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It’s much easier to avoid classrooms that won’t work for your child than to deal with a problem in the middle of a school year. With your child’s needs in mind, gather as much information as you can now to determine the best fit for next year. Here are 6 strategies to find the best fit.

1. Network with other parents. Learn what they know about your child’s potential teachers. Keep in mind that your child may love being in one classroom, even though a close friend didn’t like it.

2. Talk to the teachers to get a feel for their teaching styles. Ask if and when you could observe their classes.

3. Talk to older students to find out their opinions on past teachers and whom they would recommend and why.

4. Volunteer. If your child is in elementary school, see if you can volunteer in the next grade up to get a feel for the classroom atmosphere.

5. Look for opportunities to see how a teacher interacts with her students as individuals and as a class. For instance a school assembly may provide an opportunity to observe.

6. Ask your child’s current teacher who he or she feels would be the best fit for your child for next year. Once you have a clear preference, fill out a teacher request form or write a letter of request to the school principal. It doesn’t hurt to talk to the teacher you are requesting and your child’s current teacher and let them know your preference too.

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