As the school year draws to an end many parents are furiously seeking out info on their child's potential teachers for next year. It's not uncommon to see three or more moms or dads with their heads down sharing "secrets" about why one teacher is far better or far worse than another. Don't get drawn into the frenzy and try to remember that:
Teachers, like children, do not and should not come in cookie cutter styles
Just like every child is different, every teacher can be too. And it is that very difference that allows good teachers to successfully interact with the various learners who fill their classrooms. While some teachers are outgoing and gregarious, others are quiet or more reserved. Do not equate personality styles with knowledge or teaching ability. You might be surprised. Sometimes it is the quiet teacher who makes a child feel less threatened and more willing to engage. Likewise, the more demonstrative teacher may be the stimulus that your child actually needs to be fully motivated. Do not impose your personal assumptions regarding the teacher; give your child a chance to establish their own connection.
A great teacher for one child might be the worst teacher for another child
Too often parents are concerned when their child does not get the same teacher that a brother or sister had. Don't assume that the school year will be a bust just because your child did not get the teacher that you wanted. In truth, that teacher. may actually be the wrong teacher for your child. Why? Because within the same family, kid's personalities & learning styles can be dissimilar and require differentiation in teaching methodologies. In most schools teachers and principals work hard to create classrooms where student needs and teacher instructional styles match. Don't go charging into the principal's office just yet. Some of the most successful school years unfold when kids make connections with a teacher that parents had originally deemed unacceptable.
One far less popular fact to remember is that school is supposed to prepare children for life. Kids are sure to run into a future teacher, camp leader or boss that they don’t much care for. As part of the growing process, children need to learn how to successfully interact with all types of personalities. Keep an open conversation going with your child if you have concerns that this year's teacher is not a match made in heaven. And then give both the teacher and your child a chance to succeed.
Getting the "new teacher" does not equate to getting the short end of the stick
Brand new teachers can bring a sense of excitement and a strong desire to make a difference to a school site. They are often coming off their "college high", filled with enthusiasm and ready to share. Yes, they are new to your school scene and may be somewhat inexperienced. However, don't sell them short. A new teacher who is willing to learn and ready to get involved can breathe life to a classroom. Partnering with this new teacher will help make both your child's and the teacher's school year far more enjoyable.
With age can come insights and experience
Experienced teachers can provide incredible support for parents and students alike. After working with many different children, with diverse educational needs, an experienced teacher can provide both balance and support for both you and your child. As a principal, I often placed certain children with my more experienced teachers knowing that the needs of this child and their parent would be better addressed here. Just because your teacher is not the newest number on the block does not mean that they aren't the perfect match for your child. If your child gets a "seasoned" teacher this fall, seek them out for all of the knowledge and experience they have earned over the years. Make it a win-win.
Avoid the gossip mongers and establish your own story
Rumors about teachers, principals and schools abound wherever parents gather to talk. And, unfortunately, once a story begins, no matter how incorrect it may be, it can quickly become accepted as fact. It's important for every parent and child to establish their own relationship with the teacher. Believing rumors or pre-judging teachers based on gossip is a sure way to lose out on a potentially wonderful opportunity for both you and your child.