Sometimes teachers have special skills that make them a good fit for certain students.

How to Request a Special Type of Teacher for Your Child

by Michelle McFarland-McDaniels

Parents typically want their children to have supportive teachers who relate well to their kids and foster a positive learning experience. As a result, teachers who have a reputation for being especially nurturing, making learning fun or producing high test scores generally have a large fan base of parents. School administrators are often reluctant to honor parents' requests for a special type of teacher unless a child has specific social or academic needs. However, under certain circumstances -- like when a child has specific needs that only a teacher who has specific training or credentials can meet -- administrators might decide to grant your request for a certain teacher.

1 Be a familiar face. Volunteer at the school. Attend school events. Chaperone field trips. Help out with fundraisers. Join the PTA. Being an involved parent will familiarize you with the lay of the land as well as earn you a reputation for being an involved, helpful parent that school administrators will want to keep happy. Further, administrators are much more inclined to honor a request from a person they know and who makes a favorable impression.

2 Check your school’s policy regarding requesting teachers. Some schools do not allow parents to request, while others encourage teacher requests. The Michigan State University Extension notes that schools that encourage teacher requests often provide parents with forms and/or sample letters of how to write an effective request.

3 Do your homework. You typically need a sound rationale for requesting a special type of teacher for your child. If your child has a disability or condition that necessitates a teacher with training in specific interventions, gather documentation from specialists to prove it. If your child has a medical or mental health issue that makes it imperative that his teacher have specialized credentials, obtain letters to that effect from his pediatrician or psychiatrist. Search teacher bios to identify teachers who have specialized education, training, skills or experience that make them uniquely qualified to meet your child's needs. Ask parents of children whose needs are similar to your child's to recommend teachers who are a good fit.

4 Prepare a strong case. When requesting a special type of teacher for your child, emphasize your child's needs as a learner. Be able to explain why your child needs a special type of teacher, as well as why a certain kind of teacher is equipped to meet your child's needs. Be able to discuss how your child will benefit educationally from having teacher who has specific skills or experience. Base your request on facts and documentation. Administrators are much more likely to grant requests that are based on sound reasoning and solid evidence.

5 Put it in writing. If your child's school doesn't provide forms to make a request or doesn't have a policy in place for making teacher requests, write a polite, professional letter to the school's principal. State your child's needs and describe the professional characteristics of the type of teacher who you feel is best equipped to meet those needs. End your letter by asking for an opportunity to discuss your concerns in person.

Items you will need

  • Documentation of your child's needs

Tips

  • Approach school administration in a positive and respectful manner.
  • Don't provide frivolous reasons for wanting a certain type of teacher.
  • Don't present an intimidating or threatening demeanor.
  • Don't make negative comments about any teachers.

About the Author

Michelle McFarland-McDaniels has been writing professionally since 1983. She has written for a variety of online publications including BET.com and MSNBC.com, as well as "College Outlook" and "San Diego Family" magazines. McFarland-McDaniels holds master's degrees in African-American literature and education.

Photo Credits

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