What do you feel about parents requesting teachers?

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by rookieABC123, Jan 22, 2007.

  1. rookieABC123

    rookieABC123 Comrade

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    Jan 22, 2007

    Hello,

    I just wanted to get some opinions on parents that call the school to request that their child get a specific teacher. This pertains to the elem. level. I am not a full time teacher yet, but I know some teachers that do this as well. Is this fair?? Just wanted your input.
     
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  3. 3rdgraderules!

    3rdgraderules! Rookie

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    At my school, there are two wings. Each wing has grades 1-5. Because of this, parents make numerous requests for teachers on a specific wing. In my opinion, it makes for lopsided classes. Instead of building groups that would work well together and be academically balanced, you end up with a class of haves and have-nots. Also, if a teacher is known as being super-structured, as I am, parents of students with major behavioral issues will request you and you end up with a group that has an overabundance of issues. I respect the rights of parents to makes choices in their child's schooling, but I think that often, too many requests are honored resulting in difficulties in class make-up.
     
  4. Lesley

    Lesley Habitué

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    We lived in one district that would only take requests for a teacher you did not want and you had to state why. I actually used it for two of my own children. I did not have a problem stating why I did not want my child to have a certain teacher. We were not allowed to request having a certain teacher.
     
  5. Rosieo

    Rosieo Enthusiast

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    When my children were in elementary school we were not allowed to request a teacher, PERIOD! That was the way it was and really it was no big deal, no one complained. My friend did request once because her child was seeing a therapist and the principal requested a letter from the therapist stating why he would need a certain placement. The school I am at now honors ALL parent requests and us teacher don't like that at all. We make our class lists according to various reasons, behavior, personality, academics, special ed and so on. We set up great class lists and then zap - here come a parent request and messes it all up. I think what frustrates me is when a parent will say they want a certain teacher because their friend's child had that teacher and that child liked her/him. That doesn't guarantee that her child will, does it? So I am all for no requests.
     
  6. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    We have reserved 8 spots in each classroom for requests (that's 192 students in our building alone). I don't agree with it. It doesn't mean that students will get the requested teacher, but the admin. tries to work it out. I don't know how we'll do it this year because we are in a new building with a new principal.
    Personally I think there should only be allowance for requesting not to be in a certain teachers' class, with justifiable reasons (like family member or such).
     
  7. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I am not a fan of parent requests. You have some teachers who put on a dog and pony show. Those are the ones parents tend to request. That ends up leaving those of us who just get in there and teach left with the parents who didn't request. Around here that means we tend to have classes overloaded with weak, poor family support, etc. It makes for a rough year when you get compared to the teacher next door and they got the prime class.
    I can understand if there are problems and you need to request not to be in a certain room, but other than that, it should just be luck of the draw.
     
  8. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I don't like it but it does happen at my school. Our adminstration has even switched students after the school year has started and then switched them back to their original teacher because the parents were unhappy with the new teacher.

    Personally, I don't think it is fair because even teachers who teach at the school have to hand in a list of their top 3 teacher choices for their own child.
     
  9. Tbelle1035

    Tbelle1035 Cohort

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    It's been a real problem in my school in the past. Some parents in our community engage in what I call "baseball park talk." They all gather at the Little League field during game times and talk about who the good teachers are and who to avoid. it makes me crazy! Why? Because much of the time they don't know what they're talking about, in fact many of the worst offenders talk about teachers they have never dealt with!

    Now our school has a "no request" policy. People still try, but we have been instructed to be adamant about enforcing the policy, even if it means referring that parent to administration.

    Now we're allowed to make up classes that are well-balanced.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It absolutely does NOT happen in my school.

    I can stand in front of a class of kids. I can use the exact same words and examples and definitions to each child in the class.

    Yet one gets a 12% (honest-- this was Thursday's test:( ) and several others got 104%

    So... am I a great teacher because kids broke 100%, or a miserable one because one young lady got a grade well below freezing??

    Parental requests don't make sense-- we can't determine which child will learn well with us, and which child won't.

