By: Cayla from Running, Recipes, and Reading
Here are some things you should know about me:
I stink at math; I would’ve failed math had I not had a tutor between grades 7-10 before finally dropping it after my teacher told me “some girls just don’t have a mind for math.”
I leave everything to the last minute, am highly disorganized, and my desk is a mess no matter how hard I try to keep it clean.
Except for running, fitness, and track and field, I HATE gym. I have a fear of balls coming at my face and crushing my fingers. I also lack the coordination and reaction time to do well in team sports so I try to get out of them.
I truly have no idea what a dangling participle, relative clause, or superlative adjective is.
Yet despite this…
I can figure out the tip faster than my husband’s tip app.
I can find anything at anytime, including a single safety pin, the computer charger, and my son’s Ipod (which was in the linen closest under the towels…no idea how it got there) and do my best thinking under pressure.
I have run TWO marathons and 6 half marathons and have successfully coached cross country running and track and field for 6 years and…
I think that I am a pretty good writer.
Why am I telling you this? Because these are precisely the skills that us teachers are thinking about right now as we write our report cards. And if I had to write a report card for me today? Well, let’s just say I would not be taking me out for ice cream for a job well done. Yet I still managed to be successful in so many ways. Imagine that.
Writing reports cards stink. They leave no room to tell you that your child, while he may not like to participate in class, is an amazing baker who brings our whole class treats on Monday mornings. Or that your son, who is struggling in math, is the kindest, most empathetic kid who always makes sure our recycling is sorted properly. Or that your daughter is not completing work to the best of her abilities, but she was before her best friend died a few months ago.
The problem with report cards is that they really only show two things: academic performance and the learning skills that contribute to academic performance. They leave little to no room for explaining all of the other ways your child is amazing or the extenuating personal circumstance for why they are struggling. My sister, who works in recruiting told me that when interviewing a candidate, she does not choose the person who got an “A” in grade 7 math, but the person with the most confidence and best personality. Unfortunately, before you can get into that job interview, you need to get into college or university and in order to get into college or university, you need to have good grades. Which brings us back to report cards.
I know that as a teacher talking like this about report cards is a very politically incorrect correct thing for me to say. At the end of the day, I do see the value of report cards and how important it is to see what your child’s learning profile looks like, both so they can be praised or helped, when necessary. All I’m saying is that it is really, really hard to write report cards. Because on paper, some kids are doing great and some not so great, but in my heart, I know that each and every kid is going to be more than great.