TALK BACK: a good teacher?

A few weeks ago, we asked readers to pose their own "talk back" questions. Mama reader Sandy Toes suggested this week's talk back:

How do you know if your child has a good teacher? And how do you respond if you child does not have a good teacher?


  1. Great question! As a teacher and a mom I should have the answer, but I don't. Here is what I would use to judge.
    -Does it seem like the teacher cares about my child.
    -What is my child learning?
    -Is the teacher working with me as the parent to be a team for my child?
    -Does my child enjoy school?
    One of the best thing parents can do is to be in their child's classroom helping out and observing.

  2. This one hits close to home for me. I have to say that we have not loved our son's teacher this year. This is the first time that I've faced a teacher who lacks organization, lacks compassion, and seems to have unfair expectations of students. There were a lot of little things that I let slide at the beginning of the year. I don't like confrontation, and would like not to consider myself a nit-picker or finger-pointer, so I decided to err on the side of graciousness. Unfortunately for us, I think it really has been an error to let some of the things go. Now, near the end of the school year, with a well-established pattern of unfortunate events, I feel compelled to say something to someone about it. The dilemma for me is that I'm not sure with whom to speak. I can't decide if it would be right for me to confront the teahcer directly or if I should go to the school principal. While, in personal relationships, I would almost always say that it is best to deal directly with a person regarding an offense, I fear that with a situation like this I may be fueling an already unfair bias that this teacher has against my child by doing so. It's been a bummer of a school year for us (however, it really has afforded opportunity for us to teach our son about perseverance, hard work, forgiveness and grace when things don't seem fair - difficult but invaluable lessons). If anyone has some sage words to offer or some pointed direction, I'd love to hear it. I'll be watching follow-up comments closely. :)

  3. My oldest is only going on four, but so far, for daycare and preschool, I have asked him a lot of questions. Not weird-trying-to-discover-problems questions, but just simple daily questions. Communication with the kiddo is key, as in most things.

    And I think if your child loves school, the teacher is probably doing a good job. If they're unkind or intolerant, your child most likely won't be too happy.

    As for learning...I have no clue :)

  4. Wish I knew the answer to these questions! I think if my child is happy in the classroom and the teacher truely seems to like him that goes a long way. My kids are only four and six, so it's hard for me to judge a teacher based on what they have learned during the year. One good sign is if my child is discovering new interests through school. For example, my youngest now wants to learn all about volcanos, and igneous rocks are his "most favorite" rocks. The teacher must have some enthusiasm that she's passing on, and she's providing resources for him to continue to be interested and learn about this topic.

    I don't know what to do if your child doesn't have a good teacher. Seems to me that there aren't a lot of options. Things like homeschooling, moving to a different district or switching classrooms are not easy changes to make. And a parent trying to get a poor teacher to become a good one doesn't seem to work out very often...

  5. I used to be a 3rd grade teacher and communication was HUGE for me! It is crucial to have the parent, teacher, and student on the same page!

  6. To theinnermostbox,

    I am an educator and my advice to you is to write a letter to both the teacher and administrator. (The same letter, just cc the teacher or administrator.) I would express your concerns. If you feel this way so does someone else. You are the only advocate your child has for his/her education. If you don't speak up, who will??? Protect your child!! Also you don't want the same thing happening to someone else. Be brave!! I know from 10 years of experience that at a school the "squeaky wheels" get listened to. I know it is sad, but its the way it is. Good luck!! And be a mama bear and protect your child always!


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