    PS-- the same girl who got the 12 spent today's class writing a note to her friend. Another teacher was teaching (long story) and I was in the back-- too far to stop her without disrupting the class. But she did earn a detention.
     
  11. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Parents can request a teacher at my school, but it doesn't always happen. I like the idea of parents being able to NOT request a teacher for a good reason. That makes more sense to me.
     
  12. AngelHead

    AngelHead Comrade

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    We allow parent requests and we get a LOT of them. They have to submit their requests in writing and forms are due on a certain day and time. Personally it doesn't bother me. It makes me feel good that I'm being requested.

    We have a lot of parents who talk about the teacher's as well and I have gotten a good reputation thank goodness.
     
  13. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    In my kid's first school we were given teacher request forms. It was first come first served and you were warned that you may not get your slot. I used it one year to get the same Kinder teacher for my second son that my first son had. I loved her!
     
  14. Tigers

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    Not a fan. If parents have a problem with a teacher then I believe the issue becomes negotiable. Even then, it should depend on the reason.
     
  15. AngelHead

    AngelHead Comrade

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    I'd rather not have a parent who already has a problem with me. However, I can see why it might not be the greatest move. There is a teacher who rarely gets requested and she is a fantastic teacher. I'm not sure why but the parents obviously aren't aware of how good she is.
     
  16. rookieABC123

    rookieABC123 Comrade

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    Thanks for all the input! Your responses were great and really interesting to read all the different thoughts on the topic!
     
  17. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    Were not supposed to allow parents to request....but..........what a headache! What ever happened to telling the parents what we tell the kids...
    You get what you get....and you don't get UPSET!
     
  18. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    I think its unfair esp. to the teachers who do not get requested. Terry G.
     
  19. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    It makes it hard here because I teach in a tiny town. I literally am the only teacher at my school that didn't grow up here. They didn't know me when I first started. Now that I've been here a while, they know me more, but I know how it feels to be the one who gets the "leftovers". (Of course that didn't matter because I loved my kids no matter who I got, but when your co-teachers would pit their class against yours it got hard.)
     
  20. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    At the school I was at last year, parents couldn't request a specific teacher, but they could request the KIND of teacher they feel their child benefits from. They weren't guaranteed, but could make a written request. When they sit down to do lists for the following year, here's the policy:

    Each child has a card. blue for boys, pink for girls. Cards have kid's name, town, 1/2/3 for math, reading, behavior (low/middle/high), and particular modifications, special services they receive, and keep with/seperate from (only in emergencies). They don't usually ifll out the keep with/seperate from part, but they use it for two kids who just can NOT be in the same class, or for the really shy kid who FINALLY made a friend... or for kids whose PARENTS need different teachers. ;) They sit down and delegate the 1/1/1, 2/2/2, 3/3/3, etc., trying to get mixed-ability grouping, mixed-gender groupings, and mixed towns (That's a big thing for the parents in their particular school). Then the specials and special services teachers check to make sure it works. They're not assigned to a particular teacher at this point... principal does that right before school starts.

    They try REALLY hard to make balanced classes to ensure that, for instance, the new teacher doesn't get all the behavior kids, etc.

    It seems to work pretty well.
     
  21. ally06

    ally06 Companion

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    Parents at my school are able to put a request in writing and it is considered, but is not automatically given. I think there needs to be a really good reason before those lists we spend hours on are changed!
     
  22. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Parents are allowed to make certain requests, in writing, about class placement (not in a split class, with/not with a certain other student) but not about teachers--these requests would not be entertained.
     
  23. Tbelle1035

    Tbelle1035 Cohort

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    It does feel great to be requested. But one reason I feel so dead set against requests concerns a former colleague of mine. I couldn't understand why she was so often the teacher parents didn't want until I was at a party one night and overheard a parent say that this teacher was an alcoholic and drank on the job. Well, nothing could have been further from the truth, she never touched the stuff! I happened to be in a position to ask the person how she knew this, and she said, "Well, just look at her face, it's always so red." She was just one of those people who had a ruddy complexion and blushed a lot. I put in my two cents worth and walked away feeling disgusted and sad. How many other parents had this story spread to? Some people just don't realize the damage they can do by repeating information that has no basis.

