I wish I could tell you that the letter grades and all the test data that I have spent hours over the last week compiling and entering onto your child’s report card mattered to me. I wish I could tell you that those numbers and letters are the best indication of what your child is learning in my classroom. I wish I could tell you that by looking at your child’s scores as compared to “benchmarks”, I know exactly what your child has learned so far and what he or she needs to learn in the second half of the school year. But, I can’t do that.
The letter grades that I am required to give (with an admonition to not inflate grades) and the testing data that I am required to report honestly are there simply because I am required to report it. Of course, you have seen tests come home with grades on them and you’ve seen work come home that isn’t graded as well. Of course, I KNOW what your child knows, but it’s not because we’ve spent the last two weeks assessing your child.
I know your child because I have had the distinct honor and privilege to have your child call me “teacher” and because you have trusted me with your precious child every school day. I know your child because we TALK to one another. We have actual conversations. We problem solve together. We ask questions together. We find answers together. Sometimes, your child hugs me exactly at the moment I need it, and sometimes I hug your child at exactly the right time too.
I can tell you how much your child has grown academically, but more importantly how much your child has grown as a person. Perhaps your child is one who wouldn’t stand and speak for Show and Tell in September – now your child is enthusiastically sharing! Perhaps you spoke to me about your concerns that your child had some “behavior issues” last year – now your child is part of a classroom community and those issues are gone. Perhaps your child was a little afraid of giving a wrong answer – now your child knows that we all make mistakes and that’s a sign of learning. As I tell them, if I had given up on riding a bike the first time I fell, I’d have never learned.
So, as you look at the report card that comes home, remember that your child is so much MORE than some letters and numbers! Your child is special and unique and I wouldn’t want it any other way!