Twice a semester we as teachers are given the assignment to report on each student’s individual progress in their academics, social, spiritual, physical, etc-eral well-being in school. So, six times a year, I’m suppose to think of 146 clever and original statements to describe children that, for the most part, are the same all year long. Every year. For the three years I have them. It is the marathon of all mental marathons. I get to a point where I’m like, “Amanda? I don’t remember a student named Amanda… what grade is she in? What? Who am I?” and I get tunnel vision around the computer screen and make myself go downstairs to steal candy and bug the secretaries, under the guise of “stretching my legs.”

It is actually one of the sweeter things about teaching at my school, how much we value each individual child in the unique way that God made him or her, and feel it is our calling as teachers to reach out and instruct and guide that tiny person in a way that works for them. But when it comes to the last 20 or so report cards to fill out, I’m so delirious I’d rather stick smiley faces in the boxes for kids I like a lot and “phhhhhhppppttt!” fart bubbles in the kids that bug me. But I hold back. A little.

As I’m typing in phrases like “Johnny is doing well in all areas. He is a pleasure to have in class.” generally I am actually wishing I could write what I really feel, which might look something like this:

Kids I like:

“If she was a grown up, I think we could go shopping together, because on Free Dress days, I really like her clothes.”

“Good thing this one has older brothers, because she is cute as a button and gonna be trouble when she’s older!”

“Can you make more kids like this one? Because this one can stay.”

“Will  you guys invite me over for dinner? I like you.”

“One time, Suzy made me laugh so hard I had a little bit of water come out my nose. What a firecracker.”

“I really enjoy discussing Harry Potter/gLee/Twilight with your kid. Winner!”

“Aw. Hugs!”

“I will forever cherish the sweet notes from Bobby written in Sharpie on my Bible.”

“Thumbs up on this one!”

That’s all nice. What’s more fun is to think about the kids that bug me a little. I want to say that I do, truly, love every single student I have. In some way. For some reason. If nothing else, they make me appreciate my singleness and childless lifestyle. Or they make me laugh.

“Please tell your child to quit whining about assignments and tests. School is their job. Life gets much harder. Suck it up.”

“Please stop doing your child’s homework for them. They will not learn anything.”

“I am not sure why this is so hard, but every day that you child does not come to class with a pencil and paper and their textbook, they will lose points. Those are required materials EVERY DAY. Because its SCHOOL.”

“Your child goes to the bathroom out of boredom for ten minutes every day in my class. Class is 50 minutes long. They have a C. You do the math on how much instruction they’re missing.”

“No, I will not give extra credit to help students who won’t even do their regular work.”

“I would like to recommend some deodorant for your child. After lunch… is just not okay.”

“After meeting you parents at conferences, I understand so much more about your student. Yikes.”

“Your child talks so much I am afraid to pause for a breath during lecture. Please make that stop.”

“Please tell Timmy to cut back on the Axe. It makes me gag.”

“Please tell Jilly to cut back on the eyeliner, stop rolling up her skirt, and stop flirting with boys. They are only 11 and still think she has cooties. Slow down, sister.”

What is fun for the students is that I totally will let the tables turn. Halfway through the year I give out a “Teacher Report Card” where they can anonymously fill out things about me, like if they think I like them, how hard the material is, how much time they have to spend on homework, if they get my jokes, if they feel they can ask for help when they need it, etc. So, the tables do get turned. I love trying to guess the student’s handwriting and trying to spot those who wrote left-handed or tried to disguise it.

In the end, after editing out one kid’s comment where I accidentally put the wrong name…heh heh…it is a good practice, and a good thing to evaluate each kid….a valuable tool…

…of course I say all this now that it’s over and I’ve got a cookie and a glass of wine in my hands. Six weeks from now when I’m at it again, might be a whole other story. :)