Advocacy

What is the parents' role in teacher assignment?

"What teacher do you want this year?"

That's the question heard over and over again in my neighborhood. Moms asking Moms, Moms asking kids, and even kids asking kids: Who do you hope you get this year?

At the core of parent requests, of course, are parent hopes that their child spends the year with a teacher who helps their child thrive cognitively, emotionally, and socially. Parents whose kids have spent a year in a less than optimal environment can tell you that a school year can be a VERY long time when the teacher-child match was bad.

Same thing next year? Grade retention.

We're approaching the fourth grading period at our school, which leads some teachers and parents to think about whether a struggling child should be retained. It's never an easy conversation to have.

I bet she'll catch on by then

Rebecca commented on my last post:

How should the parent respond if the teacher says this: "Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Let's watch and see how she does through the holidays. I'm betting she'll catch on by then."

Great question, Rebecca. Thank you for commenting!

In some cases, that teacher might be right. The student might catch up and do just fine. In other cases, the teacher might be wrong, and a whole bunch of valuable time will have been lost.

Is it ever too early to worry?

We get lots of questions through our Ask the Expert service. Occasionally I'll post a question here in hopes of reaching a wider audience. Feel free to chime in with your own additions to my answer! If you're like me, you'll find yourself wanting to write a dissertation for each one.

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Arnold Lobel