Technically, we call it Progress Report time. If you don’t work in the Education field, it’s still a report card. We just like to have our own little language… (insert eyeroll here).
The Progress Report is the teacher’s initial observations of your child’s progress so far, after two and half months of learning. Sometimes this one can be the most difficult to write because it is early in the school year, and we are still getting to know our students. And then there’s the added challenge of writing negative things in a positive way…
What the teacher wants to write:
Brian is showing talent in the area of stealing, cheating and lying. His leadership of the little gang-type posse of five-year-olds is impressive. He shows potential to become a masterful criminal and mob boss in a few years. Brian can be quite convincing with far-fetched tales; he might be headed into politics someday, if the life of overt crime doesn’t pan out!
What the teacher actually writes:
Brian understands that his words and actions can affect others. He gives compliments to his classmates and celebrates learning with them, and accepts positive messages as well. He demonstrated that well when we talked about filling each other’s buckets and clearly focussed on that for a while. He has strong convictions and will stand up for a friend or for something he believes in. He recognizes that he can use language to express his thoughts and opinions, but listens to differing points of view, understanding that we do not all think the same way. Brian is still learning to take responsibility for his actions, and to accept consequences when they are necessary. He shows leadership skills as he organizes games outside (e.g., soccer or tag) and leads activities such as making forts, caves, tunnels, or booby traps. He often leads the play indoors as well during imaginative play at the block area, where Brian’s creativity and ingenuity is most regularly demonstrated. He is learning to accept the ideas and opinions of others, sometimes integrating them into his play and allowing the direction of the play to change. Over the summer, if possible, having play dates with children his age will give him more opportunities to grow socially as well. (Taken from an actual report card with the name changed)
If you need help reading between the lines of your own child’s report card, ask a teacher. We are trained to put an upbeat spin on all the undesirable behaviour.
“He is learning to use his words to express his feelings” means “Your child hits, kicks, pushes and pulls hair.”
“She is learning to take turns and allow others to win sometimes when playing a game” means “Your child has a tantrum every time she doesn’t win a game.”
It’s an art. One they don’t even teach you in Teacher’s College.
My Progress Report
I wonder if the Great Teacher is penning a report to record how well I’m doing in this School of Life?
Am I learning to get along with others? Do I have perseverance to stick with difficult tasks? Am I a quick learner who applies newly acquired knowledge to my work? Do I show respect to my Teacher with my words and actions? Do I follow expectations?
I stand on Val’s Stage today, not as a teacher, but as a student: a student of Christ. What do I need to do to get that top grade that I will be proud to share with my loved ones?
“She is still learning to use her words to stick up for herself and to ask for strength from her Father” means “She runs from conflict.”
“She demonstrates a growing perseverance in her prayer life” means “She falls asleep on her prayers every night.”
“She is learning to take responsibility for incomplete or overdue assignments” means “She makes excuses for why she isn’t following God’s plan such as “I don’t have enough time right now.””
Studying the Christian Handbook
My textbook is the Word of God – the Bible. It tells me what I have to do to get a good grade. I can let it collect dust on a shelf, or I can study it and learn about God and His love.
How well we do in school depends on our motivation and initiative. I have to want to learn. I have to apply myself to the learning
Yes, God loves me unconditionally, whether I’m a Bible scholar or not, but He gave us His Word as a guide. I think He’d like us to use it. He provided it because He loves us. He wants us to know Him better and to walk in His ways.
His ways are what is best for me – He knows this because He created me.
Thank you, Lord, for Your Word. Help me to make time to study it and to apply its truths to my life. Help me to strive to be more like You, not for a high score, but to show my love for You.
If you feel like you wouldn’t get a very positive Progress Report right now, you likely have time to turn that around. The Gospel of John is a great place to start reading. John tells us how much God loved us and His plan that preceded our creation.
Any search engine will find free access to the Bible online in many, many translations. My favourite is the New Living Translation (or NLT for short). The YouVersion app is also free to download to your smartphone. It gives you numerous versions and even the option of having the text read aloud to you.
One F on a report card doesn’t mean we should quit school.
It means we have more to learn.