Does your school take student requests for particular teachers?

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

  1. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Jun 10, 2018

    There are ineffective teachers in every school in every district.

    Parent requests will continue to be honored as they are a district-mandated option.
     
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  2. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Jun 11, 2018

    At my children's high school, parent or student requests for teachers are officially not considered. No idea if they are unofficially considered. I do know once a schedule is in place that they won't change you from one section to another to get a different teacher.

    At the middle school I teach at I know they'll consider parent requests. However, when setting up which team a student will be on the main consideration is keeping students apart who had issues with each other in elementary school.
     
  3. bella84

    bella84 Fanatic

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    Jun 11, 2018

    My school accepts parent input on the qualities they would like in a teacher, as well as peers that they do/do not want their child placed with. Requesting a teacher by name is not allowed, but it doesn't always stop a parent from writing a name on a form. We generally, but don't always, honor their requests. Students get no say at all. It's an elementary school.
     
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  4. Bibliophile

    Bibliophile Companion

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    Jun 11, 2018

    SOOOOoooooooooo, yeah, California teacher here and this is absolutely not true.

    Perhaps it is true where you are, but that would mean that you have a strong local union. Or perhaps there are other factors at play. CTA is not power house that is insumountable with the power that makes admin every where cringe and hide in fear. In Ca I have I have watched good, tenured teachers get fired just because admin didnt like them. I have watched crazy parents push for dismissal of teachers in instances that were unfounded and it worked. Permanent teachers most assuredly can be fired in California.

    If admin is aware of poor teaching then they are more than able to do something about with documentation and the proper channels. Parent requests shouldn't be necessary to keep students away from bad teachers as all teachers at a site should be more than capable of teaching and working well with all students. Period. Honoring parent requests just sends messages of inequality and creates a poor school climate among professionals.

    I say this as a teacher who got a lot of requests. I actually shook a moms hand last week as she introduced herself to me and said how much her child wants to be in my class. It was very sweet, but I've seen my class list and she isn't on it. The teacher she has is a fine teacher and she will do just as well in the other class.

    At my sons school you couldn't request a specific teacher but you could write a letter describing what would be a "good fit" for your student and why you think so. Well I wrote my little letter and I didnt get the person I wanted. The teacher that he got instead ended up being the best teacher he ever had. They developed an awesome connection and he used his recess to help in her class for the next 2 year. He made awesome gains. Its awful to think that he could have missed out on that if the school had gone with who I thought was a better teacher for him and gone with my request.

    I also had the reverse. I got exactly who we wanted and who I had described in my letter...worst year ever. My kid learned nothing, fell behind academically, went from proficient to below level in 2 content areas, and picked up some bad behaviors that year which the next teacher had to work hard to break. That teacher left the district at the end of that year.

    Parents dont know enough about what goes on in each room to know what they are talking about. 9/10 just request teachers who are good at the dog and pony show or who have really fun projects. I am pretty sure 2 of my PBL's are behind all of my parent requests. My class is much more than those 2 PBL's and the other teachers are so much more than the fact that they dont do those 2 projects. Just say NO to parent requests!
     
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  5. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Jun 12, 2018

    I agree... It kind of falls into the "what does it hurt?" category to me.

    There's no formal system for requesting teachers, and I'd imagine parents are told they can't request teachers, but as the saying goes the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    I get how it could seem like the other teachers are sub par, but I don't view it that way. Many times requests come from families who had older siblings in a class and want the same teacher for the younger siblings. I think it is nice to have those built in family relationships.
     
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  6. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Connoisseur

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    Jun 12, 2018

    That’s great that that worked out for him, but his experience does not speak to the general population of students in high school or below.

    Like I said before, it only becomes an issue because you make it one. If more people were accommodating and less rigid, then we would have more positive student outcomes. The current system obviously is not working if so many students are underperforming and I imagine that it has to do with, in part, their dissatisfaction with some of their teachers.

    This comment is not directed at you, but I don’t blame some students for wanting to be taught by certain teachers in certain classes. Take my classes, for instance. I’m a highly effective teacher (according to parents, students, and my teacher evaluations) because I’m not only knowledgeable and professional, but I’m approachable, constantly smiling, cracking jokes, positive of my students and encouraging of them even when they’re difficult to deal with at times. I’ve had students who came from public schools that their teachers seemed to brush them off, make snide comments toward them, drone on and on during lecture, and possess virtually zero personality. Plus, and here Is the big one, they act stereotypically old and grumpy all the time. I’ve had students who generally didn’t want to come to school get excited each day in my classes and turn their acts around because I made learning fun and engaging while interacting with them socially.

    Certain teachers — I’m speaking broadly here — need to be more lively and upbeat. Try listening to what your students have to say and actually addressing their concerns instead of being overtly dismissive. Secondly, teachers need to do more self-reflection and examine why students typically don’t want to be around certain individuals. There might be a reason for that. (You can still be strict and manage your classroom and yet still be inviting and humorous.)

    With that said, I once was asked by a colleague of mine how to get students to open up more to them and to not shy away from them. I promptly said, “Try listening to your students and not condescending them all the time for starters. I’ve seen you interact with students in the hall and you are habitually sarcastic to them. Why?”

    They were taken aback and saddened that I answered their question crudely, but my sincerity got them to self-improve and be more cordial with their pupils. Thereafter, students started liking them more, and miraculously, students started requesting to be put in their class more. They still taught the same way, but they weren’t so confrontational.

    It’s not always about the teacher being more or less effective in the classroom. If I was still a student and had to take a class with a grouchy and boring person, I would request to be put elsewhere at the soonest opportunity.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018 at 9:37 PM
  7. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jun 18, 2018 at 9:10 PM

    You just gave an example of such a teacher at your own site. What are you doing to change the situation?

    Parents absolutely should be able to request their students' teachers. That's the only way most districts will ever do anything about the bad ones. They respond when parents talk. If someone is getting all or none of the requests they may actually try to find out why.
     
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  8. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jun 20, 2018 at 7:21 AM

    Other that assisting with PD and giving advice when asked, there is nothing I can do. I'm not an administrator.

    It does not take a popularity contest for administrators to see that something is amiss. They know before parent requests come through. They just choose to ignore situations most of the time.

    And please do not assume that parents request the better teachers. Parents know even less about what is happening in the classroom than administrators do. They hear gossip and act accordingly. At the high school level parents often request teachers that have the reputation of giving higher grades.
     
  9. RjMaan

    RjMaan Rookie

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    Jun 20, 2018 at 11:14 AM

    There kinds of consideration do not work here for school but for universities these consideration works well.
     
  10. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Jun 20, 2018 at 7:56 PM

    I agree.

    Parent requests do not always indicate the best teachers. It could indicate the teachers who give easy A's, the ones who assign less homework, or the ones who are the nicest (which is a good quality, but does not equal superior teaching skills).
     

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