Report season is upon us, and for many teachers, it is an uncomfortable time of year that can be very stressful. The overwhelming amount of reports looming over teachers is quite a headache.
There must be many questions that come to new teachers’ minds when their first report season comes around. “What do I say?” “How much time will it take?” “Where do I start? “How do I personalize all of my reports?”
Feeling clueless about writing your student reports? Don’t worry, here are 7 tips to help you survive report writing season and come out the other side with a smile!
1.Organization is key
It may sound obvious, but keeping clear records throughout the year is invaluable come-report writing season. With good records on each student, teachers can give parents a clear view of their child’s progress and development since the previous report the year before. Remember, any work is often halfway done if there is a proper organisation.
2.Be clear and straightforward (stick to the point)
Parents want a clear and concise evaluation of their child, anything else is a waste of time. For first time teachers, many can stray off topic about curriculum and unnecessary information, yet, parents just want to know how the child is doing (their achievements, their weaknesses and what they are working on) in the class, and little else.
3.Use positive, not negative language
A positive approach to difficulties in student performance shows the parents and student there is a solution, not just a problem.
Instead of “Peter doesn’t concentrate” try “Peter must try harder to improve his motivation and concentration in class.” This highlights weaknesses and problem areas, but in a way in which the child has something to work towards.
4. Use examples and evidence to support your point
If you can use examples to back yourself up and make your point come across easier. For example, if students work has improved and been showcased eg on the wall or in the hallway, then say so! Parents love to hear of their child’s work improving. If your student is struggling in class with work or attendance, then use examples and evidence to support this.
5. Get yourself a buddy reader
If you are a teacher at a large high school, you could be writing hundreds of report cards. In order to stay focused and concise in your writing for every single report, have someone read over it before you submit them, a fresh set of eyes will save you from writing sub-standard reports.
6. Take your time.
Too many reports are not good enough because they are rushed. Set yourself a timeline with little deadlines along the way to break up the work into smaller chunks. Don’t leave them to the last minute, and set yourself a deadline to finish all of the reports at least a week in advance, just in case!
7. Don’t Patronise or Exaggerate.
Although you will be told to write in plain English, no teacher jargon, remember your audience is adults, act accordingly. Don’t exaggerate just to make the student or parents like you. eg “Katy produces some of the best essay writing in Australia”
There you have it, if you are about to take the plunge into your reports and are feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath, read these tips once more, and get stuck in!