Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

Monday, November 9, 2009

Words, Words, Words

I like words. I like reading them. I like writing them. I like saying them and I like learning about them.

It may make me a nerd, but I actually like report card time because it is the only time during the year when my job requires me to really use the skills I acquired during my four years in undergraduate english literature. I mean sure, I teach reading and novels etc..but there is no way my students have the ability to really dissect a piece of writing they way I did in university. Of course, I also teach essay writing (and sentences and paragraphs) but really that is just an exercise in futility and banging my head against the wall in most cases.

But then report cards come along and I have to find ways to word things so that is sounds positive in a learning skill comment. Things like "Student A is encouraged to find ways to actively use his agenda on a daily basis in order to track his assignment deadlines more effectively." Read: Your student does not ever complete his homework. Ever.

Or "Student B often distracts others around them during class work times and as a result has had difficulties completing assigned work during class this term." Read: Your student never shuts up and no one around her gets anything done either.

You see the challenge here?

So I do enjoy the writing of learning skills. However, there are always those students who never speak, never misbehave, never....just never. What do you say about them? I have spent two months, almost 2 and half and a few of the kids I know practically nothing about! Do they have vocal chords? Do they breathe on a frequent basis? Who knows?

Report cards are an interesting thing because we get lectured at that they are "legal documents" but no one really knows how to read them. I can say something like "-demonstrates a limited ability to summarize important details from written texts, citing evidence and using description" in English and what does that mean? Well, I know that it means their child had trouble reading a story and telling me all the important events that happened in the story...but does the parent?

The education system is an interesting beast...so many things to fix and so many things working correctly.

But at least it gives me three chances a year to use words.

1 Thinks and Thoughts of Others:

Annette said...

My sister is an English teacher at a small rural school in Central Oklahoma. She teaches seventh and eighth graders and struggles with the same issues you have cited. She has a few students who are failing. Their parents have been notified on a weekly basis, but don't seem to care. Or perhaps they just don't understand the commentary. We may never know.

Last Words...

Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe