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Requesting a specific teacher for the next school year.

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My son is currently in kindergarten. At the school he attends parents are allowed to request teachers (at least this is what I was told by his current teacher). I have been asking other parents who have older kids about the first grade teachers. It is hard to ask specific questions without sounding like I am bragging. What I really want to know is if the first grade teachers have different reading groups based on reading ability, so my son who is a reader will be able to read something at his level. I also would love it if he got more challenging math work, too. He entered kindergarten reading at a second grade level, and it seems like he rarely meets with the teacher to read, and rarely gets independent reading time. Overall it has worked out, and kindergarten has a been a great experience for him. After asking several parents, I plan on requesting a specific teacher. His kindergarten teacher said the first grade teacher I mentioned would be a good match but I have the idea the teachers are discouraged from commenting about other teachers, so if it isn't a good match I don't think she would say so. My only concern is that if I request this teacher and it isn't a good match, I am going to kick myself all year for requesting her.


Anyone else want to share your experience requesting specific teachers?

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We had the option to request either teachers or other students in the class next year. I didn't but wish I had. A friend did but unfortunately the teacher quit over the holidays. It worked out OK but it was a rocky start for the year. I will be asking next year and will be specifying a different teacher at all costs.


Systems vary but I would expect reading groups or not to be a general policy not dependant on the teacher?

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more ideas - if you can find a parent with an accelerated student, even - or especially - if they're now in older grades, ask them which teacher they'd recommend. You might also ask the principal, which may or may not help, depending on whether they "get it." If you have the opportunity, you might even speak with the first grade teachers individually - while most of them will probably say that sure, they differentiate, you might get a vibe one way or the other. If there is a gifted pull-out for older gifted kids, call the coordinator and ask who they'd recommend for first grade.


I agree with the PP that reading ability groups are probably a school thing rather than teacher-specific. As there is a wide range of normal for reading level in K-1, math tends to be a more difficult issue to handle going forward if your student is accelerated in that subject as well.

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A few times, I have requested a certain kind of teacher to match my kid's personality - never a specific teacher. I leave it in the hands of the current teacher. We have been happy each time.


I think you'll find a difference between K and 1st. Was K half a day for your son? That's not much time for anything. And most kids that age aren't reading independently because, well, many can't yet read. And, for those kids, gaining the stamina to read silently is a hurdle to overcome. Things usually kick up a notch in 1st grade.


In our school, there are reading groups according to levels. I actually couldn't imagine a school that doesn't. There is such a difference in abilities at that age - some struggling, some very advanced. While my kids' teachers had a decent class library, I had them bring books from home. That way, they weren't reading much twaddle. I highly recommend that as an option. When it comes to reading, as long as your kid has a good, quality book in his hands, there is no need to have much teacher input. She will likely be more concerned about a struggling reader than a good reader.


Math is also difficult to accelerate in a school setting, especially at that age. You'll be better off doing that at home. Do you know what program the school uses? At dd's school, kids accelerated in math are now pulled out, starting in 4th grade. This occurs after special testing. I am sure this varies from school to school. I do like the wapiti's idea of contacting the gifted teacher, not only for teacher recommendations, but for enrichment opportunities.

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I guess it doesn't hurt to try, but if you do, you'll want to know as much as you can about the teacher you're requesting.


IME, it never worked. I also knew parents who tried and one who even cried (!!) on the phone trying to get different teachers but no can do. The schools assigned kids to particular teachers and parents dealt with it. For us, it was especially difficult when my kids had a teacher who probably should not have been around kids at all. Ugh. A couple years were awful.


If you want to find out whether your school truly offers differentiated instruction, as opposed to lip service, try asking other parents with older kids as others here have suggested. IME with our youngest, schools sometimes said one thing but the reality was quite different. For example, our youngest attended a public suburban school for a few years that was rated well, but differentiation was given to the children whose parents squeaked the most. I didn't care anyway because I felt that the material they used was of poor quality and mostly busywork. The Catholic school was no better. That is why we began afterschooling. On the other hand, our two older kids attended a gifted magnet school in Chicago that really did do a good job challenging each child. Kids did not get in because Mommy and Daddy were connected, either, so the students could honestly handle the academics. (Over 800 students compete for about 35 slots.) I wish we would have remained in the city and put our youngest in there. We had to do a lot of afterschooling in his younger years.


I do like my son's high school, however, thankfully. I don't think I'd want to afterschool that. :p

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