We sent report cards home this week. Most of my students and parents will be pleased. Most of my students know the letters of the alphabet and they are beginning to sound out a few words. Most can count to 20 and make a pattern using two colors. Most know that there are seven days in the week and they can tell you whether there will be school tomorrow. Our basic skills are beginning to form a solid foundation for future learning. Most of my students will learn to read and will become successful first graders.
There are also notations on the report card about behavior and work habits. Most of my students follow our daily routine and obey class rules and get along well with their peers. Most can function and do their own work without constant prompting. Most tell the truth and try their best.
However…report cards, even detailed ones, do not always give a true and complete picture of a child’s performance in class, or his potential for future success. Nor do they reflect his attitude and motivation. I have seen time and time again that an average student with good behavior and a positive attitude will become a far more successful student, and often a more successful adult, than a smarter student with behavior and/or attitude problems. I try my best to explain this to parents, but the little boxes on the report card sometimes paint a more glowing picture. That’s one of the reasons I send home weekly reports. I want parents to see patterns of behavior that might be more important than basic skills or intelligence.
We try to improve our report card every couple of years. We try to make it more accurate and current and useful. This year we are working on a few changes for next year’s report card. I still won’t be perfect, but perhaps it will be better.
So, the lesson from this is that you should use your child’s report card as only one tool, one piece of information to determine how he or she is doing in class. Talk to your child’s teacher, look at daily work, look at behavior problems, look at test scores, and talk to your child. Get all the facts, not just one report.
Ending with a laugh- If you read any of my other blogs, you know I’ve been having some serious eye problems and my vision is limited to one eye. This past Thursday I had to go to a specialist about two hours away, so I arranged for a substitute. When I returned to class on Friday one of my girls asked- “Were you sick yesterday?”
“No, I just went to the eye doctor.”
“Well, why didn’t you come back? You’re supposed to come right back.”
“I had to go to Plano, Texas. That’s far away and I didn’t have time to come back.”
Another student chimed in, “I know where that is. My uncle lives in Plano. You have to go in the car and it makes you tired.”