Does your school allow parents to request teachers?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Erin Elizabeth, Mar 15, 2008.

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Does your school allow parents to request a specific teacher?

  1. Yes, all requests are granted.

    19 vote(s)
    29.7%
  2. Yes, but only under certain circumstances.

    29 vote(s)
    45.3%
  3. No, absolutely not.

    16 vote(s)
    25.0%
  1. Erin Elizabeth

    Erin Elizabeth Groupie

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    Mar 15, 2008

    It's getting to that time of year when we start looking at our student placements for next year. My school has allowed parents to request their child's teacher in the past and it has caused some serious problems. During the last week of school, the teachers spend hours sorting the kids into classes as balanced as possible with regard to academics, behavior, and gender as well as the teaching style and personality of the new teacher. Over the summer, parents start calling the principal to make requests, and the students get shifted around. The result is unbalanced classes with behavior problems loaded up in one class, another class with very high academic abilities, etc.

    This year, the teachers took a stand and said we do not want any parent requests. The principal agreed and is sending out a letter. However, we do expect a serious backlash of angry parents who are going to be told "No." Our rationale is that no other school in the district allows, or has ever allowed a parent to request a particular teacher for their child. What do you all think of requests?
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    In May, we will meet in teams (sending and receiving teachers, ESL teacher, Special Ed teachers, and administrators) to palce students in classes for next year. We take a lot into account--work habits, ability, friends, personalities, behaviour, etc--and parent requests are not part of this mix. In our school, it can never be guaranteed which teacher will be teaching which class (something always changes over the summer), so requests for a particular teacher wouldn't make sense.

    For those schools that do honour parent requests, how do you ensure equitable class sizes and make-up (gender, behaviours, ability, etc)?
     
  4. Erin Elizabeth

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    That's what we do, too. All of our hard work goes down the drain as soon as a child is moved because the parent wants a particular teacher.
     
  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Our District doesn't allow parent requests and we meet to fill out forms that state which students absolutely do NOT get along and should be separated. That doesn't always happen. I know last year there was a teacher that got most of the behavior problems and the teacher next door had almost the perfect class. I had two students in my room that were not supposed to be together, but somehow got stuck together. My first year was in a school district that said no parent requests, but didn't always follow through with that because one teacher was always requested and seemed to always get those students.
     
  6. ecsmom

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    We did away with requests a couple of years ago. I am glad. We also sit down and sort our students by ability, special needs, ect. We don't make out the class lists but pass the info to admin who try to make balanced class lists. We are then handed a sealed envelop with our class lists inside.

    Unfortunatly, we don't have as much info on incoming K students. We do a screening in April but it often doesn't give an accurate picture of ability and behavior. Our K classes this year are very unbalanced. One teacher has a great class with no behavior problems while the other teacher and I have several apiece.
     
  7. MissFroggy

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    We have the same situation... however, sometimes I think parents can sway the decision making process. Sometimes a parent will write a letter to the head of school, but it is not a common practice. Parents may also say something to me during spring conferences, and I may take that into consideration when I have my say in the process. Because we have multi-age classes and kids can have the same teacher for 2 years (occasionally 3) this is where the gray area is. For example, some kids do better being an older child in the multi-age class, others need that extra level of work and do better as a younger kid in a class. A parent wrote a letter last year asking her older child to be in my class again, since she is learning disabled and had made a lot of progress with me. We all agreed that this should be the case, and would have done the same anyway.

    Overall, it's the teachers and the admin who make the decision.
     
  8. RainStorm

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    Don't fool yourself. Even if your principal says "No!" right now, it will all change over the summer. When it has been allowed in the past it takes a principal with nerves of steel and 100% support from the superintendent to make it happen. Otherwise, he'll (she'll) start out saying "No!" and end up saying "Okay." Then the ones who were told No will find out and they will storm in, and he'll give in to them too.

    We make well balanced lists every year, and when we come back, everything has changed. Children we have marked as "never should be together" are back in the same class, one teacher will have all the high students, and one poor sucker will have all the trouble-makers. It happens every single year.
     
  9. funeoz

    funeoz Comrade

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    At my old school, we didn't take parent requests, but we had a form that parents could fill out describing their child and what type of learning environment or teaching style would be best for their child. The form had to be filled out before we sat down for our placement meeting and would be discarded if it had a teacher's name written in it. My principal was serious about it...to the point that she would put the student in a different class on purpose if a parent wrote a teacher's name on the form.
     
