School reports can make for some confusing reading. Our undercover teacher, who works at one of Britain’s top schools, decodes the most common, seemingly benign, comments below. This will you you with understanding your child’s school report.
“This year in Geography we have been studying oxbow lakes, global mega cities and how to develop a thick skin when other humanities students (and teachers) ask if they can borrow a colouring pencil.
“[Insert name] has been an absolute pleasure / an exhausting, life-shortening challenge to teach, shining in a bright set / setting new lows of mediocrity in a very weak set. She has a very bright future in this subject and should definitely consider it at A-level / he should perhaps study something less challenging, like PE, instead.” [delete as appropriate]
While the copy and paste function certainly makes report writing slightly quicker these days, we teachers don’t, sadly, get to have as much fun with the medium as our colleagues did in the past. Any of the alternative, perhaps more realistic, sentences in the sample above would rightly have us hauled in front of irate parents, tearful children and sympathetic (to them) senior management
Tempora Mutantur. When I was at school (in the Seventies), teachers’ comments were taken seriously by parents, even (perhaps especially) when their handwriting was illegible. Targets were set for the holidays off the back of able essayists who rarely called a metal-wood-composite-sharp-edged-manual-digging object anything other than a spade.
Today’s anodyne reports, written in an era when even the most constructive criticism comes partially veiled, are rather harder to decipher, especially for parents not fully versed in educational euphemism.
I had to look up her name to check if she’d really been in my class all year.
A VERY ACTIVE CONTRIBUTOR TO CLASSROOM DISCUSSION
Pleeeease make him stop talking.
A PLEASURE TO TEACH
She laughs at my jokes.
Shows up, mostly.
Shows up, with a pen.
Shows up, with a pen with ink in it.
AFTER A SLOW START TO THE ACADEMIC YEAR…
He only started working in May when you threatened to ban him from playing Fortnite.
SHE IS CAPABLE OF SHOWING A REAL INTEREST IN THE SUBJECT
She likes videos when I’ve forgotten to plan anything.
I WOULD SUGGEST SOME WIDER READING AROUND THE SUBJECT
Please read something (anything) that’s longer than an #instagram caption.
SHE WILL HAVE QUITE A LOT OF CATCHING UP TO DO OVER THE HOLIDAYS IF HER EXAM RESULTS ARE TO DO HER JUSTICE
Remortgage now and start tutoring. (Incidentally, I am available for the very reasonable rate of £100 per hour.)
HIS WORK HASN’T YET LIVED UP TO EXPECTATIONS
Yes, he’s lazy, but the real problem is your hopelessly unrealistic expectations.
I HOPE SHE RETURNS IN SEPTEMBER WITH RENEWED ENTHUSIASM FOR HER STUDIES
Have you looked at other schools in the area?
I HOPE HE ENJOYS AN INVIGORATING SUMMER
Hahahahaha, he’s all yours now.
I HOPE SHE ENJOYS A RESTFUL SUMMER
I know both of us are looking forward equally to a six-week period of enforced separation.
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