Search This Blog

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Reporting on Progress

Many, if not nearly all, school teachers like their children to be neat and tidy in their work. I understand too that there are some school teachers who even enjoy writing school reports. I imagine too that there are some Head Teachers who like school reports because they kind of `tidy up’ the year. The hard working teacher writes a collection of school reports about the children in the class. The Head Teacher then reads the reports and adds a few words of encouragement. The reports go out. The year or the term is done.

Honour is satisfied. The school has done its job. In my function within Etc I get to read many school reports from many different teachers. I am always grateful to see how other professionals view their children. Teachers no longer appear to choose to write derogatory comments about their children. “Should have tried harder,” has been replaced with more conciliatory comments. I feel pretty sure that the words, “He will never make anything of himself,” no longer appear on school reports.

What do parents want from a report about their children? I suppose they want to keep informed about progress. They want to know if their child has been working hard. In the case of children attending extra lessons I should imagine that parents want to know if they have been spending their money wisely.

I suppose a parent wants to know if their child is neat and tidy in school work – but I doubt that being neat and tidy ranks very highly with most parents. I should imagine that most parents would like their child to be at least average or above. I doubt very much if most parents really want their children to be gifted. I am sure that many parents would want their child to demonstrate some degree of conformity. They would like their children to obtain good or reasonable marks on tests.

When we are preparing children for eleven plus examinations we spend a time – as the examination grows closer – by doing a range of practice questions. As parents and teachers we offer the children the type of questions that are likely to be asked. We also provide revision sessions where we go over ground already covered.

We like to think that all this effort helps the child to do as well as possible in the examinations.

But as teachers and educators we are mere mortals – we can only do the best we can. A report that a child is doing the best we think it can, may not satisfy some parents.

We are privileged to have a girl starting as a teaching assistant with us today who has just heard that she has ten A* GCSE grades. This is a rarely gifted person. I look forward to her chatting to a mother or father about the work she has done with their child. She must naturally be a role model for every child. I hope that she shows insight, warmth and interest. A smile and a word of approval from her must lift the hearts of every parent.

No comments: