Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Art of Requesting

It's that time of year again:  Time to submit teacher requests for the next school year.  I once believed requesting teachers was wrong.  I think I was too close to the issue; being a teacher I couldn't see the "big picture".  Then my view point changed when I had kids of my own.  My new viewpoint has some distinct points.  They are as follows:

1) All students/kids learn differently.  The learning style of the child should, if possible, line up with the teachers style of teaching.

2) Past experiences do matter.  If my oldest son had a specific teacher and we as parents built a strong trust and connection with the teacher, that would make a difference in how we, as parents, feel heading into a new school year.

3) By having a say in my child's teacher I have invested in that teacher.  Having a personal vested interest creates an embracing attitude and a stronger willingness to support the teacher.

These three reasons have shifted my thinking from believing that requests hurt schools to believing that requesting is an integral part of the educational process.  Even as I type this, I feel strongly compelled to explain what a true request should look like.

After years of looking at requests, I have found the best requests do a few things really well.  First, when requesting you need to describe your child.  Describe your child's strengths and weaknesses. Describe academic areas of struggle. Describe how your child learns best, and above all describe your child's personality.  I believe that personality is vital.  When I place students, I look very closely at personality.  Will the students personality conflict or collaborate?

Second, a good request will usually reference a couple of specific instances from the past year that worked really well or did not work well.  This may focus on behaviors more than academics.

Finally, as parents, try to describe the "type" of teacher that your child learns best from.  Stating a specific name (of teacher) can be okay if you are 100% sure which teacher will be there, but sometimes events occur that are out of our control.  If this happens it is best to have a description of the "type" of teacher rather than just a name.

Requesting is important, and I take this very serious.  I always put a lot of time and effort into it.  I look at boy/girl ratio, personalities, academics and behaviors.  On average it takes me multiple weeks to complete class lists.  I pride myself in knowing all students and in knowing all teachers.  I always find additional parent information helpful.  If you are unsure on a request, please feel free to contact me and ask me questions.  I'm more than willing to tell you who I believe would be the best fit.  I want all students to be safe, highly educated and to love learning.  This is why classroom placements are an important part of the process.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Friday, April 19th:  Hat Day all-students $1 to wear a hat in school
Monday, April 22nd - Thursday, April 25th:  Kindergarten Round-Up, 4pm-8pm at Parma El.
Monday, April 22nd: Earth Day (encourage your child to wear green)



ARTICLES WORTH READING:

3 Ways To Engage Students With Technology


Getting Involved In Your Child's School


Talking to Kids about Headline News



VIDEOS WORTH WATCHING:


Inspiring Video I shared with students in grades 3-5 last week.  (12 min)




Motivators and Rewards.  60 second parent tips.





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