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Request for Teacher Ignored
Q: We requested a specific teacher for our fourth-grader, but the request was ignored. We believe that some type of right should be created to afford such parental input. What should we do?
Also, our child was placed into an inclusive class. One-fourth of the children have learning disabilities. The teacher claims that she will teach the students at three levels: SLD students, middle level and high level. It seems to us that this is a bit much for the teacher to undertake. What are your thoughts?
A: Only a very few schools give parents a real opportunity to select their children's teachers -- most don't. Realistically, it's almost impossible to grant this type of request since there is always the possibility of everyone wanting the same teacher. At your daughter's school, have other parents had requests for a certain teacher honored? Is this an unofficial school policy? If so, for the very best chance to have your daughter get a certain teacher in the future, make your request in the spring before students are assigned to teachers.
In schools where parents have some voice in selecting teachers for their children, it is usually just to describe the type of teacher they want for their child. Your best chance to get this type of policy implemented is to work with the parent-teacher association.
Today, almost every elementary school classroom will have some students with learning disabilities because of federal legislation requiring that their needs be met in the "least restrictive environment." And whether or not there are students with learning disabilities, every classroom has students with a wide range of abilities.
How well inclusion will work in your daughter's classroom depends greatly on the attitude and skills of the teacher. It sounds like this teacher believes inclusion will work, which is absolutely essential. If she also has the knowledge and skills to adapt the curriculum and her instructional methods according to the students' needs, this year should be a success for your daughter and all the other students in her class.
You should visit your daughter's classroom to see how well inclusion is working. Inclusion can be pushed to such extremes that it adversely affects the learning of all the students in a classroom.
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Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.