    Besides that, parent requests can really upset the balance of a well-rounded class list. It's our job to place students according to their best interests. Let us do our job!

    One of my own children went to a middle school in which parents were given a form to fill out. We had the opportunity to list what we felt were our childrens' strengths and weakness,and what type of classroom or teacher we felt our child would do well with. I thought this was an effective system.
     
  24. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I am for it. Parents usually know who is a better teacher.
    If your kid could have an OUTSTANDING teacher in 2nd grade
    or a good one which would you choose. People make choices all
    the time. We cannot control gossip or stupidity but life is
    all about choices and I think its fair if some parents have a preferance and they would like to make a choice.
     
  25. 3rdgraderules!

    3rdgraderules! Rookie

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    In my experience, most parents make requests based upon the rumors and perceptions that they talk about with other parents, rather than on knowing what teachers are "better". Parents may have a preference as to who they would feel is best for their child's learning style and if they can give reasons to support the request I would honor it. Approving requests simply because one teacher is perceived as good and another is perceived as outstanding or because one teacher is thought of as structured while another appears passive, can lead to a divisive situation that could adversely affect the school community.
     
  26. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Sometimes parents think they "own" that teacher if they get the teacher they requested. They then tend to treat that teacher that way.
     
  27. teachingmomof4

    teachingmomof4 Groupie

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    As a teacher, I don't mind the parent requests. They are due, in writing, on a certain day and no other requests are granted after that date. The parents have to fill out a form about thier child's strengths and weaknesses, needs etc. The administration as well as the classroom teachers sit down together at the end of the year and place the child by academics and behavior. Most of the time requests are granted but in some cases, we change things around.

    As a parent, I like the fact that I can request who my sons' teachers are. I know their personalities and the personalities of the teachers in my school and can figure out who they would be a good match with and who they wouldn't. There is only one teacher that I can think of that I requested my oldest boy not to have but a few of the teachers and my youngest son would not do well together. I would rather have an enjoyable year than make my son and the teacher both miserable.


    I can see advantages and disadvantages to requesting teachers but...what can you do. If you don't let them, they'll whine and complain until you do. Might as well do what we do with the kids...pick our battles and deal with it. Chances are, it's not going to change any time soon.:)
     
  28. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    many times the choice is between two fantastic teachers. Though one teacher's style combined with the classroom would make for the better learning environment for your child. Class lists aren't just picked out of a hat. Hopefully the teachers have the students best concerns and individual needs in mind. If they didn't I could see why teacher request forms would be necessary.
     
  29. kburen

    kburen Cohort

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    We allow them here and some of them are honored. The students are put into classes based on behavior (they don't put all behavior problems in one class) and many other things (including a sheet from the previos years teacher saying this student and this one should NOT be together...blah blah blah). If there is a request the principal tries to work it out...If they can't...Oh well. I personally don't mind because I wouldn't want to have a parent to deal with who didn't want their child in my class to begin with. Those are the parents who are difficult to deal with and make my job 10 times harder!! It's bad enough to have those parents in other rooms talking to your parents about you!
     
  30. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    I'm the only teacher in my grade at my school (Pre-K), so this doesn't apply to me as a teacher so much as it does to me as a parent. I do make a request for my kids for K and grade 1. After that, they're on their own, but I trust that the reading specialist (who does the class lists) will look out for my child. (I teach in the same school that my kids attend). I'm early childhood, and I have strong opinions about what a Kindergarten and first grade teacher should and shouldn't do. We have 3 teachers in K and 3 in gr. 1. Of those 3, each grade has one that I feel is developmentally inappropriate with the kids and, just overall, a really poor teacher. I could tell so many stories, but I won't. If my kids were in one of those classes...well, I'm not sure I could grin and bear it for a whole year and I'm sure I'd end up ruining my professional relationships at some point because of that. I think the reading teacher and principal would actually try to avoid putting my kiddos into those classrooms...I've been pretty upfront with them about the things I've seen and heard and they know how I feel.

