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As A Teacher, I Plea To All Parents -- Don’t Interfere With Class Selection

While classroom Elves on the Shelf are hiding and paper chains and tinsel adorned decorations are being created, it is also that time of the school year where change is in the air.

December is usually the period in most primary schools where new classes are created and announced.

For many children, this often means being split up from some of their classmates of the year just gone. Sometimes, unfamiliar teachers are also revealed for the upcoming year. 

This news is often met with a feeling of discontent, tears, insecurity, anxiety, frustration and sometimes even anger from children and on occasion, their parents. 

Being from both a teaching background and now, a parental background, I can empathise with both sides of the class selection process. I feel for those impacted by a class choice that maybe isn’t one of preference -- whether it is related to the students in the class or the teacher who will be educating your child.

Shona Hendley. Image: Supplied

But what I can say whole heartedly is that -- 99 per cent of the time, parents need to step back and not interfere with the class or teacher selection process, no matter how unfair it may seem. 

Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, such as when it comes to students who may have faced bullying, have learning difficulties, or physical and emotional conditions. 

While these have different considerations, for the most part, there is absolutely no need for a parent to become involved in who will teach their child or who is or isn't in their child’s class.  

Ultimately, parental involvement in this usually quite attuned school process is not helpful for anyone involved. Especially for their own child who they are trying to help. In fact, sometimes it isn’t even for their child’s benefit that is driving them to become involved at all, rather their own. 

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I have seen cases where mothers have demanded their children be in class together so they can keep their social situation tight knit, with pick up and drop offs in the same location and excursions at the same time. On one occasion, this was despite their children not actually getting along. 

While this was a small minority, the truth remains the same. There is usually a reason behind why classes have been chosen in the particular way and this needs to be respected. Even if the outcome isn’t the one the student (or the parents) had hoped for. 

Although seemingly a huge deal at the time, ultimately it will all be okay, perhaps even more than okay. I know because as a parent, I too have been in this situation. 

Last year my own daughter was separated from her two best friends, the two she had told her teacher were her preference to go into Year One with. While many other of her classmates moved into the next year level with at least one of their preferences, she did not. 

Shona with her two daughters. Image: Supplied

At the time I did wonder why this was the case, but I chose to let it beAnd I am so glad that I did. You see, this year as my daughter has grown and developed so incredibly much on a personal and social level because of this decision.   

While she has remained friends with those from her class the year before, playing with them when she sees them in the playground and inviting them to her birthday, she has also made a handful of other beautiful friendships.

She shares these with boys an girls she most likely wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been for her being allocated into this particular class with these particular class mates. With her new friends she has learnt different things, faced new dynamics and personalities and negotiated her way through it all.

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By facing a change that was not what she had hoped for, my daughter was able to learn an array of new skills that she would not have developed without it. And that is the thing with change, you are faced with perhaps not deal circumstances.

You are forced to navigate through them and from that you learn new skills, make new and even stronger relationship and become empowered with the knowledge that you can do anything if you set your mind to it.  

In a week’s time her Year Two class will be revealed, as too will my youngest daughter’s. While I have no idea who either will find as their new teacher or their new classmates, I know that it will all work out.

With change, there are new skills to develop and challenges to overcome.  

Featured image: Supplied