We will be sending home report cards this week and I often wonder how we would respond if our skills and behaviors were reported to someone on a regular basis. In addition to their quarterly report cards our students also get a behavior report each week and a progress report every few weeks. Test results are reported every nine weeks. Any overtly disruptive or aggressive behavior is reported the day it occurs. Violent or repeated offenses result in a “pink slip” which must be signed by a parent. And I am not the only person monitoring student behavior. Every adult in our building, including the custodians, cooks, assistants, secretary, and the principal is on the alert for good behavior and educated minds. You’ll see each of them observing and questioning and encouraging our little ones to do their very best!
As adults we are not under such scrutiny…or are we? Many of us get annual or semi-annual evaluations of our work. Some employees get raises based on performance or sales. Others get promoted to new levels based on skills learned or certificates earned. Our behavior is monitored by bosses and co-workers and customers. And we are often judged by friends and family and neighbors and found to be less than our best selves. They may not give us a written report, or even a verbal one, but they are thinking about our behavior and reacting to us accordingly. And most will tell other people what they really think about us. So we do end up with a report card…we just don’t get a copy of it!
I always thought as a child that when I grew up I would be free to think what I wanted and say what I wanted and do what I wanted, without some authority reporting my every breath to my parents. My dad’s philosophy was that if I got into trouble at school I deserved to be punished again at home. And my mom’s reaction was always utter shame that I would behave badly in public. You should have seen the two of them when the principal reported in the fifth grade that I had written a hateful note to a girl who talked to MY boyfriend! Ouch! So I seldom actually got into any trouble, but I lived with the constant stress of deciding the best course of action in any situation. I just knew that stress would be alleviated by turning twenty or thirty. And by forty I would be free of all restraints! I’m not sure what I thought I would do, but I would certainly be FREE to do it. LOL
I suppose each of us is our own worst critic and we tend to give ourselves low marks for much of our behavior and many of our attempts at working and learning and performing daily tasks. If I gave myself a report card for my teaching this past nine weeks I would give myself a B in most areas. My behavior has been mostly good, but my students will tell you that I am sometimes grumpy or tired just like anyone else. Sometimes I teach everything in my plans and sometimes we just can’t do it all. Sometimes we end the day with laughter and songs. Sometimes we end the day with a dire warning about improving our attitudes! There is no perfect day! But we work together to reach our goals.
I hope that as you go about your daily business this week you will think about your report card and what it would say to others. Strive for high marks and good behavior! And remember that God doesn’t have to wait for a written report. He knows what we do before we even finish doing it.
Have a great day!