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Q&A

We Got A Bad Teacher

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Question

I took my child to meet his teacher today and I was dismayed to see that he was placed in the class with the teacher who we were warned not to get. I'm torn about what I can do. Second grade is too important to have a bad year and I'm worried that he'll be turned off to school because of it. She seemed okay today, a little distant and not very friendly, but she has a reputation as a screamer. Other parents say that she has no patience, is moody and mean. I hate to get a reputation as a difficult parent, but I want to try to get him moved. Has anyone had any luck getting their child moved from a class with a bad teacher?

Answer

It seems like every school has a few teachers with bad reputations. Most parents are anxious about which teacher their child will get and are understandably upset when they get the one whom everyone wonders how in the world she got into elementary education and why she is still in the classroom.

The dilemma is, do you give her a chance or do you immediately request a change? Unless you have an extremely good reason, most school administrators will not move your child out of the class. But if you really feel strongly that your child should not have the teacher, then you should go ahead and make your request immediately. You might encounter some defensiveness from the school administration and from the teacher because you probably aren't the first or only parent to complain about the teacher.

If you decide to give the placement a chance, make sure that you keep a positive attitude about the teacher to your child. Do not transfer your doubts or any gossip about the teacher to your child. Take advantage of every opportunity to develop a good relationship with the teacher and to encourage your child to have a good year, even if it isn't perfect. Most of the time, things work out just fine.

But, if you begin to see signs of trouble you should document it. You will need concrete information to present to the school administration if things don't work out. Our children are our first priority; and if the situation is preventing a child from learning, we have the right and responsibility to approach the teacher and the school administration with our concerns.

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