Teacher Gets A Final Report Card: B-

Students holding report cards.
Image via Wikipedia

It is report card time again.

I give one to each of my students and my students give one to me.

I started this earlier this year and I did very well in the first quarter.

My students tell me that in some ways I improved as the year went on. In other ways I did not.

As in the past, I let each student decide what criteria was important to them and how they would grade me. I do this so I don’t impose my idea of what is important on them.

On my first report card I got very favorable grades. This time the students were more discerning.

“We always learn something in class (Progress: 75%) but you need to be more tough (Discipline 40%) Overall grade: 65,” wrote one boy.

“You as a person: A+. You as a teacher: C-. Surprise tests are never a good idea,” a girl explained.

But another student wrote, “You always prepared us for tests, you always spent extra time with me when I didn’t understand something.”

Two students said I get out of control sometimes, and two others asked how I manage to keep myself under control all the time (deep breathing I learned in yoga class).

Many students offered suggestions for how I could improve:

speak more clearly.

explain more, even when we don’t ask questions.

give more work.

be a tougher disciplinarian.

control the class better.

get a different job.

Other students appreciated that I:

gave choices about assignments.

assigned a lot of projects.

played music and served food from the countries we studied.

am open to criticism.

don’t hold grudges.

Today I also told my 6th grade students that I would be their homeroom and social studies teacher next year.

Only two people shouted out “OH, NO!”

Three girls hugged me. Two boys hugged me.

When report cards are what you seek you see they come in all forms.

One troubled boy tried to throw a chair at me.

Another boy stopped him.

In my mind, that’s a B- average.

Lots of room for improvement, indeed.

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10 Responses to Teacher Gets A Final Report Card: B-

  1. Joel Heffner says:

    Your students seem to prove that you don’t have to be an A+ teacher to be a good teacher. For too many students, an A+ teacher probably wouldn’t be what we would consider a good teacher.

  2. Justin says:

    WOW! That is so powerful. I did an end of the year teacher survey on Google Docs with my 4th graders this year. It was a great way to reflect on the year.

    But, I like the every quarter plan. I also love how you allow the students to pick their own criterion. Very inspiring. Thank you.
    - @newfirewithin

  3. This is one group who didn’t give you an easy A!

    Great to hear the criteria and the different perspectives.

    I appreciate teachers who speak clearly, give explanations, talk about countries and are open to more learning.

  4. While I don’t like report cards, I feel this type of self-reflection is important. I try to do it every couple of weeks. I love that you left the criteria up to the students. I never thought to do that and will adopt it next year. As always, thank you for your very real glimpses into your classroom.

  5. Joan Young says:

    As always, your open reflection and candid sharing are inspiring. I love the way you let the students decide the criteria on which to evaluate you. I am sure the experience was powerful for both you and them. Thanks for sharing!

  6. carla arena says:

    Wow! Loved the idea, even more so because it shows us we can always improve, that different students will have different perceptions about our work, and that no matter what we do, we’ll never please everyone, so we should keep a balance of class activities to tap into more students’ needs and interests.

  7. whatedsaid says:

    I love this post :)
    I often get feedback from my students in the form of written reflections or quick comments on what they thought of a particular learning experience, but hadn’t thought of a report card! We’re doing mid-year reports now in Aus… maybe I’ll try your idea too. Thanks!

  8. wrtngtchr says:

    I fully agree with your commitment to giving your students a voice in the classroom. I’ve been teaching for 30+ years but I’ve only done a final written evaluation of my teaching for about 5 years. I think that practice alone has improved my teaching as much as any professional development or commitment on my part to “try new things.”

    No one can evaluate teaching any more accurately than students.

    Last semester I realized I could have made some mid-term corrections if I had given my students an opportunity to evaluate my teaching every 4-6 weeks.

    Thanks for the post. It reminds me of why student evaluation is so important.

  9. Lucas says:

    Thanks for posting this, it takes a lot of courage to post such an unfiltered view. Great post and keep up the good work!

  10. Great idea. I had a chuckle too! Thanks.

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