End of the first quarter. Report cards have all been mailed home and parent/teacher conferences have been held. I always feel funny talking to parents about their children. Of course I try to highlight the student’s successes but I also need to touch on areas where they need work. That part will always be a bit awkward for me because I know a parent doesn’t enjoy somebody else reminding them that their child may have difficulties focusing. But it is always awesome to be able to show a parent a paper their child wrote that surprises them. Or share an anecdote about something nice the student has done for another student.
I’ve written about this before, mainly because it brings up memories of my school years. And my report cards were not full of flowery adjectives. Unfortunately, blogging was not invented yet, so I had no way to vent my frustration. My outlet was to “not apply myself”. I was not a talented student. I’m not really sure why, because I did enjoy school. Well, not report card day. But the rest of the time school was fun for me.
|Saturday afternoon on the way to school.|
Another cruel part of report card day was that the school would send the report card home with the students. Today, we either mail them home or hand them to the parent at the conference. So, our teacher would give us the sealed envelope with instructions that they were not to be opened by anyone except our parents. We rode the late bus, so we had to wait at the school for our bus to make a 45 minute run before it came back to pick us up to take us home.
I had to hold on tight to that sealed envelope for over an hour in my grubby little hands for fear of losing it. I knew that if I lost it, nobody would believe that story. I would be accused of destroying the evidence of my laziness. Nobody ever thought that maybe I was too lazy to conjure up such a scheme. I was forced to deliver the evidence of my shortcomings to my parents.
|My class doing a yoga exercise. Notice I am not in the picture.|
What made the delivery worse was that I had two brothers who were talented students. Apparently, they did “apply” themselves. They were overjoyed to hand over their envelopes, knowing that warm smiles and possibly gifts from overseas would be coming their way. I stood a few steps back, hoping that in the celebration my parents would forget about me and my envelope. But they wouldn’t. Their joyous smiles would fade and their gaze would shift from the envelope to my eyes. Everyone in the room knew what to expect, but there was always some suspense. Maybe they were all hoping I had turned the corner and began “applying” myself. I didn’t and I was always sent to bed without supper.
Ok, maybe I over dramatized things a bit. I was always fed supper. But I do empathize with my students who may lose focus or take longer than needed to finish a project or even a single assignment. I feel for the less talented students and their plight. And I don’t enjoy talking to their parents about how “if they would just apply themselves”, their scores would improve. But I will never make my students hand deliver their own report cards.