Report Writing Can Be So Dispiriting

Remember the day when teachers actually got to speak their mind?  When they were able to put an evaluation of a child in writing without fear of a lawsuit?  I’m afraid those days are long gone.

Report writing is as bigger chore now as it has ever been.  Required to complete at least 2 a year, I stay up nights on end in the lead up to my report writing deadline, typing away, without any idea why reports need to be so long and arduous.

The following are 5 frustrating features of a modern-day school report:

1.  It is often written in technical language that makes no sense at all to parents.  This is a ploy by the teacher to use up as much space as possible, make themselves look extra professional and write in such a way that parents have no idea what they are talking about (so they wont have what to complain about).  I feel sorry for parents that genuinely try to read their child’s report, only to be left totally confused by the experience.

2.  The Government is scared that put in the hands of teachers, reports would be too short and wouldn’t include enough detail.  That is why they have directed teachers to write about every detail about the child, down to how neat his/her desk is and how clearly he/she speaks in public.  That means Primary school teachers must write over 1000 characters each in four sections (General Comment, Maths, English and Unit of Inquiry).  Added to that the teachers need to isolate skills yet learnt and pinpoint how they are going to help the students catch up in these areas.  It’s just too long!

3. Similarly, the Government wanted students to be graded according to an insane scale.  The letter grade “B” means the child is a semester ahead, “C” refers to where the child should be, and “D” means the child is a semester behind.  There is “A” and “E”, but teachers are advised not to go there because it makes the school look bad.  In other words, if your student is going well, you give them a “C” – go figure!

4.  The report tell you nothing of real substance!  The threat of lawsuit is too great.  It’s designed to say a lot without saying anything at all!

5.  Teachers are so exhausted from writing these blasted reports that they come to school tired and emotionally drained.  Their planning time has been compromised, so often their lessons are less engaging.

I am as happy with my reports as the constraints lets me be.  I feel as though I’ve written in “plain speak”, demonstrated that I know my students and have shown an understanding of where they are at academically and socially.

But I am so drained!

Why does it have to be like this?

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