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POLL: Do you as a parent, pull strings as a teacher?

Heather Wolpert-Gawron Middle School teacher by day, Tweenteacher by night

Each year, parents from the Board of Education and the PTA make appointments to see the principal to secretly secure the “best” teachers for their kids for the school year. For years you’ve shaken your head at the practice, scoffing at the helicopter parenting that sometimes makes for a student who doesn’t know how to make the best out of any classroom…that is, before you had your own kids.

Look, as a teacher, you know the ins and outs of a school better than anyone. And for those of us who are also parents, this can, at times, be both a challenge and a blessing. After all, you have a unique perspective as a parent advocate because you have all the insider knowledge. You know all the drama going on in the faculty lounge, and you know those teachers who bust their butt and those who don’t.

So now here comes your own kid up through the ranks, and the question is this: is it time to make your own appointment to see the principal?

Do you, as a teacher-parent use your pull to choose the teachers for your own student?

YES It is my job to be an advocate for my child, and if I have insider knowledge about some teachers, I intend to use it.

NO Even though I have my own opinions, my student has to make his own. Let the chips fall as they may.

Comment below, and thanks for participating!

Comments (9)

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5th grade teacher in Delaware

YES It is my job to be an

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YES It is my job to be an advocate for my child, and if I have insider knowledge about some teachers, I intend to use it.
I did this for both my kids until they reached middle school. I think all parents should advocate for their kids, not just teachers.
Here's a question. What should teachers do when parents ask them for a recommendation? Should we keep quiet or help that parent who is trying to do what's best for their child?

Special Ed English teacher, Anchorage, Alaska

I don't ask for schedule

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I don't ask for schedule changes unless I have serious concerns about a teacher. Since my boys entered high school, I ask them if they want me to talk to the counselor or their teacher. In one case, when my older son was being bullied, I offered to have him transferred. He declined, stating that he liked the class, and he shouldn't be the one who had to change. In another case involving my younger son, the teacher, my son and I all decided that he should transfer to another class. My sons feel that their concerns have been addressed, and they have learned to advocate for themselves.

Special Ed English teacher, Anchorage, Alaska

As a special ed teacher, I am

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As a special ed teacher, I am often called upon for advise about different teachers. I usually talk with the counselors about teachers who are "friendly" to spec ed kids, or who have worked with me with some of my special kiddos.

Science/Math Teacher

Parent of an autistic child

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I used to believe that students need to learn how to deal with difficult people as well as learning academics. Until it was MY child's 4th grade teacher that refused to read the IEP or honor accommodations. Now, I separate my teacher self and my parent self. I am a very diplomatic teacher. But I am a very parentish tiger...I mean, tigerish parent. It is the PARENT responsibility to advocate for his/her child. Having inside information only makes me a better parent. The learning environment should be safe. Children can learn about how to deal with difficult people with the guidance of a good teacher and plenty of difficult peers to practice on.

Third grade, Spanish immersion teacher from San Francisco

It's not just finding the

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It's not just finding the "best". For me, it's about finding the best fit for my child's personality and the teacher's. I've had fellow teachers tell me that a student would work well with me based on my teaching style and I've appreciated this. If I had insight about a teacher, I would definitely use this to support my child.

parent, school & community volunteer, teacher from SC

While there can be excellent

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While there can be excellent reasons for a parent to influence an administrator's choice of teacher, I have always refused to step into that selection process, even when asked once by a principal which class I thought my child would learn best in. Why? 2 reasons: I don't know my child at school the way the teachers and administrators do. I only know who I think he is, and as a teacher, I know that gap between belief and truth can be very wide. Also, my child needs to learn the flexibility to succeed in all kinds of classroom. I do realize however that our family has been very fortunate: we've always been able to trust the school administrators to have hired good teachers (even if I disagree with them sometimes) and to have my child's best interests at heart in every decision they made.

Elementary Librarian

I haven't felt a need to ask

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I haven't felt a need to ask for/against a particular teacher for my child. We've been fortunate to live in two school districts in two states that have been wonderful. I've had the utmost respect for the teachers at the schools. That said, I can definitely see that there would be cases where it would be a good idea for the student and the teacher involved for the parent to speak up ahead of time. Some students just learn and behave better in certain environments. As a fellow staff-member we may have "insider" knowledge about a teacher's style and knowing our children, we may know that it wouldn't be a good mix. That's not saying that another teacher is awful, it's just recognizing different styles of teaching and learning.

"Why? 2 reasons: I don't know

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"Why? 2 reasons: I don't know my child at school the way the teachers and administrators do. I only know who I think he is, and as a teacher, I know that gap between belief and truth can be very wide."

What GREAT INSIGHT as both a parent and teacher. I hope other parents out there here/read/digest this.

Thanks.

The above quote was from a

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The above quote was from a previous quote from Carol.

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