It’s that time of year as a school teacher in Australia when you have to report on your students’ progress. My reports were due last Friday at 4pm and I was still tidying up sentences when the computer sever got turned off and I was forced to stop tweaking. Report writing is very much the domain of The Emperor. Let’s take a closer look at the process shall we…
Tests: You do a lot of tests before writing reports to help get a clear picture of your student’s progress. Now, I’m not the world’s biggest fan of tests but I’m not anti them either. The problem with tests is that some students respond well to this format and others who are capable do not. That’s why it’s important to use them as a guide not as the whole story. Unfortunately the education system in Australia is now run by bureaucrats rather than educators who love things to be simple and to involve lots of numbers so test results are given higher priority than they should be in my opinion. Having said that, tests are a great tool for highlighting weak spots in a child’s learning which is really useful for me to know as a teacher. Take ’em with a grain of salt I say. (If only wider society would as well!)
Report Writing: I never look forward to report writing. Does anyone? It’s so hard to sum up your whole experience of another human being in just a few lines. But it has to be done. I just grit my teeth and get on with it when the time comes. Having a comment bank helps. This is a group of sentences specially designed to reflect the progress of students at each year level. You can pick and choose the appropriate ones. I ended up adding sentences to the comment bank I was given so that next time I write reports I will have even more to choose from. It should make things easier. Of course writing reports is only half the job. Editing them takes just as long. This is a tedious chore in which you have to read the same types of comments over and over again. It’s very hard to concentrate when every report sounds the same. One of the great things about report writing is that, as with tests, they force you to recognise weak spots in a child’s learning as well as weak spots in your knowledge of your students. There is always at least one kid you realise you haven’t paid enough attention to.
Finish Date: Reports have to finished by a set date. A day and time is set for the computer sever which holds report information at our school to be shut down and you have to be finished by then, that’s it. It’s kind of good to have that cut-off date. Otherwise you’d just keep rewriting forever. This is something I’m particularly guilty of as evidenced by the fact I have yet to finish a novel yet I’ve been writing them for years.
Tests. Reports. Comment banks. Editing. Finish date. Set process. These are all ruled by The Emperor. They involve set boundaries that cannot be crossed. Left brain territory.
Do you find it hard or easy to write reports?