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

CIVIC ELECTIONS

A new mayor is coming to Surrey, but don’t forget about councillors

SFU prof stresses importance of electing councillors who will push for the Surrey you want AMY REID SURREY NOW SURREY ‚ÄĒ With incumbent Mayor Dianne…
Continue Reading »

img_3338

Salaam Bombay: Gluten free Indian cuisine

SAMANTHA MCLEOD THE PROVINCE¬† Salam Bombay:¬†Salaam to the classiest and cleanest side of Bombay, right here in Vancouver! You know when¬†you‚Äôre watching an Indian movie…
Continue Reading »

CBC-sexual behaviour-lawsuit

Jian Ghomeshi bails on Prince George appearance on Nov. 7

THE CANADIAN PRESS PRINCE GEORGE ‚ÄĒ Embattled former ‚ÄúQ‚ÄĚ radio host Jian Ghomeshi has pulled out of a speaking engagement organized by the Prince George…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Today in History – Nov. 15

Advance THE CANADIAN PRESS Today in History for Nov. 15: On this date: In 1280, German theologian and music theorist Albertus Magnus died. Magnus taught…
Continue Reading »

Today in History – Nov. 13

Advance THE CANADIAN PRESS Today in History for Nov. 13: On this date: In 354, African theologian Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, was born in Numidia,…
Continue Reading »

Today in History – Nov. 12

Advance THE CANADIAN PRESS Today in History for Nov. 12: On this date: In 1774, British citizens in Quebec protested the Quebec Act which restored…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

health check

Parents of six-year-old girl ‚Äėhorrified‚Äô after botched vaccination exposes her to HIV

GORDON MCINTYRE VANCOUVER DESI A six-year-old girl is in danger of having contacted HIV after a routine vaccination went awry in Fort St. James earlier…
Continue Reading »

ghost marriage

11 held for digging women’s graves for ‘ghost marriages’

IANS/EFE Beijing – Chinese police have arrested 11 people for allegedly digging up dead women’s bodies from their graves to sell them for rituals known…
Continue Reading »

Jian Ghomeshi

‚ÄėBig Ears Teddy‚Äô Twitter account posted Jian Ghomeshi abuse allegations six months ago

ISHMAEL N. DARO CANADA.COM In less than a week, Jian Ghomeshi has gone from one of the most well-known and beloved CBC personalities to an…
Continue Reading »

CIVIC ELECTIONS

Battleground Surrey: Which mayoral candidate can stop the carnage?

CASSIDY OLIVIER VANCOUVER DESI The streets leading to the Newton Arena are littered with debris from the previous night‚Äôs storm. Overflow from the downpour swiftly…
Continue Reading »

Smart 21 communities

Surrey named among World’s Smart21 Communities of 2015

VANCOUVER DESI SURREY, B.C. ‚ÄstThe Intelligent Community Forum has named the City of Surrey as one of the world‚Äôs Smart21 Communities of 2015. As one…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Bollywood movie Fireflies

Fireflies: Sincerely done; good looking film

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS¬† Film: “Fireflies”; Cast: Rahul Khanna, Arjun Mathur, Monica Dogra, Shivani Ghai, Aadya Bedi; Writer-Director: Sabal Singh Shekhawat; Rating: *** 1/2 Things…
Continue Reading »

Ismaili musicians - Aga Khan foundation

Salim-Sulaiman show underlines Vancouver’s rising Bollywood cachet

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI With big-time Bollywood composers Salim-Sulaiman set to kick off their North American tour at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Saturday, it…
Continue Reading »

Shah Rukh Khan

Burdwan blast: Shah Rukh Khan prays for better times for Bengal

IANS Kolkata – Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, West Bengal’s brand ambassador, Wednesday expressed his unwillingness to talk about the terror blast in Burdwan, but…
Continue Reading »