Stress, Perception, and Reality

I have been under a lot of stress this year. I thought I knew how to write good report cards. I’ve done it enough times over the years. The problem is that each principal has his or her own ideas of what they want to see on these things. I had an idea of what my principal wanted this year and I tried my best to write good report cards. I handed them in and waited for her response.

My principal wanted me to change a few things on the report cards. This is normal, but I struggled all week over some of the changes she wanted me to make.

The principal didn’t tell me to change my grades but she suggested that the kids were a bit higher than I had given them credit for.

I know where my students are at academically. All of my marks are well-documented and can be backed up using the curriculum and supporting documents. My comments reflected what the students know and what they need to work on to improve their marks and further their academic success.

Yeah my expectations are high, but I am following the curriculum and supporting documents.
I know that some of my students are going to feel like their grades have taken a dive. I know that I will have to battle that perception. I knew that a month ago.

The principal has a lot of things to account for. If the marks are low, the perception might be that the teacher and principal are not doing their jobs. But the truth is, there is a lot more to education than the school. I’ve written about this a lot here on this blog.

I thought about changing my grades because of this perception but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t, in good conscience, inflate the grades. I changed the comments as my principal had suggested. They now sound a little more positive and not so blunt; that is a good thing. But I left the grades the same.

I hope that my marks will wake up some of my students and their parents. My students should have higher marks. They should be achieving more at school. But the problem is that they need to put in the effort and they need to work harder at home and at school. They need support at home and they need to be independent learners.

Hopefully the reality of this will sink in this year. Hopefully I won’t be battling a perception over the next few months. But I’m not sure.

Report cards are done, my stress level is down for the moment. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens during parent interviews next week.