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Warning Signals: How to Know When It's Time to Change Your Child's Teacher

By Chick Moorman

"Your child is not taking a year of third grade with Miss Karnes or a year of biology with Mr. Gonzales. Your child is taking a year of Miss Karnes for third grade and a year of Mr. Gonzales for biology." --- Chick Moorman

Are you wondering if it's time to change your child's teacher? Consider the following criteria: Five Warning Signals That It Might Be Time to Change Teachers

1.) Ridicule and sarcasm are inexcusable. So is shaming a child in front of the classroom. Examples of shaming are writing a child's name on the board, keeping the entire class in for recess because two students didn't get ready in time, and making an example of a child who made a poor behavioral choice. If your child's teacher exhibits these behaviors, remove the child now.

2.) Watch out for teachers who overemphasize a rote learning style. These teachers usually ask recall questions. They usually require students to memorize facts and answers to trivial questions that eventually give the child a quiz-show notion of what education is all about.

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3.) Be wary of teachers who teach your child what to think instead of how to think. Most of their questions have right or wrong answers, and the teachers always know the right answers. No emphasis on higher-level thinking skills is evident in these teachers' classrooms.

4.) Consider a change if your child's teacher makes students wrong for their actions. Extraordinary teachers (Spirit Whisperers) hold students accountable for their actions, but they don't make them wrong for those actions. Your child is not wrong, bad, or lazy if he or she forgot to bring a library book back on the correct day. An effective teacher would make your child someone who didn't get to check out a new book until the late one was returned, but such a teacher would not make your child wrong.

5.) Be concerned if you see excessive use of stars, stickers, and smiley faces to bribe children to perform. This extrinsic reward system discourages children from learning to learn for learning's sake. The continued use of extrinsic rewards causes children to become outwardly motivated rather than to develop internal motivation. By middle school, students who have been continually bribed with rewards respond to teacher assignments with, "What do we get?"

© Chick Moorman
Chick Moorman is the author of "Parent Talk: How To Talk To Your Child In Language That Builds Self-Esteem and Encourages Responsibility," and "Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish A Child's Spirit." (Personal Power Press, toll free, 877-360-1477.) He publishes FREE E-newsletters for parents and educators. Contact him ( to get your free subscription to one or both newsletters. Visit his site at!


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