Who Did Ya Get?

Think back to your elementary school days.  Do you remember the feelings you experienced when you learned who your new teacher was each year?  Do you recall the excitement of finding out you were in the same class as your best bud Johnny or your BFF Janey?  Interestingly, I was never placed in a class with my neighbor and good friend Kurt.  To this day, I think my parents were in cahoots with the school to keep it that way (which was probably a good idea!)  Back in the day, the infamous class assignment letter came in the mail just before school started.  For days we would stare out the window waiting for the mail to arrive.  The anticipation was incredible for a nine year old.

As an elementary school principal, I have struggled with the timing of sending out the class assignments to families because of the high emotions this event brings out in children and sometimes their parents.  This yearly event is much anticipated in my school community.  Finding out who your new teacher is and which kids are in your class brings out many different emotions in kids.  Some are excited, others are anxious, some get angry and some get sad.

Some schools will tell the students who their next year’s teacher is on the last day of school in June.  Well, I do not let the cat out of the bag in June because I know that there are some children who will be disappointed in their class assignment.  These kids then spend the summer all pouty-faced, sad, and anxious about the upcoming school year while others spend the summer happy and excited.  The way I see it, all the students should experience the same level of anticipation throughout the summer.   (Plus, waiting until mid-August gives me more time to make changes or tweak the class lists before distributing them.)

I am interested in how and when other schools tell the students who their new teachers are.  I know that some schools mail the class assignments home, others post the lists on the school doors, and some require the parents to come to school and pay their fees in order to learn who their child’s teacher is for the school year (pretty clever, huh?)  We send our class lists via email in mid-August, about two weeks before school starts.

One thing I know for sure is that the telephone lines are burning up moments after the emails hit the computers.

How does your school handle this process?


2 thoughts on “Who Did Ya Get?

  1. We used to tell our elementary students on the last day of class and allow them to visit their new teacher for the next school year. For many of the reasons you mentioned, we changed this practice three years ago. Since our students start back to school the second week of August, our teachers send personal letters to their new students the last week of July. This gives me time to “tweak” class lists, evaluate achievement test data (returned in June), and it provides a much smaller window for the network of parents who try to micromanage the process.

  2. We used to send them out at the beginning of August (about three weeks before school started), but ran into problems a few years ago when two of our schools needed to add a section at the last minute and the lists had already gone out. Those principals had to individually call all of the families to explain the additional sections and ask parents if they would be interested in moving their child to the new class. You can probably imagine what many of the responses were.

    Our letters now go out the week before school starts to allow us time to add sections if we have a sudden spike in enrollment.

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