  10. jenglish97

    jenglish97 Devotee

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    In our district, the parent can only write a letter of request of a teacher that they do not want to have. This could be due to their other children having that same teacher. They can only write for one request. We tell the parents to write the letter to the principal. The principal tells them we will only honor one non-request. However, things do change even after we put the children in the classes for next year. I always hear about a lot of changes during the summer.
     
  11. bluelightstar

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    Only if there is "bad blood" between the parent and teacher for previous events. Parents can't just come up and say that they don't want their student to take Mr. X.
     
  12. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    At my last school a parent could complain and the kid would get changed...any time of the year.
    At my current school we teach in teams on three. If a kid has a problem we can mix up the classes, but a kid won't get transfered to another team.
     
  13. RainStorm

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    I don't think parents should be able to choose, but I can also see the other point. As our old principal used to tell us "I can say no to the change, and leave the parent in a class they don't want to be in...and they will spend the entire year finding fault with that teacher and complaining, or I can just move them and be done with it."
     
  14. Tasha

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    Wee don't really accept parent requests, but they are usually honored if a parent asks. Most parents only ask because they had a child previously with a teacher and had a good experience. We meet as a team to place students as well, but they are not final. We do group students with similar services with certain teachers but it is not absolute. For example, one teacher may have all of the students who receive speech therapy. I haven't heard if this is going to continue or not.
     
  15. Hoot Owl

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    Our classes are computer generated. Teachers rate students academically & behaviorally. Classes are supposed to come out balanced. The principal might move a few around especially if their parents are employed by the district.
     
  16. Mrs LC

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    Mar 15, 2008

    This is pretty much why, though we don't officially accept requests, some kids get moved. Our principal says that, if things don't go well, at least the parent won't be able to say, "I told you so.".

    But for all the reasons already presented, our general rule is go where you're put. :)
     
  17. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    My school does not allow requests--at any time of the year. If there is a concern in the middle of the year, my principal absolutely will not move the student--regardless of circumstances.
     
  18. INteacher

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    At the high school level, if a student has had a teacher before they can request a change and it is almost always granted.
     
  19. TeacherSandra

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    Mar 15, 2008

    I work at a private school and our principal does allow requests; we have 2 classes of 3 and 4 yr. olds.

    at my son's school (public); no requests are made that I am aware of; though I did make a request that my son be taken out of his class (they move around as a group - 7th grade); and placed in another 7th grade group. we had issues and they were taken seriously by our principal.
     
  20. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    This would be extremely irritating to me, as a parent who's not employed by the school district.

    The school where my son goes allows requests -- at least, I can make the request, though there's no guarantee it will be honored. I think the school does at least take them somewhat into account, though.

    I discussed the placement with my son's first grade teacher, and discussed the type of teacher he would do well with, though I didn't make a specific request for a teacher.

    I did make a request this year for a specific teacher, because we know of a parent with a son who has a personality similar to our son who did quite well with a specific teacher.

    There is also a third-grade teacher who reportedly told her class, "I don't like boys, only girls." (which, while reprehensible -- looking at the yearbook shows she had a class of over 80% boys that year, and I think the stress may have just gotten to her.) Since my oldest presents a lot of issues somewhat typical of boys, I'd really prefer he not end up in her classroom and would complain immediately if he ended up there.
     
  21. buck8teacher

    buck8teacher Devotee

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    Our previous principal took requests. Our new says he won't but I really think he'll soften up. On our last staff meeting of the year, we put our kids in their class groups for next year. The office was usually flooded with parent requests on that day. On our last conference night of the year, that's all the parents want to talk about... "who do you recommend?" "where should I put my child?"

    Personally, if our new principal takes requests, he should take them from everyone. I heard apparently he is considering taking them from PTC/PTA board members and teacher/staff employees. If you let one group request and not another, that just isn't fair or right.

    I think parents should be able to do letters of non requests because they just didn't have a good experience previously with a teacher, however, I would like for parents to request a teacher based on more than just gossip at the ball field, for example, having a previously positive experience with a teacher with another sibling, etc.
     
  22. Mrs LC

    Mrs LC Comrade

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    How many teachers get to move students? I ask because some people mention a positive/negative past experience as being a reason for a parent request being honoured, so I am wondering if staff get the same say?

    At my school, we do have the right to request not have a student we know we clash with (we swap grades for some classes and keep all kids for 2 years at our 5/6 level, so this can happen) or the child of a parent we clash with. (Some families you should only have to have once in your career!) We can also request not have a child we've taught before - this request is almost always honoured.
     
  23. ecsmom

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    I have requested not to have a student. I had him in K, had his siblings in 6-8. It wasn't because of the student but his mom. My request was honored.
     
  24. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    I can think of parents I would not want to deal with again. I taught their child for 2 years already-I'd rather not go through that again. If I found that they were coming I would request (beg and plead) to have them moved right away.
     
  25. GoehringTeaches

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    We are really only supposed to take requests from employees; however, if parent and teacher both request, then it's granted. I know i have two parents that want me next year because I've already had their siblings. (THey aren't "good" or "smart" children, so it doesn't unbalance the classes.) This is opposed to the one teacher in our grade that gets the "perfect" kids every year. We end up with whopper-jawed classes because of all of the requests she gets. I guess I wouldn't care so much if I was her.
     
  26. Miss W

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    Thank goodness those days are over. It's such a pain for all involved. We do allow for requesting not get a certain teacher if there is a legitamate excuss (family, conflict of interest, etc...).
     
  27. 1gdteach

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    I have been allowed to move my child from a class she was placed in due to the fact that her personality and the teachers personality just would not match. (Example my daughter is very timid and quiet and the teacher was a yeller and had a clicky thing that she clicks when students are loud!!)
     
  28. Mamacita

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    We certainly don't want all the smart kids together; that would be unfair. They might be able to advance according to their actual skills or something. And think of the SELF ESTEEM of the kids who aren't in that class. . . . .

    I admit; three times I insisted on my daughter's having a certain teacher in elementary school. I wanted her to have an out-of-the-box, quirky, funny teacher who meant business and didn't put up with bad behavior. The times I let her stay in the class the computer put her in, were the years she had her Reader's Digests taken away from her because there was no way she could possibly be actually reading them, was told to stop bringing thick novels to school because it made the other kids feel inferior, and spent most of each day sitting out in the hallway tutoring slower kids.

    It wasn't that the OTHER teacher wasn't good; it was that conventional teachers with strict schedules, who hesitated to point out and remove bad behavior, and assumed all second graders were at "grade level" or below, and used the bright kids as tutors instead of teaching them something they didn't already know, were NOT what I wanted for my kids. Some kids thrive on cutesy and repetition and books with limited vocabulary and big print; my kids were simply bored by it.

    As for the 17-month-old who is reading: what's the big deal? My kids were reading the Little House books by age three.

    Perhaps these fast and early learners really do deserve their own class? Maybe? Wouldn't it be far better for them than to be required to sit in a mixed-ability group, waiting, waiting, waiting, tutoring, waiting, as most are forced to do now?

    I think that mixing abilities is wonderful for average and below, really I do. But it's rampantly unfair to kids who deserve an education tailored to their needs just as much as the lowest common denominator does.
     
  29. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    My school honors parent requests (most of the time), and also moves kids during the year. In fact, I know of one student who was moved last week (isn't it a little late in the year...). I know that my principal will always do what is in the best interest of the child. That doesn't bother me at all.
     
  30. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    My school takes parent requests and considers each one, but does not guarantee to be able to meet each request. We take them up until the day of class assignment (which usually happens on the days at the end of the year where teachers are packing up their rooms and kids have gone home for the summer). We look at the requests first, and place them accordingly, and assign the rest of the kids, based on academic levels, behavior and gender/race, after the requests have been filled.

    The only issue we've run into was in a grade where we only had 2 teachers, and one was awful. All of the parents who knew the system requested the other one, leaving the awful teacher with a class full of un-involved parents and kids who knew it. And, you know what? Any teacher would look awful in those circumstances. Fortunately for us, that teacher retired and now both teachers in that grade have similar reputations, so the problem is solved - for now.
    Kim
     
  31. Pencil Monkey

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    i hate that parents can make requests where I work. Three teachers in my grade level, and one has developed an awful reputation (rightfully so). The other teacher and I are left with full classes and this person with 8 students. It makes me so mad every time i think about it.

    No, I don't think bright/gifted children should have to act as tutors. I have some who volunteer to do so and others who do not, and I always make it clear that they do not have to. I provide plenty of challenging alternative assignments for them to do instead. It makes me mad to think that there are teachers who use these kids instead of enriching them.
     
  32. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    :down: How can that possibly be allowed to happen? :down:
     
  33. amedinaoh

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    I am the youngest on the first grade team (27 and this is my second year) and many parents are hesitant about having me as their child's teacher. This really hurts my feelings though I understand the "unknow" from a parent's point of view. :(
     
  34. runsw/scissors

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    We have always honored parent requests before, and staff may request not to have a particular student. Staff requests were usually honored but never promised. These may change now that we have a different principal, but we'll see. I'm just speculating. Personally, I think parents should not request except in extreme circumstances. It sometimes turns into a popularity contest and often classes that were split evenly become unbalaced in terms of ability/behavior. I'm not a big fan of parents requesting. Even worse (and this does happen) is allowing the studnets to choose their teacher via parent requests.
     
  35. KinderCowgirl

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    I don't even know what our official school policy is. I've gotten siblings of former students whose parents said they were going to request me, but I'm not sure that's why they were assigned to me - it's a 1 out of 3 chance.

    I know we didn't even see our class lists until the day before school started this year, so the teachers definitely don't have any say in it.
     
  36. shouldbeasleep

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    Parent requests honored here, and staff requests with solid rationales honored as well.

    Sorry, but I disagree with some of you who think they should be done away with. I think I've earned the respect that's given to me when I have a class full of students whose parents requested me.

    And the side benefit is that everyone seems positive about the year.

    The only ones at my school who whine about it are teammates who either speak rudely to parents or who tend to send kids to the office or notes home about minor behavior or academic issues.
     
  37. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Mar 18, 2008

    At the high school, I think it's a different and slightly less important issue. As elementary students, your kids are stuck with you almost all day, every day. My students only see me for one period every other day.

    Another thing is that at the high school level, teachers are more specialized in their fields. I'm the only Latin teacher, there's only one French teacher, there's only one AP Microeconomics teacher, etc. Students don't really have the option to request a different teacher because there isn't another one to request.

    In the case of a particular class with many different teachers--like Algebra I or Spanish I--students do have a little more freedom to request a particular teacher. The biggest issue there is that the student's schedule must allow for the change, and that doesn't always happen.


    I do think that teacher requests should be handled on a case-by-case basis, where the parent, student, and/or teacher have a chance to state their rationale. For example, if a parent had one child who had a particularly unpleasant or difficult experience with a teacher, that parent might be better off by requesting a different teacher for a younger child.
     
  38. teacherstudent1

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    This became a real problem in our school last year, with parents not only making initial teacher requests, but request for change of teachers all through the year. Unfortunately neither our campus nor our district has a policy on this.

    One of my professors a few years back said that at her school they only allowed for 1/3 of the class to be by request. After that, the class was filled by the school administrators' and staffs' discretion. Even this would be an improvement over what we have had this year.
     
  39. 3Sons

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    Mar 19, 2008

    Basically, what you're saying is that pure random selection is better than being able to choose. I'm not convinced this is the case. Presumably, a "popularity contest" would determine popularity for some specific reason. Voting for president is essentially a popularity contest -- do you think it might be better to pick a president at random?

    I think one good innovation might be to tie the ability to make teacher requests to student performance (either absolute or relative improvement). Clearly, for the student it could be a big and worthwhile goal to shoot for.
     
  40. runsw/scissors

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    What we do at the end of the year is to have the teachers make the class lists for the following year dividing up students so that students of high, average, and low abilities are about evenly distributed in the various sections, and same with the genders. We also try to match up student groups that have worked well in the past and split up those that have had problems. This is done in May and by August when we come back eveything is changed due to parent requests over the summer. And I know for a fact that some students tell their parents "I want to be in so-and-so's class," and the parents let them. It has caused problems in more than a few ways and many times over the years. It's not random selection; it's careful planning. And some choice or input is fine in particular circumstances, but teaching should not be a popularity contest. And popular presidental candidates don't always make for good presidents; take Grant and Jackson for instance.
     
  41. teacher333

    teacher333 Devotee

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    It is the last thing the Principal looks at when finalizing the class lists. The other criteria have more of a priority, such as mixture of groups in the class, where the inclusion students/BSI students are, students who absolutely cannot be paired together due to difficulties socially with each other, test scores, number of boys vs girls. The parents have to present a pretty strong case to request a certain teacher, it cannot be just, "Well, I heard this teacher...". If a parent has had a positive experience with a teacher with her other children and wants the same teacher that will most likely be honored. If a parent wants a child to be the "tougher", more structured teacher because she knows her child needs that, that request will be honored. There are a lot of factors that go into that determination.
     

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