when we do enrollment. It works well for us.
     
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  19. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Everyone at my site has tenure. The worst that can happen to a teacher who is awful is that they get placed on an improvement plan. Sometimes, it works. Most times, it doesn’t. California Teachers’ Association makes it nearly impossible to get rid of a permanent teacher.

    I never stated that ONLY involved parents can handpick teachers. Where’d you get that from?

    We usually get 20ish written parent requests. We (our district) have to let parents know in our end-of-year newlesetter that requests for particular teachers have to be made in writing. Some parents take us up on our offer, others don’t.

    You’re obviously not part of the CTA. Otherwise, you’d understand that it’s one of the most powerful unions in the state of CA.

    We can give pointers to teachers who are ineffective until we’re blue in the face. It’s up to the educator to want to change—even if we’re in their classroom providing coaching. Lots of resistance to change from those who are low caliber.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
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  20. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Connoisseur

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    Exactly. I don’t see why some people are so inflexible about things. People just like to make issues out of non-issues.

    I think you are doing a great job. Don’t listen to those naysayers.
     
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  21. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    The only parents that take you up on your offer ARE more involved parents. Parents that don't pay attention or don't care aren't going to advocate for their children. Leaving the kids of those that are indifferent or ignorant in the sub-par classrooms.

    I'd think that in your situation, where you have no power over the teachers in your school, you'd make sure that parent choice was definitely not allowed. This is a perfect example of why/how achievement gaps continue to grow.
     
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