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18th of January 2018

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Stressful, time-consuming, useless: Teachers grade school reports

Reports are stressful and time-consuming - wouldn't it be wonderful if they could also be truthful? NEON BRAND/UNSPLASH

Reports are stressful and time-consuming - wouldn't it be wonderful if they could also be truthful?

Reports would be great, if you could tell the truth - Lisa Bryant

Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to tell the truth in reports? Your child is not gifted. Your child annoys others on purpose. Your child is not kind. Your child is lazy. How refreshing.

I have written reports at least twice a year for more than 13 years. They would be a wonderful opportunity to make a difference if you could say what you really wanted.

Your thoughts on school reports Share your stories, photos and videos.

Honest remarks have to be rewritten - often by a senior member of staff - so as not to annoy parents. Constructive feedback is replaced by waffley, non-committal remarks.

READ MORE:* Why are we punishing teachers more than students?* The problem with a school report* School Report: Take a kid's eye view

Reporting to parents is a key part of our job, but often it makes little difference. Some parents are only concerned with academic growth, regardless of the pace their child learns at.

Schools are, of course, concerned with their image. We have to be seen to be making 'progress'.

I wonder if, after all the hours we spend writing these blasted things, avoiding using the kids’ name to start every sentence, trying to put things in the correct sentence, parents actually read them properly.

In most cases, parents who care and want to have an input in their child’s education will come to see you, and the report gives you something to talk about.

But a piece of paper - does it really mean anything?

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Reports are stressful, but necessary - Philip Leaning

I'm a high school teacher and, yes, writing reports is a tremendously stressful and tiring exercise to go through. But reporting to parents is essential - and any teacher who doesn't personalise them, even if stock phrases are used, is regarded as an idiot by their colleagues.

Unfortunately, by the time something is reported on it’s often too late for the parent to do anything about it.

Thankfully, my school is starting a new system next year in which we will not report at set times but will be able to report via the online Parent Portal. We will be able to voice concern or praise and give feedback as often as needed when students are actually working on assessments, rather than at arbitrary set times.

This will make reporting far more useful to parents and teachers.

Teachers don’t get to know students - Name Withheld

I am a recently retired secondary school teacher. At high school level, report comments have to be very generic, as the teacher often has very little contact with students.

An example - I saw a class of 35 students for one term, twice a week, for 45 minutes each lesson. It is virtually impossible to get to any individual's strengths and weaknesses in that time. Curriculum clutter is the problem.

I put the effort in, at report time and year-round - Name Withheld

As a secondary mathematics teacher, I write every report individually and don’t do any copying and pasting.

It makes writing 130 of them quite onerous, but parents and students recognise the effort and I like to think that they take heed of the advice as a result.

If an urgent matter arises that should not wait for a report, a phone call or email is perfect and can quickly address issues that would otherwise limit the student’s learning or enjoyment.

Loss of enjoyment for a subject is a sign of difficulty not being addressed by the student and should be passed on to the teacher before waiting for a report.

We get upset when students take time off school for a family holiday, yet a worse problem is a student’s potential negativity towards learning not being taken seriously for months.

 - Stuff Nation

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