Workshops (with a comment): this year we started more workshops. Just like many of you in open spaces, I have experienced open learning workshop spaces for 6 years now and the one major difference that occurred this year has made things so simple. After each workshop, the teacher who has taught them gathers the data and documents one comment of what the child has achieved and one comment on where to next. It makes life so much simpler. You do need to have full trust and faith in your colleagues which I do. The more parent friendly the language that the comments are written in, it makes it easier for all to understand. The comments are easier to construct as the students are already in needs based groups. Using this system, I had more comments to use than ever. The hardest task was pasting all of the items over from Google docs. Mindless work that I actually don’t mind. The junior teachers set aside 15 minutes a day while the children were independently reading to upload comments and data to Google Docs and sheets. Not only did the kids increase their reading stamina but deadlines for data uploads were met. Each child had evidence and a report comment as learning progressed.
Writing the general comment using a checklist for social, emotional and learning skills: I developed a checklist of all of the social, emotional and personal learning comments that were appropriate for children two years below and 3 years ahead. Better safe than sorry! Then I simply went down the list, checked what I thought that they did always, sometimes or never. Then I chatted to all the kids one to one in a learning conversation. We discussed who they played with, what they played etc. Kids are honest and you certainly call them if you disagree. At the end I simply picked four they had improved the most with and two major social and personal learning goals. Knowing the kids, combined with the data and I felt that the general teacher comment was a breeze.
I only do 3 reports a night and then clocked off: this one has been something that I have had to learn over the years. I used to be a last minute kind of report writer. Or I would put my whole life on hold to write these things. Yes, that included my husband, family and social events. There would be nothing but reports. I made myself change. Why? Because I got tired of the stress that overwhelmed me when I had to do it all at once. A goal of three a night was mentally more manageable than 15 a weekend or 20 in two days. I made sure that I went stopped only when three had been completed. I then went home feeling a sense of accomplishment and momentum, not stress at what was in front of me.
I did all of my reports at work: Yes, I stayed back until those three reports are done. Even if it was six o clock. Why? Because report writing is stressful enough and I did not wish that to enter my house or cloud my family and friends. My time and space after work is mine. So every report that I did is completed at school. Even if it meant going to school on the weekend. I found this had made a major difference to my overall stress levels and wellbeing.
So whether you consider these reflections for next year or think of them soon, I hope that some of these words of wisdom that I shared can help move you forward on your report writing journey. After all, they are an important part of your teaching job. If you have a better way or have your own wisdom to share, drop us a line! #reportwriting #studentreports #education #twocreativeteachers