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‘My child’s teacher is not the one I wanted’

School student unhappy about their teacherRight now, many families have children returning to school. It is a fairly stressful time in everyone’s lives.

Parents and kids … and teachers too!

For those returning to the same school as last year there can be the knowledge of which teacher will be assigned to what class.

The kids and their parents will be talking about ‘I hope I get Ms. S’ or ” Gee, I wouldn’t want my child to be in Mr J’s class” or “I wonder if my new teacher will be … nice, kind, bossy, give lots of homework”.

However, as a former K-6 principal I need to explain that the path to allocating kids to classes it is not always smooth, particularly in areas where population changes can affect school staffing numbers. Up or down.

So what to do about any problems with “my child’s teacher this year”?

In some schools, the principal may ask parents the year before to give reasons in writing for a particular class placement. This may always not be acceptable to the school’s organisation but you should have a say if you ask.

Some schools will let families know the year before which teachers will be on which grades/years but as I note above this can change too.

Be prepared that things may not work out exactly like you hoped as the parent of your child going back to school.

My 5 tips to help adjust when you don’t get the teacher you want

  1. It is a new year and not every child gets the teacher he/she wants. Think of it as a challenge to be met and to emerge from with the new skill of handling change well.
  2. Let time take its course – rather than ringing the school, rushing up there and making demands of the school principal – because it could work out better than you think. Over time, the majority of children adjust well.
  3. Chat with your child about how it feels and that this is perhaps just “one of those times where we do not always get what we want.” Your confidence will boost your child’s!
  4. Try not to let the matter of “not getting the teacher you wanted” grow into more than it could be by adding your concerns in presence of your child who will soak up your emotional reactions. In fact, if you can be positive yourself about the child’s teacher this will help the transition period.
  5. Give the situation a chance to settle down. The teacher may not have been your or your child’s ‘first choice’ but in the course of a year there can be much learned from this. Consider it practice in becoming resilient.

But what do you do if the situation is NOT working out for your child and you have major concerns about the effect on your child’s health, welfare and learning?

Make an appointment to speak to the school principal within the first few weeks (after allowing for the period of settling in) and put your concerns in writing before the meeting.

See your child’s doctor if you have health concerns and check out below for more information of schooling and issues with anxiety if that is a problem.

I do hope that the school year settles for your child and that together with the school, a great learning partnership grows!

Have your say:
What have you done when you haven't been happy about your child's class placement?
What do YOU think? Let us know.

Denyse Whelan

About Denyse Whelan

Denyse Whelan B.Ed. M.Ed. is a passionate and experienced K-6 educator who is newly retired. She loves sharing her knowledge gleaned over more than 4 decades via her blog called ...

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2 comments so far -

  1. I wasn’t fussed which teacher my daughter had this year. I trusted the school as to which class she was assigned to. They have more idea after the previous year of teaching her, than any preconceived idea I had.

    • Thanks for your comment! I felt the same way this year too. I don’t know enough about the teachers to pass judgement and I think you never quite can tell just how a teacher and child will connect – and which traits a teacher might have that could be just what your child needs. – BH Editor

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