Education: Report card comments – the ink never fades

Published: February 21, 2013

AMRITA SAHOTA
VANCOUVER DESI

It’s that time of year for teachers: a time known as Term 2, when students receive a summative assessment of their learning.

Around this time, I like to read through my old report cards from elementary school.¬† The¬†vintage report card¬†has changed over the years.¬†¬†The ones I got when I was¬†growing up were¬†crispy and¬†type-written pages, folded¬†into a book.¬† And on the¬†faded blue cover, an image of a boy looking through a projector.¬† The “old book” smell is still there and it¬†sends me back to childhood, to a time when I¬†once felt anxious¬†tingles in my stomach while waiting for my parents to read what my teacher had to say about me.

The other night I had a realization when I re-read my own Kindergarten teacher’s comments.¬† Mrs.¬† “K” was a lovely first year teacher.¬† She always wore high heels and flowing dresses to school.¬† I admired her.¬† In my very first report card, she wrote the following, “Your child is outgoing and friendly, but her attention span is short and she is¬†easily distracted.”¬†¬†

So, Mrs.¬† “K” thought that I was distracted ‚ÄĒ¬†no big deal.¬†¬†Most kids get¬†distracted;¬†that’s what they do.¬† As teachers we¬†look for patterns and themes.¬† So naturally, I skipped¬†her “filler” sentences, and dove right into the Term 2 comments.¬† Where I knew I’d find the goods.¬† And there it was, a cleverly crafted,¬†telling sentence. “Your child’s attention span must be lengthened if she plans to experience success.”¬†

Great!¬† Now, Mrs. “K” is essentially saying the exact same thing, but she’s rewording it!¬† Instead of¬†focusing on what¬†was not enough, she was¬†telling my parents what needed to happen.¬† Obviously, she was on to something!¬†

Reading my old report cards gives me¬†perspective, putting me in the shoes of¬†my own¬†students, so that¬†I can empathize with them while I’m writing their comments.¬† It¬†also helps me remember that¬†ink does not fade.¬† My teacher’s¬†comments were permanent and mine will be, too.¬† So I need to think about what I’m going to say and how I’m going to word it.

I believe it’s about striking a¬†balance between¬†describing a student’s abilities and revealing his/her potential.¬† We know the seeds are planted, it just takes time and nourishment for the¬†fruit to grow.¬† Report-card writing¬†can be¬†repetitive and, on hectic days,¬†stressful, but¬†stress should never translate onto the lines of any comment box.¬† Especially, with today’s technology, where ink can potentially last for a hundred years!

A teacher’s words have staying power, in the brain and on the page.

Amrita Sahota is an elementary school teacher.  She has worked extensively within the field of Child and Youth Care.  Currently, Amrita is working as a Teacher on Call.  She enjoys creative writing, and writing teaching stories and strategies, that she shares with other teachers on her teaching blog.  She can be emailed at sahota_a1@hotmail.com


Tags: , , , , ,





Featured

preserving-food-culture-india

Pink Chai Living: Preserving the food culture of India with traditional cooking

RAJ THANDHI VANCOUVER DESI This week I’m bringing back ‘ghar ka khana’ (homemade food). Let’s make cooking traditional foods cool again. For the last few…
Continue Reading »

peter

23-year-old Indian soccer player dies after goal celebration goes horribly wrong

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW DELHI – The Mizoram Football Association says a 23-year-old Indian soccer player has died after injuring his spine while celebrating a…
Continue Reading »

nepal

Nepal end rescue operation on popular trekking route where 39 died in blizzards, avalanches

BINAJ GURUBACHARYA THE ASSOCIATED PRESS KATMANDU, Nepal – Nepal wrapped up rescue operations in its northern mountains Monday, saying all the hikers believed to have…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Today in History – Oct. 20

Advance THE CANADIAN PRESS Today in History for Oct. 20: On this date: In 1632, Sir Christopher Wren, British astronomer and architect, was born. He…
Continue Reading »

Nepal closes popular trekking route where 38 died in snowstorms after new climbers set out

By Binaj Gurubacharya THE ASSOCIATED PRESS KATMANDU, Nepal – Nepalese officials closed a section of a popular Himalayan trekking route Sunday after rescuers, overwhelmed with…
Continue Reading »

Today in History – Oct. 19

Advance THE CANADIAN PRESS Today in History for Oct. 19: On this date: In 1216, King John of England died after consuming what was described…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

MINOR ATACKED

False confession leads police to arrest new suspect in sexual assault of 9-year-old Surrey girl

FRANK LUBA VANCOUVER DESI A man who confessed to the sexual assault of a nine-year-old girl in Surrey has been released and a 28-year-old man…
Continue Reading »

Dilwali Fest

Diwali Fest kicks off with IndiGlam fashion-fusion show (w/ video)

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI It was a classic mother-daughter argument that propelled Surrey‚Äôs Raji Khaira into a career of fashion design. Khaira, 25, grew up…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver Desi

Canada Place caught the eye of man who builds models in chalk (w/gallery)

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI When Jagdeep Singh Bihal moved to Vancouver from India two years ago and did some sightseeing around the city, ¬†it was…
Continue Reading »

SURREY-VANCOUVER-MUMBAI

Diwali organizer inspired by memories of Mumbai revelry

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver‚Äôs Rohit Chokhani can still recall his childhood in Mumbai when Indian streets would light up with fireworks and life would…
Continue Reading »

SURREY-PIRATE RADIO

Surrey’s unlicensed Radio India to cease broadcasting in 120 days

PETER O’NEIL POSTMEDIA NEWS GATINEAU, Que. ‚ÄĒ One of B.C.‚Äôs ‚ÄúPirate Radio‚ÄĚ broadcasters boasted earlier this month of his powerful political connections, a vast public…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Priyanka Chopra

Gallery: 20 Bollywood celebrities in their best and worst avatars

VANCOUVER DESI Every Bollywood star has come under fire for their style choices at ¬†some point in their careers. Here we’ve taken a quick look…
Continue Reading »

reality TV

Himesh Reshammiya to record songs with reality show ‘India’s Raw Star’ contestants

IANS Mumbai – Composer Himesh Reshammiya, who made an appearance on the reality TV show “India’s Raw Star” as a guest mentor, was so moved…
Continue Reading »

BOLLYWOOD

Bollywood role came without any effort: Jennifer Winget

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS¬† Mumbai – Like many of her peers from television, Jennifer Winget is ready to move to the big screen. However, unlike…
Continue Reading »