happy student on the playgroundA new school year is just around the corner and soon you will be placing your child in the care of a teacher with whom he will spend 180 days out of the next 9 months with. How do you know the person you are entrusting with your offspring is a good teacher? Schools are filled with teachers both good and bad and it is your responsibility as a parent to be able to tell the difference to ensure that your child is placed the best classroom possible.

A good teacher is well prepared and organized. She creates weekly and monthly lesson plans and posts her daily learning objectives. She keeps portfolios on all of her students and makes them available for parent viewing.

A not so good teacher flies by the seat of her pants. She isn't prepared for what is taking place in the classroom on a daily basis, and if you ask her what is going to happen next week, forget about it. Her record keeping is shoddy and when it comes times to complete report cards she scrambles for information.

You know a good teacher when you walk into her classroom. Her classroom is inviting and child friendly. She posts student work and has their desks arranged in groups so the students can interact with one another and the teacher. She encourages the interaction so her class is rarely quiet. There are a variety of manipulatives and supplemental materials available and easily accessible for student use.

When you walk into the classroom of a bad teacher the first thing you will notice is that all of the desks are placed in rows to discourage the students from interacting with one another. Her class is always quiet and she is frequently sitting either in the front of the room or at her desk. You don't know what learning has taken place in the classroom because she doesn't post student work.

A good teacher keeps the lines of communication between the school and parents open using weekly newsletters, handouts, and classroom webpages. She provides you with her contact information so that you can reach her when you have a question or an issue arises. She returns your telephone calls and emails in a timely fashion. She seeks both your advice and your input when she has questions about your child.

Parents rarely hear from a bad teacher with the exception of parent/teacher conferences or when there is a problem with your child. You don't receive weekly newsletters about what is taking place in her classroom, and if you call or email her chances are you won't receive a reply.

A good teacher adjusts her instruction based upon the needs of individualized students. She has been trained in ways to differentiate instruction to meet the various learning styles of all of the students in her care. At times you will see her instructing the entire class and at other times you will see her working with small groups of children. She is very flexible in her approach to teaching and is more then wA happy classroomilling to try new things.