It was lovely to wake today and see my Facebook newsfeed full of tiny kids with oversized backpacks and large school hats. Neatly pressed uniforms on kids wearing big smiles with their parents grins even wider. The kindy mums were easy to spot with their large sunglasses to hide the tears.
So it is fitting that today for the final day of Off to School we go 2015 series #offtoschoolwego2015 that we talk about classes. Where our kids spend their time is important!
The first day of school has finally arrived (Friday in our household) and what a milestone it is.
This afternoon my news feed was full of parents picking up in wet weather situations and the inevitable praise to the school class gods or lamentations offered up for the teacher their child has received.
I agree that the classroom learning environment is important for the child. I believe it is equal to the parents and teacher working in partnership to support the child in reaching their full potential.
Parents can get very upset when they discover the class their child has been placed in. Rightly or wrongly parents hold very strong opinions on this topic and children are very sensitive to our emotions. So today I wanted to chat through some different scenarios.
My child doesn’t have a new teacher yet?
This can be a very common scenario particularly in schools where the student population numbers vary widely. Rather than place children in with a teacher they don’t know, with different classmates, schools keep kids in what is known as a holding pattern. This can last for a fortnight in some schools. During this time concepts from the previous year can be revised and assessments carried out to determine new levels for the academic year. When the numbers are settled and staffing organised all students change at the same time. This system also allows principals to take into consideration any requests from parents
My child loves their new teacher
Fantastic – enjoy 2015!
My child hates their new teacher
Teachers will have different personalities. Some will have loud voices, others softly spoken. Some will be new from uni and others closer to retirement. There are as many different teachers as there are colours. However they all have your child’s best interests at heart and a professional responsibility to assist your child in reaching their full developmental potential. Parents need to remember that teachers generally come to work each day with the best of intentions and want to see your child succeed – just like you do!
My child is in a composite class
Schools form composite classes for numerous reasons with the most common being numbers. Some schools choose the students based on academic results with kids needing revision or extension, some are formed to split children with behaviour issues across the grade while some are down to maintain peer friendship groups or place siblings in different rooms. Even in a single year level class eg year 3 there will be a range of abilities. Teachers will need to differentiate in a regular classroom to meet student need and therefore this will be no different in a composite class.
If your child is in a composite class then yes of course feel free to enquire about why your child was selected for the class. Feel free to ask about student groupings for any class your child is placed in. Schools should be comfortable being transparent with parents. Parents need to understand that teachers may not be able to discuss other children.
My child is in with a child I specifically asked him/her to be separated from
This is a situation which understandably makes parents skin boil. Perhaps you feel like you put up with a less than ideal situation last year and this year you are not putting up with it again. Sound familiar?
Firstly I would ask whether you met with the school regarding issues with this student. If you have had contact regarding your concerns then it is less likely that they will be overlooked.
My recommendation would be to move swiftly on the issue. Book and appointment to speak with the Stage leader or the principal. Do not be brushed aside or told to see how the year pans out. Request action be taken and promptly so that your child can be settled quickly into a better learning environment.
Outline your concerns from previous years and from there either a) request your child be moved or b) that a plan of action be established to ensure the same issues are not repeated. If you are not satisfied with the way the manner is dealt with then you have the option to take the matter further or remove your child.