This year, it happened. We needed to request a change in my child’s classroom placement. Thankfully, the change was requested in a timely manner and the transition to a new classroom was seamless. Requesting a change in your child’s classroom placement can be tough, here are some ideas to help get started.
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Requesting a Change in Your Child’s Classroom Placement
My daughter went from dreading to looking forward to her day at school. As a parent, I ho-hummed about requesting a change in her teachers, but then realized that speaking up for her needs at school was what I had to do. Now that we are half way through the school year, I am SO glad we did.
How do You Know It’s Time to Request a Change to Your Child’s Classroom?
1. Your Child Doesn’t want to Go to School
The classroom placement for this year just wasn’t working for my grade school daughter. It started out ok. The new teacher was friendly, organized and enthusiastic. My daughter seemed to get along with her, but then things never really settled after the first few weeks of school. She was coming home frazzled, didn’t want to go to school, and was having a hard time making friends. It wasn’t like her and so we sat down and talked.
Some kids do not want to go to school for a variety of reasons from feeling frustrated with academic tasks to having friend issues. Talk to your child about what is making them unhappy. If they say, “I hate my teacher,” or “My teacher is mean.” Ask for examples. Keep in mind, you are hearing the kid-version of the story. E-mail or call for the teacher version.
Because of the grade levels schedule, my daughter was seeing one teacher for home room, another for reading, another for science and yet another for math. Add in all the special teachers (library, art, PE…) and she didn’t see one teacher for more than 90 minutes in a day. Which also meant, she didn’t see the same kids either. On top of that, she had to keep all her belongings in the homeroom class and stop there – like a locker- in between all the other classes. It felt like my 9 year old had the schedule of a middle schooler. When we really analyzed it, she had MORE transitions that a middle schooler.
My book-a-holic, straight A student hated school? WHAT? This mom knew, her daughters homeroom classroom needed to change.
2. You have scheduled a conference with your child’s teacher, made a plan, and things still haven’t gotten better.
The first thing we did was talked with the teacher about our concerns. She really listened and referred me to our school counselor. Because my daughter has a 504 plan, she arranged a meeting for her education team (all the teachers and school counselor) to discuss possible solutions. Even if your child does not have an IEP, Individualized Education Plan or 504 plan, you can always ask your school’s guidance counselor, curriculum director or principal to help set up a team meeting to discuss the educational needs of your child. (After the conference, plan, and no improvement)
3. A change in your child’s classroom placement should occur if your child’s learning is affected by a relationship with another child or adult.
This not getting along with a teacher, professional in the room, or peer may be causing inner turmoil. Looking at the facts, there are just times when 2 people do not work well together. It is my opinion that if a child does not feel emotionally safe at schools then we, as parents, must speak up and insist upon a change. I have seen parents remove children from the public school setting to homeschool due to these bad connections. Changing classrooms is always an option to consider too.
What to do when Your Child’s Classroom Placement Needs a Change
Tips for Requesting a Change in Your Child’s Classroom Placement
• Address the issue with your child. Do lots of listening.
• Address the issue with your child’s teacher via phone or e-mail.
• Schedule and in-person conference with your child’s teacher
• Make and follow a plan to solve the issue as a team (parent – child – teacher)
• Continue the dialog on a consistent basis. Do not wait weeks to let your child’s teacher know the current plan is not working.
• If the plan doesn’t work – Consider meeting with an extended education team. This team may include the guidance counselor, grade team leader, principal, curriculum director, behavior specialist, teacher, and parent.
• If it hasn’t already been brought to the table as an option, ask firmly, but kindly for a change in classroom placement. Can we consider changing my child’s classroom?
• As always, it is easier for me to sandwich the issue between positives. Say something nice about the current situation, then explain why it isn’t working and must change, then end with a positive, like how the new teacher will help your child do better in school.
In our case, my daughter’s entire team of teachers was in support of changing her homeroom classroom teacher. We were lucky in the fact our issue was not related to having a “mean teacher.” It made it so much easier to say, “Mrs. E is very sweet, welcoming, and organized, but the way my daughters’ schedule is set up, it severely affects her learning with so many transitions. I would like to propose that she moves into ___ or ___ homeroom. This change would eliminate 6 transitions and add 25 minutes to her learning day. “