In my school district teachers are working on report cards now, they go home in early December. That stress helps me remember why I retired. All the one on one assessment, record keeping, computer glitches – and the comments. As a parent I would open up my kids’ report cards, skip past all the numbers, letters or check marks and go immediately to the personal remarks. Of course I would go back and painstakingly review every grade too – but somehow those comments were always what I looked at first.
As a teacher I knew that even though I was working on 25-55 report cards, each parent was reading and rereading just one. Our report cards were done on the computer and our space for comments was limited to something like 250 characters – including letters, spaces, and punctuation. It was a real challenge to tell parents what their child was doing well, what he or she needed to work on, and also show parents that you care about their child.
When my own children were growing up they always teased me that there is a special code that all kindergarten teachers use to cloak what they really mean in parent acceptable terms.
‘Play oriented’ really means ‘can’t get her to sit down and do anything productive’
‘fun loving’ is another way to tell parents about their child’s silly behavior
‘exhuberant’ is code for ‘wild and out of control’
‘shares lots of ideas’ could be defined as ‘won’t stop talking’
I don’t claim to have any special ability to create meaningful, concise, pertinent comments; but I am always happy to share. Because we did report cards on the computer I always typed my comments on a word document, where I could keep track of the number of characters, then I would copy and paste them into the report card. That means I have lots of comments saved on my computer. I always wished I could see what other teachers were writing. I don’t expect anyone to want to use what I wrote verbatim, but I thought someone might find a phrase here and there that would be helpful. Please remember how limited my space was – if I had more room on the report card I would have elaborated a bit more.
These comments were from our midyear report card. For many years Kindergarten just did report cards in January and June. When we went to full day Kindergarten we had conferences in October & March, report cards in December, March and June. My comments on the end of the year report card were different because by then I expected children to have achieved the curriculum goals and developed better work habits. Please let me know if these are helpful, and if anyone is interested I will share end of year comments too.
I hope the idea of sharing comments doesn’t offend anyone – if you think it’s tacky please don’t click on the link!