|Image from here|
Yesterday I fired my OB. The uneasy feeling every time I saw him could not be dismissed and I figured now was better than later. His lack of concern for my well-being, his nonchalant attitude about having twins, his lack of communication all led to this decision and after I made it, I was relieved. Sure I have to start with a brand-new OB at 16 weeks, but I think it is worth it. So why do I share this bit of info? Because I couldn't stop thinking about how much it had to do with the role a teacher plays in a child's life. In fact, a child's teacher is one of the only things we have absolutely no say in as parents, one of the only areas in our life we are left without a voice.
In America, a child is assigned a classroom teacher at the elementary level and that teacher is the biggest educational influence that year. Parents have usually no say in who that teacher is and have to place their faith in the hands of the previous grade level teachers and the principal. Sure they can ask for a placement but I wonder how many principals actually honor it? Now don't get me wrong, I can understand why every single parent doesn't get to pick their teacher -talk about a popularity contest - but still, shouldn't there be room for some sort of input? After all, that teacher can make or break the future of this child's education and ultimate fulfillment in life.
Most of the time the placement of the child works seamlessly and there are no parent complaints, but sometimes it fails. Sometimes the teacher's style of teaching, of communicating, of caring for that child flies in the face of what the parent believes in and that uneasy feeling crops up. Sometimes a principal is involved, sometimes, the parent just sucks it up and hopes for a better one next year. But is this right? Should parents have to wait a whole year to get to a new teacher? Shouldn't they be able to have a say in what type of teacher their child gets at the very least? The type of nurturer and mind-shaper they think will benefit their child.
I think one of our downfalls in our schools is that we think we are the only child-experts. That because we have taught for amount of years we know what is best for children even if a parent doesn't agree. I think that needs to change. We need to allow parent input in placement, ask them about communication style, about homework and classroom management, ask them what type of environment their child will flourish in and then place that child accordingly. Don't make it about the teacher; make it about the child and allow for choice in this sacred cow of the American school system. I fired my OB, why can't parents at least decide who gets hired for their child?