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Kid, you are brilliant…

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Grading and the time it takes to enter grades has always been a pain in my butt.  I have always preferred to sit with a kid and talk about what they are doing, or sit with a parent and talk about their kid, rather than just label them with a letter and two canned three word comments offered up by the computer.

Also, as it gets more and more challenging to be a teacher, I find that the canned comments don’t accurately express my true sentiments about them.  So now I pretty much choose “Exemplary Behavior” for every kid (or, in some instances, will speak in other codes. For instance, if they talk a lot, I’ll put “Satisfactory Behavior” or in the rare instance that I feel I no longer have a relationship with a student and I simply need parental help, I will mark “Below Average Behavior.”)  I really wish I could be truthful and write what I feel.   I really wish I could let them know what I am really thinking about their kids who cause me so much stress, give me so many problems, and make my life as a teacher so very difficult each day.  Thus, for this blog, allow me to vent a bit about “those” kids, you know the ones I am talking about.  Every teacher has one or two, and at one point I taught in a school with 100 of them.

I will list the comments I’d like to see added to the canned comment list, as an accurate reflection of what I really want to leave as comments on report cards. Here they are, in no particular order:

I wish I could figure out a way to keep your parents together.

Having the label special ed really sucks, doesn’t it?

You don’t really want me to yell at you, you’re just looking for attention.  I can’t give you a hug, but the next time you get that pat on the back in the hallway please let it count for one.

It’s so frustrating to be the last kid in the class to “get it” everyday…see me tomorrow and I’ll give you the answer to the first question 🙂

I know you hate playing the school “game.”  Let’s see what game we can create using your talents that will allow you to reach your potential, and still fit into the “rules” of school.

You are so quiet in class, but I really value your opinion and would like to hear your voice tomorrow.  It’s ok if you don’t,  I will still enjoy saying good morning to you every day.

I know this class seems challenging, but we’ll work together and get you through it.

Kid, you are brilliant, but if you just sit on your butt everyday no one will ever know it!  We have a lot to learn from you so I need your help in setting a positive example for some of the kids who are struggling.

You may think that you are annoying me, you might be trying your best.  But see, I am twice your age, I have had 100;s of students before you, and I simply don’t have time to be annoyed or get mad at you.  There is nothing you are going to do or say that will get me mad at you, I simply don’t have the time in my life or energy left at the end of the day to waste on getting mad.  Now I know you have been trying your best to get me mad and been trying your best to annoy me, but I am pretty sure that you will enjoy class, your day, our relationship if, for just once, you walk in with a smile and take one back from me.  Give me one day kid.

You were right to stand up in the middle of class yesterday, the squirrels mating outside the window were more interesting than my lesson on Andrew Jackson.

You have been so courageous in dealing with the death of your dear pet.

It’s ok you slipped and swore at me today.  If I was going through what you were, I would be swearing a lot more too.

I tried, but the authorities won’t do anything about your dad without proof.

Remember when I read “The Giving Tree” to you on the first day of school?  The stump in my classroom is always there when you need it.

Next time you need some space just give me the signal.

I am so sorry your dad died.  Tell me one thing I can do to help you out at school.

Do you see this gray hair?  It wasn’t there yesterday.  You gave it to me, and I am pretty sure you gave me 36 others last week.  Even when you give me a gray hair I will treat you the same way I did on the first day of school everyday.  You don’t have to earn my respect, you have it.  And tomorrow when you walk in I will still see a superstar, because that’s what you are, you just haven’t figured out how to use your powers yet.

I have bad days, too.  And when I do, I spend every minute hoping that someone will show me a little compassion, while I try to hold it all inside just like you.

I think there is a way for me to manually write in comments on the computerized report cards, but I don’t think I will. Because by the time they receive their report card, they will have already heard the comment straight from my lips.

What other comments would you add?

7 comments

  1. I needed this right now. I’m so frustrated with how I’m responding to my students (and, to be honest, my daughters). I’m grateful for another chance, or push, to reflect seriously on what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and how to make a positive change.

  2. Thank you! I’m bookmarking this for my future “Need a pick-me-up day” file! I worked with students who had dropped out and decided they wanted to drop back in after the school system wouldn’t take them back (17-21 y.o.). Some were dreams to work with, but most because of years of abuse by teachers and parents fought me tooth and nail on doing their work. I was laid off due lack of funds, but hope to use this to remind me of why I became a teacher. I can’t wait to get back in the classroom.

  3. Excellent response, sir. I shared the bad example with some of my students yesterday and had a debate about what the school should have done with that teacher. Now I will show them this one as an example of what I strive to be as a teacher.

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