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Empowering Through Education by Judianne Jayme

Report card season

By Judianne Jayme

We are now entering one out of three times each year when it’s best to understand any family or friends you may have who happen to be in my profession. Give them a hug. Make them some tea when they get home. Ask them how their day was – and genuinely listen. This is a challenging few weeks known informally as report card season.

This is the time when teachers gather their assessment notes over the past few months and compile comments that describe each and every single student they teach. This applies to the nursery and kindergarten teachers who usually have not one, but two sets of students. This applies to the high school teachers who have to teach their subjects to multiple classes worth of kids. This also applies to the elementary school teachers, such as myself, who teach only one class, but teach them up to seven subjects, sometimes at two different grade levels, each subject needing strengths, challenges, and next steps.

It’s a lot more challenging that it may appear.

Parent tip: apples to oranges – Don’t compare children!

Something to consider when you get your child’s report card: focus on their growth. Education is a process of progress. Students very rarely achieve perfect marks. The report card is feedback, which is used to frame the next steps for each learner. Focus less on the number, and focus on how much they’ve progressed as a learner.

This is feedback I get every year from my students. They feel the pressure to perform better than their siblings. While competition can be healthy, and in most cases it is used to inspire children, we must be careful to not criticize students to the point that it affects their self-esteem. Proceed with caution if you compare children to each other. Everyone has strengths in different fields. A strong reader and writer may not be as strong in the sciences. It does not mean that he or she is “smarter” than another child. Students are brilliant in different ways.

I will leave you with a quotation that has become a daily reminder for me when assessing and planning for instruction:

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

Forgive the shorter length of this piece. I’ve got some report cards to attend to. I could also probably use a hug and some tea. ☺

Judianne Jayme is a third year educator teaching sixth grade in the Winnipeg School Division.

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