Most of Australia's school kids will have been given or about to get their report cards for the end of the first half of the year. As the school year ends in Europe and America, I am guessing reports will be on their way to your hands as parents as well. This time of the school year is always an interesting observation for me with watching how parents react and respond to their child's success. This is where a not so lovely side can come out of some so I am here to give you some pointers and a little nudge into the 'relax' direction.
Let's start with the teachers observation of report reading. Now don't stress because this is not everyone and for some, they may not even realise they are like this. So if this isn't you just have a laugh anyway. Ok so a teacher does not get time during their work hours to do this. This is most teacher's battle amongst their friends who constantly give us grief about all the school holidays we get and being a Kindy teacher it seemed I really had the easiest job in the world. Cam would find it funny asking me how cutting and singing nursery rhymes was for my day and while he found that funny I had other thoughts in my head of how to respond but lets not go there. Anyway that was a side note but I am just painting a picture that a report takes around 1 to 2 hours per child to write plus editing at the end. For a class of between 20 and 30 children that is a lot of hours and this is all done outside of work because you still have to teach everyday, plan and prepare lessons as per normal. So before tearing the report open from it's envelope, appreciate the effort and time that went into that. Those reports are written for you to keep you updated with your child's progress. which brings me to my next helpful tip. Don't read them outside of the class and with the other parents. The teacher is watching you do this and it's embarrassing and stressful. Sometimes things have to be written in there that is hard for even the teacher to write and most likely hard for you to read. Your child's report card is between you, your child and your teacher, not your parent friends. Can you see why I don't look forward to report time! A parent screaming in my face after spending 30 seconds reading a report that took 2 hours to write isn't the best start to my deserved term break.
This is now our third report card from school for Jack and being on the other side as a mum, I get some parent's overly enthused reactions. And no, I did not join in anything like that I witnessed. I should add, big brownie points to the parent's in Jack's class class because I don't think I saw a single parent open theirs outside the classroom, so go us awesome mums! As we walked across the oval, Jack skipped a little ahead of me and I could see the corner of the yellow envelope hanging out of his unzipped bag (no wonder he loses things like hats). I was itching to get my hands on it and flick through the ticks to see where Jack scoped across the subjects. The questions were flooding my head. Is he clever? I think he is but does his teacher? Is he well behaved? Is he coordinated? Seriously girl, get a grip of yourself! We drove home and I told the kids it was free time while mummy has a cup of tea and does some important reading. If I add the word important or work to things I do, my kids seem to think they shouldn't bother me then. I try to not overuse it too much in case they stop caring. Finally with a tea in hand and the report, I read through it. I called Jack over and gave him the biggest hug and pointed out some sentences I knew he would love hearing and would be great for his confidence. He was beaming and that was suddenly all I cared about.
As a teacher so many parents want to constantly know where their kids range in the class with that secret hope it's at the top. Mental note, if your kids see you do this, they start to compete with other kids too and the pressure is on. Even in Kindy! Don't have the expectation Jack is at the top either because his mum is a teacher because he's not. He's a perfectly average child and for Jack, I wouldn't want him anywhere else. You see I don't want Jack competing to be top or worrying about falling to the bottom. What reading level he is on now in Year One is not going to determine his year 12 results. Jack is the type of kid that gets easily overwhelmed and he is a bit of a perfectionist in that he wants to get things right the first time so loses confidence in trying. That's a personality trait by the way not anything we have done to him. For Jack to stay amongst the average and work through his school year focussing on things like 'just have a go' and 'learning from mistakes' I think he will be much better set up for his future when he is faced with a challenge.
So when reading your child's report whatever the result may be, remember it's not a competition, it's an education. The teacher is not out to get you but to help you know your child from a learning perspective. The whole world doesn't need to know their results although I have no issues with parent brags, I just do if it makes others feel like they should worry about their kids learning. Finally the most important of all is to congratulate your child. They are very aware of the important note in that yellow envelope so don't read it and put it away never to be seen again. Celebrate the positives and encourage the negatives. If you want to talk to your child's teacher about the report make an appointment and start your meeting with what you liked about it. With the concerns you bring up, be on the same team as the teacher. It is no help to your child's learning getting each other offside so work together because that's what it's all about really!
Happy Report Reading Mummas
© The Realistic Mum
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