    In general, though, my school has an unwritten policy about requests. If they are submitted in writing, before 5/15, they will be considered - but NOT guaranteed. Just considered. After that, too late. We actually go through all requests first, consider the validity of each one (is it based on a previous bad experience with a teacher, or is it based on gossip?), and assign those requested kids first...then even out the ranks with the others, by reading ability. b gender and race. Each class gets a high group, a middle one and a low one. So, one parent requesting a teacher for a kid could pull the whole reading group into a certain classroom - the problems arise when two kids in the same reading group have different teacher requests submitted.

    In general, out of my 40 pre-K kids, we get only 2-3 request for a particular K teacher each year. It's not too out of hand, or too hard to deal with. Not yet, anyway.
    Kim
     
  31. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Ours gets a little out of hand. With 300+ students for each grade level (12 teachers per grade-15 for kindergarten), we usually get tons of requests. They have to be hand delivered to the office a certain day, between certain times. Parents can be so mean sometimes, event to each other. Last year we had a line of parents waiting for the office open. A sub stepped in to sign in and get her badge, and a parent cussed her out because they thought she was butting in line (to turn a request in).
     
  32. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I'm just wondering...
    For those of you who work in schools where parents are allowed to request certain teachers (and those requests are honoured), how do you handle it if most parents request one teacher and this would result in very unbalanced class sizes?
     
  33. Cindy101

    Cindy101 Rookie

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    I don't think parents should request teachers. Let the teachers place the children, they are the ones who work in a classroom setting with them everyday.
     
  34. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    I am with you, but we do have to remember that when it comes to a specific child, their parent is the expert. I really like the idea where parents explain the strengths and weakness, and if a parent has a real concern that their child won't work well with a teacher, this concern needs to be addressed.
     
  35. TX Teacher

    TX Teacher Rookie

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    The elementary where my children attended takes requests. I never requested for my son (except in 5th grade, I requested he NOT be placed with one teacher...any of the others were fine with me.) When my daughter came along 8 years later, I did request every year except for 5th grade, where she is now. ( She sees each teacher for one class each day, so what was the point?) My daughter has a totally different personality and demeanor than my son, and by the time she started school I was working at the high school and knew most of the teachers. There was one 4th grade teacher who is very laid back and quiet, while my daughter is the polar opposite, so I had to request that she was not in that teacher's class. That being said, I requested based on my daughter's personality not the teachers teaching ability. I do however know that is not the case with most parent requests here in my district.
     
  36. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Our teachers and school workers can request, but only for their children (not for nieces, nephews, grandkids, etc). Those are the only requests that are taken. However, if there is a child that for a very specific reason their would be trouble with (always about parents), we can reqest a specific child not be placed in our room. I had to do that with a child this year. It's a long history that actually has to do with my sister living with his dad several years ago. While the child is fine, the father and I don't even do well in the same building, much less the same classroom.
     
  37. Tbelle1035

    Tbelle1035 Cohort

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    We have a similar system. I only wish the administration would assign the teachers to the groups. I think that's a great idea!
     
  38. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    I am not a parent yet, but have had parents request me, and had a parent request their child moved (that was more a previous problem one of the parents had with me)

    I have to say that it is hard for me to not want to request what I would think would be best for my child (especially for teachers since we usually see the good & bad about our coworkers).
     
  39. La Profesora

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    The only ones who get to "request" a certain teacher are employees of the district.... so I always had all the teacher's kids in my Bio classes. It made me feel pretty good (I too am in a tiny town and the outsider - but I speak the best English!!!)

    Parents can only request that their child NOT be put in a class with a permanent sub or uncertified teacher - but unfortunately, most don't even know that their kid's teacher isn't qualified.
     
  40. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Personally I think parent ought to be required to justify their request and submit requests by a certain date in spring. It is rather unfair to have the teachers make up groupings for the following year only to have everything mixed up and lopsided come August. My school does this to us and it drives me nuts.
     

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