Updated: Jul 21
Please note that the downloadable learning skills sample is at the bottom of this post!
Have you ever had a student come to see you years after you've taught them and said: "Mme, my favourite part of having you as a teacher was the way you wrote report cards!". No? Didn't think so.
What about parents? Have you ever heard anyone say: "Oh, I just love that my son's teacher writes so many details about Science in his report card!" This one may have happened to you if your student has a teacher as a parent, but I have personally never heard anyone love their daughter or son's teacher based on report cards.
Instead, I have heard things like: "I loved how engaged you had us through all of your Science lessons" or "My daughter's teacher was there for her through our difficult time, and I will forever be grateful to her.".
So think about that for a second. Why did you go into teaching? It was (hopefully) to make an impact on kids' lives. If that's true, why are you spending more time worrying about report cards than being present to your students in your classroom?
Now, I am not disregarding report cards - I know that they have to be done, and I know that we obviously want to do a good job on them. But I urge you to stop stressing so much about wording and then rewording everything perfectly. The parent will not notice that you used the word "funny" instead of "humorous".
I also know that some of you may disagree with me, and that's ok. But for me, report cards are a small part of my classroom life. Being in front of my students, learning, having fun, and creating memories are just more important.
Report card tip - learning skills
All this is to give you my number one tip for writing reports, while saving time! For me, learning skills are the absolute most important part of the report card. They give the parent a snapshot of what their child is like.
Personally, I could care less if my child one day receives a "C" or a "B", but I do care that he is kind, respectful, and open to others. You can absolutely bet that I'll be reading much more about his learning skills than any other subject.
Exactly how do I make it easier on myself while writing those learning skills? At the start of the year, I create a Google doc with all of my students' names. Under each name, I add "progress report", "term 1" and "term 2". As the year begins, I start to notice different things about each student and usually can compare them to a few students that I have had in the past.
I go ahead into last year's comments and find some phrases in those progress report comments that match my current student. I simply copy-paste it in and add as I go.
Now, the best part is that this isn't permanent. Sometimes, in September I copy-paste a comment and notice that it actually doesn't match anymore in October. I just erase it and find a comment that matches better.
Voilà, easy to do learning skill comments. It still takes time, and obviously, I have to create from scratch on some occasions, but it is so helpful to do them as I go, using past comments.
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