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requesting teacher switch

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Okay, it's "only" preschool, but after spending an hour with my ds in his new preschool today, I am trying to gather my courage to call the director and request a switch to the other classroom. I can do this, right? I know there is room in the other class because enrollment is still open.

I had a few reservations about putting ds in this preschool, but with other options limited for various reasons I decided to go ahead earlier this summer when I was checking out schools. So today was the first day and it was a "mommy & me" orientation day. The teacher is a brand-new teacher who just got her teaching degree a few months ago, having switched from another profession about which she bad-mouthed her experience. While I certainly value that she has an education degree, she really.really.really doesn't have the first clue about interacting with 4yo's and not a whole lot of friendliness or enthusiasm. I could go on and on (just talked dh's ear off) about what I observed in just an hour, but let's just say I have absolutely no confidence that this will be fun preschool classroom for ds, and that's all I really want for him to get from this experience. I haven't observed the other teacher in the classroom, but I've met her & liked her and even if she is not a talented teacher I can't imagine that it would be any worse, and her classroom is slightly nicer as well.

I'm nervous about calling the director, but I feel like I'm paying enough for this school (not Montessori rates, but definitely more than the local going rate) that it is a reasonable request given that spaces are available. Can I get a reality check? I understand that all teachers have to gain experience somewhere but I don't have to accept that at the cost of my 4yo's preschool experience, right? I'm also worried because I don't have another good option lined up if the director says no.
post #2 of 11
I'd give it more than 1 hour before deciding she's horrible. This is her first teaching day ever, she was probably just as nervous as the kids, especially with the parents there too.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Nervous - not a problem, I totally understand that! I'm actually really forgiving of nervousness because I do public programs for parents & little kids too and I'm always nervous the first day of the session. I really don't even mind the lack of experience that much. But not demonstrating that you can talk to 4yo's in an age-appropriate manner with friendliness and enthusiasm is another matter. Not realizing that calling preschoolers over for circle time and making a big deal about sitting and listening, then promptly switching gears to talk exclusively to parents in adult language once you have the 4yos ready & waiting. I don't know, my instincts are just telling me this isn't going to be good. This is my 4th year of having a child in preschool with teachers ranging widely in personality, so I hope I'm not just being "that parent" but maybe I am. I've never made any kind of special teacher request for any of my kids before.

Anybody else made a change request like this at the beginning of the year?
post #4 of 11
Quote:
But not demonstrating that you can talk to 4yo's in an age-appropriate manner with friendliness and enthusiasm is another matter.
what is age appropriate friendliness & enthusiasm?

Quote:
Not realizing that calling preschoolers over for circle time and making a big deal about sitting and listening, then promptly switching gears to talk exclusively to parents in adult language once you have the 4yos ready & waiting.
What is adult language?

Personally I've always talked to kids & adults with the same language. What was she saying that you feel shouldn't have been said to the parents with the kids there?
post #5 of 11
If you're an experienced preschool parent, I would listen to your gut. Seriously, call the director. What do you have to lose, especially if you KNOW there's space? This is not public elementary -- you're paying for this!

I'd probably say, 'You know, I was so excited when I met teacher B last year. She was so __ and __ and yadda yadda. I am just wondering if there's any chance that DS could move into her classroom? I would really appreciate it."

I wouldn't say anything negative about the current teacher unless the director seems unresponsive -- then I might go that direction.

Good luck!
-e
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
CarrieMF, thanks for prodding me to think this through.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
what is age appropriate friendliness & enthusiasm?
"I'm happy to have you in my class!" Smiles. Engaging kids in simple personal conversation to get to know something about them on the first day. Listening to what a kid has to say & echoing back their statements in a reply or in a reply that furthers the conversation to show the child that s/he has been heard. (None of which I saw.)

Also age-appropriate direction & communication - at one point she began giving directions about the next activity in a quiet voice from one corner of the room to kids who were engrossed in play in another area without getting their attention first. I didn't even notice she was talking to them until halfway through her directions.

Quote:
What is adult language?

Personally I've always talked to kids & adults with the same language. What was she saying that you feel shouldn't have been said to the parents with the kids there?
She gathered the kids for circle time and told a story about the magic glue that keeps kids from wiggling when they are on the carpet (good creativity), but then once she had their attention she promptly launched into a talk to the parents about how she has recently completely her degree and switched to education as her second career because in her previous career in social work she became burned out & ineffective. Not bad info to share with parents, but the magic glue wore off pretty quickly for the kids waiting in the circle.


LuckyMommaToo, yes, that's what I thought about elementary vs. preschool. I would never request a classroom change in elementary without dramatic reason on the first day, because the circumstances are so different - but I'm paying for my son to go have fun at preschool!
post #7 of 11
Go ahead and call now before other parents all make the same request and take up all the open slots in the other room.
post #8 of 11
I think you need to cut her some slack. It's really hard to have parents in your room when things are new. I'd give it a few days. I'm always stiffer during orientation days than I am for the whole rest of the year.
post #9 of 11
Your DSs first school is too important "to cut her some slack". I would ask for a transfer immediately. Being able to talk to and connect with the kids is very important. I would rather my DD not go to preschool than have an ineffective teacher at age 4.
post #10 of 11
Heck, I'm a teacher and I've been there, awkward and unsure, ESPECIALLY if I was being observed by anyone... and I say switch your kid asap. It's not your or your kid's job to help out this new teacher. Someone's always got to have the new teacher; that's how they become great experienced teachers! But you have no responsibility to be that someone, not if you have a feeling, have the chance to switch, and are paying!
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
I talked with the director tonight about my concerns and asked for a switch, and she pushed back pretty hard for a two-week trial period and reconsidering a switch after that. She and I went back and forth for about 15 minutes and I couldn't get her to budge, and since I don't have an alternative lined up, I agreed. I'm bummed, because I think switching after a few weeks is going to be much harder than right at the beginning, and I really don't anticipate that my opinion is going to change, although I'm going to do my best to be open to the possibility. What really annoyed me is that when wrapping up our conversation after I agreed to a trial is that she said "We try to hire teachers with different personalities so that every family can find the right match with us." Duh! Why do you think I'm asking for a switch? To find a better match for my child. Grr. I'm just going to be prepared to quote that back to her if things don't look dramatically different than on the first day.

I'm feeling sad about this because the preschool ds attended last year had a much richer play environment than this one, and I was hoping that a good teacher would help make up for that difference. It's really my own fault for not trusting my own judgement - I specifically asked to meet the 4yo teacher before registering (that's by far the most important aspect of preschool to me), and was told it wasn't possible because they don't assign teachers to classes until right before school. The director talked a good game about their (her) philosophy and I decided to take a chance and register anyway without meeting the teacher. I might take this two weeks to call around other places but I think this school was our best bet. Bummed.
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