As a school administrator, one of the best parts of my job is seeing students mature into young adults. Keep in mind it’s only one part. Getting a paycheck is also quite pleasant.
I see first graders grow up and become Prom King or Queen. I blink my eyes and the fourth graders who play soccer or basketball during recess are now playing on high school teams. Little kids who sing their hearts out in music class suddenly become the lead performers in the high school musical.
Time goes by so quickly (a sure sign of old age). The experiences we have with our kids when they are young are valuable. It is the basis of how successful they will become as adults.
This is why parents are always concerned about their child’s education. They want everything to go just right (and in my case to make sure The Evil Spawn is self-efficient enough to live in her home after she graduates).
Parents want the best for their son or daughter and that’s how it should be.
They worry about getting them in the right school. They worry about them having an advanced curriculum. They are concerned about getting them placed with the proper teacher.
I think all of these concerns are valid, but in my opinion they are not the biggest issue in regards to a student having a positive school experience.
The number one thing a student needs to be successful is placement in the right class with the right mix of students.
In the correct situation with the right peer group, a student can make wonderful progress.
Academics can improve. Behavior will be appropriate. Attitude won’t be a problem (until they become teenagers… then it’s every man, woman, and child for themselves).
Without the right peers, all of this can go the wrong direction.
A good class can bring everyone along for the ride. Every student will maximize their potential. A bad class can drag everyone down to the bottom.
This doesn’t mean they all have to be “A” students. It’s more about their personalities meshing.
Student placement in the right class far outweighs the right teacher or certain school building.
I don’t discourage parents from worrying about their child’s school, teacher, or curriculum.
They just shouldn’t forget to worry about the peer group that will surround their son or daughter for the next 13 years (if all goes well, of course).