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

Abbotsford's Ravinder Singh Atwal has been identified online as the truck driver who died in a truck crash on Highway 99 near Delta on Wednesday. The Abbotsford father was killed when his dump truck hit the highway median and burst into flames. Submitted photo/Facebook.

Abbotsford trucker killed on Hwy 99 remembered as ‘one of the nicest guys‚Äô

GLENDA LUYMES VANCOUVER DESI An Abbotsford father killed in a fiery crash on Highway 99 is being remembered as hard-working and friendly by fellow truck…
Continue Reading »

A man reads the latest issue of French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo bearing a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed at a French bookseller in Abidjan on January 19, 2015. SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images

Mumbai police arrest newspaper editor for reprinting Charlie Hebdo cartoon

VANCOUVER DESI Mumbai police have arrested and since bailed out the editor of an Urdu language newspaper for reprinting a Charlie Hebdo cartoon of the…
Continue Reading »

Indian spectators watch as a float carrying a sign that reads "Congratulations! It's a Baby Girl" passes by during the Indian Republic Day parade in New Delhi on January 26, 2015. The float represented India's Ministry of Women and Child Development.  An estimated 26 million babies are born anually in India, a country considered to be one of the worst places to be born a girl because of a societal 'gender gap' that favours boys and preferences for male children. ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images

Father in India arrested for attempted murder after trying to bury his daughter alive

VANCOUVER DESI A father in India has been arrested for attempted murder after he tried to bury his 10-year-old daughter alive, according to Britain’s Daily…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Abbotsford's Ravinder Singh Atwal has been identified online as the truck driver who died in a truck crash on Highway 99 near Delta on Wednesday. The Abbotsford father was killed when his dump truck hit the highway median and burst into flames. Submitted photo/Facebook.

Abbotsford trucker killed on Hwy 99 remembered as ‘one of the nicest guys‚Äô

GLENDA LUYMES VANCOUVER DESI An Abbotsford father killed in a fiery crash on Highway 99 is being remembered as hard-working and friendly by fellow truck…
Continue Reading »

Opposition Muted to Harper’s New Anti Terror Bill

BY Ujjal Dosanjh Special to Vancouver Province I smell an election coming. Not in October 2015; much sooner than that. Harper has just unveiled the…
Continue Reading »

Opposition parties treading carefully on new anti-terror legislation

By Stephanie Levitz THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Anti-terrorism legislation introduced by the Conservative government Friday received a cautious reception by the opposition parties who…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Vancouver-BC

Raise your hand, send us a selfie and make a statement against racism (with video)

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver Desi‚Äôs digital anti-racism campaign, Raise Your Hands Against Racism, officially kicked off Thursday, with people across the Lower Mainland sending in selfies…
Continue Reading »

File photo: Curry chicken on rice. Sam Leung/PNG

Spicy treats on menu as 8 chef teams battle for Vancouver’s second-annual Curry Cup

VANCOUVER DESI A group of Lower Mainland chefs are set to go head-to-head with their South Asian cooking skills as they gear up for Vancouver‚Äôs…
Continue Reading »

Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Sonu Sood and Boman Irani in a still from the Bollywood film Happy New Year.

Indian expat avoids stalking conviction by blaming Bollywood for his behaviour

IANS Sydney ¬†– An Indian man’s excuse that Bollywood love stories encouraged him to excessively approach and stalk women helped him avoid conviction in the…
Continue Reading »

File photo: Commuters hang by doors of a crowded local train in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Three men were killed on Monday after they attempted to take a selfie by a moving train near Agra. AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

College students killed while attempting train selfie in India

VANCOUVER DESI Three college friends on their way to India’s Republic Day celebrations were killed by a speeding train after they tried posing for a…
Continue Reading »

Screen shot of Shah Rukh Khan's first video tweet. Submitted.

Shah Rukh Khan sends out India’s first tweet using Twitter’s new mobile video camera

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was the first-ever Indian to use Twitter’s freshly launched mobile video camera. Twitter announced the new feature on…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Akshay Kumar

Askhay Kumar offers martial arts training to visually impaired girls

PRASHANT SINGH HINDUSTAN TIMES Last year, Akshay Kumar ‚ÄĒ who was a professional martial arts trainer before he started acting ‚ÄĒ launched an initiative to…
Continue Reading »

Shah Rukh Khan (L) and Kajol (R) are rumoured to be appearing in the next Rohit Shetty film. Getty Images.

Rohit Shetty tightlipped on SRK, Kajol casting rumours

IANS Mumbai — Bollywood’s blockbuster director Rohit Shetty is remaining tightlipped on rumours he’s managed to rope in a casting coup of Shah Rukh Khan…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood sex

Sonam Kapoor never planned to use her father’s fame to jumpstart her Bollywood career

IANS Mumbai ¬†– It’s always thought that Bollywood’s star children have it easy, but actress Sonam Kapoor says that at the start of her film…
Continue Reading »