Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Truths From the Alabama Teacher of the Year: Truth #2--Children Matter More Than Report Cards

It's the end of the first nine weeks, and lots of learning and growing has happened every single day since that very first day of school.
Somehow, we're supposed to capture that learning and the worth of that learning in a report card and then share it with the students and parents this week.  Yes, I will follow the rules and post grades and give a report card to every child in my class.

But here's the deal....the report card won't ever give the true picture of a child, and I don't ever want children or their families to base a child's worth and learning on numbers, letters, or standards printed on a fancy piece of paper.
Here's the letter, printed on not so fancy paper, that I'll ask the children and parents to read first, before they even look at the report card.

It's a gift and a blessing to live inside a classroom each day with these children and see the true learning and teaching that takes place. If you'd like to see what learning looks like in a 21st century elementary classroom, we invite you to come spend the day with us anytime.
October 15, 2014
Dear Amazing Kids (Who are Learning AND Teaching),

It’s report card time, and before you look at your report card we would like for you to read this letter.  We want you to always remember that YOU are more important than numbers, letter grades, or scores.  It’s your hard work, your never-give-up-attitude, your determination, your willingness to help others, and your character that matter most….not just now, but forever. 

Please remember that one grade on a report card doesn’t always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique, and it certainly can’t tell the complete and wonderful story of you.

The report card can never show that you are a guitar player or that you want to be a fashion designer or a vet when you grow up. It won’t ever show how your friends count on you to be there for them or that your laughter brightens our days.

The report card doesn’t show that you are writing sophisticated pieces with wisdom worth quoting each day, that you beg for reading workshop to continue and lead your own book clubs, that you know All in a Day by heart, and that you are in the middle of planning the next project to make the world more awesome!

The report card will never be able to tell everyone how hard you work each day in developing a growth mindset or that you remember to save a seat for a friend who needs a lunch buddy or that you have created your very own Twitter account to share your learning with the world.

The report card has no way of showing what you wonder about the future, or that sometimes you take care of your little brother or sister and wipe their tears when they are sad.

It doesn’t show that you have traveled to really neat places with sugar sandy beaches or snow capped mountains, that you’re being brave for your dad and working to find a cure for his illness or that you’ve been through a big change in home and school these first few months.

The report card can’t tell that you know how to tell a great story or that you really love spending time with special family members and friends.  It won’t tell us that you are tenderhearted and have secretly penned a beautiful poem to honor your mom’s best friend who lost her battle with cancer.

It doesn’t show that you are trustworthy, kind or thoughtful, and that you try, every day, to be your very best.

The report card will tell you something, but it will not tell you everything. You are growing forward as a learner and a person every day, and you are evidence that there are many ways to be smart and kind and awesome (even if you never kiss Beyoncé : >)

We’re looking forward to even more learning and growing and teaching with you this year!

Love and happy first nine weeks,
Ms. Corgill and Ms. D.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Very inspiring. Thank you for reminding me to look past the grades to the students (and teachers) behind them. There is so much more to these kids than the grade they receive. Much appreciated, First Year Teacher.

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