Report Card Blues

It’s that time of year again: (cue the ominous music) report card time.

An enormous amount of time and energy is expended on report cards each term. The reality is, we know parents spend a much shorter time reading them than we spend writing them. And unfortunately, report cards are the cause of much anxiety for students, parents and teachers.

Now rationally, I know why we have report cards: the need to communicate the progress of our students and the need for teachers to be accountable for what they are teaching.

As a teacher, I tried to find the balance of communicating what I felt needed to be communicated to parents without running myself into the ground. I tried to work smarter not harder by planning ahead and working on report cards throughout the term. I tried to strike the balance of doing my due diligence and not adding unreasonable, excessive time to my work week.

I wasn’t always successful. By the time they were finished, I was usually exhausted and ready for a celebratory dance. Better yet, a drink.

Bottom line, they need to be done. The question then, how can we complete them without running the risk of living the report card blues each and every term? Some options:

  1. Let each child complete their own report cards: kids and teachers would be much happier!
  2. Find a child from last year resembling each student from this year. Voila! Report cards complete.
  3. Divide a dart board into four sections: insufficient, basic, proficient, excellent. Complete one report card each recess.
  4. Invite guests over on the pretence of a dinner party: under each dinner plate, 5 or 6 report cards to write. You can always add the names in afterwards…

All kidding aside, report cards are a given in this profession. This coming term, consider how you might work to avoid the report card blues while still honouring your professional responsibility AND maintaining your sanity.


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