Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I will NOT let this get to me this year. I WON'T.

Every term, around reporting time, I freak out. It's a crazy assessment time for my students, and we're finishing up units right left and center. That means lots of tests/projects. Which means lots of marking. PLUS, there's the added job of creating the report cards.

This year is, of course, a whole new ball game. These puppies matter. As terrible as it is, I knew hardly anyone really cared about their kids recorder mark. I still did the best I could, but there wasn't as much pressure as I'm feeling now. Because Language Arts? Math? Yeah, they care.

It's right around now that I am looking at the format of the report: opening comments (a personal statement about each child - which is easy for some, but soo hard for others - and comments on their work habits, behaviour, etc), letter grades (those are the easy part - I just factor in everything I've been doing all term), comments (those scare me - how to make them general enough that I don't end up with 50 comments for every subject, and specific enough that I'm actually saying something. Plus there's the whole 'saying things diplomatically' thing...), and then goals and support plan, which should be easy enough.

BUT, what ends up happening are two things. First, I get sooo overwhelmed by the job that I feel paralyzed. I need to learn how to manage my teaching better so everything doesn't happen at crunch time, or just make a cut off date and say, oops, too bad, those'll count on the next term.

But more than that, this is a time when I really start to doubt myself as a teacher. Have I done this right? What if I haven't covered this? Is this really a fair mark? Could I have covered more? If they can't do xyz, is it because I haven't taught them well enough?

Looking at the task ahead of me, mostly because it's the first time I'm doing it, freaks the living daylights out of me.

Oh, it'll get done, and it will be fine, I'm sure. But I put such unrealistic expectations on myself and then end up putting myself through hell for two weeks until it actually is finished. Where's the balance between wanting to do the best job I possibly can and then just letting go and realizing that it's ok if I'm not perfect???


Off I go to keep slogging through it...


happy and blue 2 said...

Teachers really need a different system of doing report cards. Or a cheat sheet full of witty comments you just have to cut and paste.
Good luck..

Queen Bee said...

Lotsa hugs for you, Hillary, I just know that you are a great teacher. Deep breaths, you'll get through this too!

Rose said...

I hated report card time when I taught. I really feel for you b/c i remember the paralysis that gripped me during those weeks... and the self-doubt... My principal was very picky about what we were "allowed" to write on report cards and made us change stuff she did not like.