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Don't like your teacher? Wells, that's just too bad
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Several weeks ago, in this column, I encouraged parents to not ask principals for teacher reassignments, as in “I think my child, who has a learning problem, will do better with Mrs. Whimsy because from what I hear, she’s more patient.” As one might imagine, I am now the certified hero of principals everywhere. On the other hand, some parents who previously enjoyed reading my column have now decided I am parenting satan.
Parents have asked, “Do I just ignore that a certain child might do ‘better’ with one teacher as opposed to another?” Better in what sense? If grades are the issue, and it usually is, then that perspective is near-sighted. What about the inestimable benefit of learning at age, say, 9 that life isn’t fair, to keep on truckin’ under less-than-desirable circumstances, and that adversity isn’t apocalyptic?
In my life, the greatest gains have been produced under the most unpleasant conditions. I’ll just bet you will say the same.
An elementary principal in New Mexico was one of many who thanked me for the column. She writes: “I have had parents come in, without even meeting the teacher in question, and want their child moved because they have heard that the teacher is strict or demanding. Quite often, the real reason for the request is that the child’s friends are with another teacher and he/she wants to be with them. I remember, as a child, not getting the teacher I wanted. My parents simply told me to cowboy up and get over it.”
Yep, that’s pretty much what my parents told me. And I dared not ever complain about the teacher to whom I’d been assigned because I knew my parents would assume, and usually rightly, that I was being a troublemaker in her class.
Looking back, nearly everyone in my generation will attest that we were better off in the long run because our parents stayed out of such things.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that the freedom to pursue happiness is a God-given right. He was obviously aware that no one can guarantee another person’s happiness.

A family psychologist, Rosemond answers parents’ questions on his Web site at
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