Monday, 18 November 2019

Report cards

remember them?
They used to go home in sealed envelopes - yes? Your teacher wrote one at the end of each term, along with your final marks - the marks you got for your end of term or end of year "tests" or "examinations". (They were "tests" in the infants and junior school and "exams" in the secondary school.)
I have memories of the early reports. They didn't bother me too much. I'd get "full marks" for things like spelling and nothing at all for "writing".  It was what I expected. 
My maternal grandparents told me I would get a watch if I managed to come first, second or third in what would now be Year 5. They thought they were safe because no child who was consistently given nothing at all for "writing" could expect to get to those giddy heights. I managed it. There was an argument about whether I should get the watch. On learning of the argument my paternal grandparents offered to buy it instead. I remember hearing my paternal grandfather say,
     "The child has done what was asked of her."
Yes, I suppose I had.
In the last two years of the junior school (years 6 & 7) I was taught by the Senior Cat. He wrote reports because he had to write reports. My mother would sign them - because they had to be signed by a  parent. There were no comments - just marks. My parents knew, or thought they knew, how well or badly I was doing. 
It was the same for my siblings.
Report cards have been in the news recently. Changes are being made to the way parents are being informed. Ms W came in yesterday and told me,
    "We still get reports but the boys over the road have to write their own."
We discussed this. Ms W was not impressed.  I asked her what she would say if she had to write hers. All her previous reports have been excellent.
For once all she could say was,
    "I don't know. I guess I'm doing okay."

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