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Who’s Your Teacher This Year?

Are you wanting to know who will be your child’s teacher this year? Life as MOM contributor Jessie Leigh has some advice on how to approach teacher assignments.

mr getskow

photo used by permission 🙂

We rush to find it on the report card. Or we hurry to see it posted by the school. Or maybe we wait eagerly for the envelope to arrive in the mail. One way or another, most of us are very, very curious to see which teacher our child has been assigned to for the upcoming school year.

This makes sense– after all, if you send your child to public school, he or she will spend roughly 1,200 hours with this person over the upcoming year. That’s a lot!

Who’s your teacher this year?

Of course we want our children to have the best possible fit. It’s natural to be a bit anxious to find out just who will be leading the classroom.

Many of us have a pretty clear idea of who we might hope to see listed as teacher. Sometimes, this is based on our own personal experiences. Sometimes, it’s based on word-of-mouth or the advice of friends. When the latter is true, we need to be very careful not to jump to conclusions that might be unfounded.

When one of my children was headed into first grade, I heard such lovely things about the assigned teacher. I felt super confident that it would be a great year. So confident was I that I ignored some gut instincts I had at the open house. I pushed through and reminded myself that everyone said she was great. As it turns out, that teacher was not a fantastic fit for my child and we had a lot of work ahead of us in second grade.

Another year, I moped around when I found out my little one hadn’t gotten the “most desired” teacher. I heard rumors of our assignment being intense and not very personable. As it turns out? She was a superb fit for my child and I remain in contact with her to this day.

Still another time, I raved and raved and raved about our second grade teacher to a good friend whose son wound up in her class. Guess what? That child, and his mother, had a rotten year and their personalities clashed terribly with my beloved, wonderful teacher. Who’d have guessed?

But that’s the thing– hearsay? Is just that. And opinions? Are a dime a dozen.

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photo by Phil Roeder, used by license

Even more so, what works for one child just doesn’t work at all for another. This can be seen even within the same family. My son had a great fourth grade year, but I would prefer that my daughter entering fourth grade this year not have the same teacher. Different personalities can lead to different experiences. That’s what I failed to take into account when I gushed about that one teacher to my friend.

If you simply can’t stand it and you feel you MUST solicit the opinions of others regarding the various teachers in your school, I strongly recommend that you seek descriptions of teaching styles and personalities, such as:

  • “she’s stern, but very fair”
  • “she’s very soft-spoken and the class seems to follow her lead”
  • “she’s young and energetic and does a great job with high-energy kiddos”

On the flip-side, when offering critiques, be fair and specific:

  • “she’s a very free spirit who shuns structure and embraces creativity”
  • “she has a tendency to raise her voice, so she’s best for kids who can shrug that off if they know it’s not directed at them”
  • “she does a great job maintaining order, but she was a bit too harsh for my super sensitive little one”

Learn from my mistakes– assuming either the best or the worst based on what others have told you can bite you in the rear. Likewise, telling others a particular teacher is either awful or awesome, without explanation for why you felt that way, could totally lead someone else astray and prove untrue for them.

It’s an exciting time of year, this finding out who’s your teacher this year! Let’s all assume the best until given valid reason to feel otherwise.

What’s been your experience?

Has your experience with a particular teacher ever varied dramatically from that of your peers? Have you ever worried unnecessarily about a teacher assignment?

JessieLeigh - 125– A mother of three, including a 24 week preemie, JessieLeigh is a determined advocate for even the tiniest of babies. She can be found celebrating life’s (sometimes unexpected) miracles and blessings at Parenting Miracles.

You can read all of Jessie Leigh’s posts for Life as MOM here.

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Comments

  1. We’ve had great, good and so-so teachers. My kids have rolled with the punches through each teacher. We have found having a difficult classmate is MUCH harder to deal with. My daughter’s 3rd grade year was an exercise in endurance with a boy that just would not stop bothering her.

    • That’s such a good point, Janet! My daughter, too, had an issue with a classmate (– he bullied her relentlessly) in 3rd grade and it made for some difficult months. I hope your daughter got (or gets) a break from him in future years!

  2. Do you have any tips on how to decide when your micro preemie is ready for school and how to navigate if they need an IEP? My sister is dealing with that this year.

    • I do have tips, Martha!

      1. Micropreemies almost always require some sort of therapies from the birth to 3 years and those recommendations should have been initiated by a developmental pediatrician and carried out through an early intervention team. In that case, the EI team will likely recommend a preschool program starting at age 3 (covered by the state) to meet ongoing needs of the child. At that point, IEPs will be created at the school level. Before school age, it is known as an ISTEP, but it’s similar.

      2. I firmly believe that micropreemies should be placed in a grade according to their estimated due date, as opposed to their actual birth date, e.g. by Connecticut law, our micropreemie could have gone ahead a year because she was born on 12/24 and our cut-off is 12/31. Her due date, however, was 4/15. It would have been absurd to send her ahead!

      3. If the child is already 5 and ready to start kindergarten and has had no school or therapy to date, the parent should contact the district’s special education coordinator to set up an evaluation. That will help determine any needed support and services (i.e. the need for an IEP.)

      I hope that helps!

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