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Teacher Report Card

At the end of every school year I ask my students to write me a report card. I tell them to give me a letter grade, write one thing they liked about the class, one thing they learned that they will always remember, and one thing they think I need to improve. I never read those letters until the beginning of the next school year (to protect the students, least they should “sting”).

I read the letters today. The majority of the students talked about my messy desk, either as something they would always remember, or something I needed to improve. So, next year I will work on creating an even bigger mess. (Well, they gave no suggestions on how to improve it so obviously I have free reign.)

The several students also complained of being disciplined. One girl said, “I didn’t like it when you caught me using a calculator on the math test and said that was cheating. I really didn’t like it when you called my mom.” One young lady said said, “I don’t think it is fair that kids have to do thier homework at recess just because they don’t do it at home.” Several other students agreed. One cheeky gentleman suggested (with a smiley face) next year just give all your students A’s and they’ll really like you.

Two of my brightest and best male students wrote rather interesting notes. Allow me to share them with you:

Ghetto Report Card
Super job!

Dear Ms. A.

Thank you for being my teacher this year. One of my favorite things about your class was you taught me how to be a fifth grader. You did not give me grades. I earned them. I also liked that you were my friend.

You taught me a lot of stuff. One thing you taught me that I will never forget would be to pick the right friends.

There was one little thing that bothered me. I think your future students would be happier if you stop yelling and don’t embarass them for no reason, like when they’re talking in class.

It has been a great year. I will miss you terribly. You’re the best.


Contrast that to:

Teacher Report Card

Dear Ms. A.

Since you became my teacher I have had lots of fun, and I’ve learned a lot, too. You have done so many wonderful things this year. Something you do well is believe that each and every student can achieve a high goal. Another thing you do an outstanding job at is preparing us for sixth grade.

You have taught me many things that I will remember all my life. One thing I will remember is to be patient and have confidence in people.

Unfortunately, with the good things come the bad. In my opinion, I wouldn’t want you to change, but I think some kids might take advantage of your kindness. I am not telling you to become mean. Just draw a line somewhere.

Yours Truly,

A good many of my students talked about my storytelling ability, my strength in teaching them how to write well, and the fact that I occassionally write numbers backward on the board in math. My lowest grade was a B+ — from calculator girl.

Yes, Jenn, I love teaching.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. I always get inspiration from reading your blogs. You sound like the kind of teacher everyone should have.

    You seem like the Mark Thackeray kind of teacher. Which by the way is one of my favorite Sidney Poitier films.

    I remember some of my teachers fondly. One Teacher in particular, Mrs MacPherson, she was a wonderful teacher.

    She must of had have children of her own as she never game homework on Friday. Her ressoning was it was our weekend also and said it was our time to be with our friends, go to the Saturday Matinee at the “Picture Show” and didn’t need to take away from the fun with having to do homework

  2. Donna, this class was special. There will never be another quite like it.

    Bill, Wow! Waht a complimant.

    Jenn, is teacherly an accepted adverb? I believe this is the first time I have ever encountered the word.

  3. I’m glad you shared this. It must be a good feeling to know that you are making a difference in the lives of children. Even the ones with complaints will someday realize that you were right to discipline them “for no reason”.

    A few months ago we did a similar thing at my job. As a supervisor I received a rating from our department’s employees. It was pretty cool to hear what they had to say (anonymously). A close friend and I tied for best supervisors out of 10 or us. This post just made me think of that again. 🙂

  4. Morning Quill ,

    Thanks for the comment. We got the password deleted with some help. Diane called Apple and they said don’t use their browser use Firefox!! LOL I voted for you last time on Sar’s, you always have great caption’s, mine are so-so. You sound like a great teacher, thanks for all the hard work and compassion. I went to your poetry blog, left a comment as Dewy, oops!! It’s hard having a split personality. 😉

    Have a great weekend.

    Brian aka humminbunny

  5. Awwww that is GREAT! What a fabulous idea! You wouldn’t wanna try that in High School though! Well… maybe… but you would wait 4 years to read them!!! LOL!

  6. Brian, I know the split personality thing, I am Quilldancer and Disciple

    Melli, after 10 years of doing this, I pretty much know what the kids are going to say. Occassionally one suprises me with a greater insight, but for the most part their criticism is pretty shallow. A few years ago one kid suggested the students would like me better if I wore cooler shoes.

    I am pretty sure I wouldn’t open myself up to criticism from high schoolers. First off, I remember being that age, and the mind set would be to deliberately say something mean with just enough truth in it to really sting. Nope, nope — I dis myself enough. Don’t need their help.

    Peace out, Homey.

  7. It sounds like you had a special class with these kids- I’m sure they will always remember you with affection and respect as well as among the best teachers they ever had. We found out last week at the drivers meeting that we will be getting “report cards” very soon. It will not be our own bosses who will “grade” us though. It will be bosses from the other Regionals and perhaps some from Rochester as well. We will not know when they are on our bus. I’m looking forward to finding out my “grade” but I do kind of wish they would let our passengers do some of the judging too.

  8. You remind me of my (now) favorite teacher. In elementary school (and junior high and high school), I always liked/wanted the “easy” teachers…but now that I’m older and more or less grown-up, the one I really remember is Mrs. Foltz. She actually made us learn and develop a work ethic. Assignments were dues on time, no excuses, etc. Just amazing!

  9. I am hoping you will forgive me for this shameless bit of self-promotion, but I am trying to win a contest here — two in fact! One for the best picture caption; one for the most shameless self-promotion (I am also hoping it is the most effective self- promotion.)

    Go to Belle of the Brawl and vote for Quilldancer! Don’t even look at the other captions. Just trust me when I tell you mine is the best! But please, do say hello to Belle Sar while you’re there – -and be sure to tell her Quilly sent you.


  10. I have been over to Sar’s blog to say hi and where you graciously asked me to vote for you, “It is Done”

    If I took the quiz to see what kind Of Sports car I’d be, I’d probably turn out to be an Edsel


  11. Okay, I went to Belle of the Brawl and voted for you – when I left you were up by 100. I’ll check back after I get the bulletins done and vote some more. 🙂

  12. Dr. John, voting closed at midnioght on Friday — though I actually didn’t vclose the polls until 8a.m. Saturday morning — don’t worry, unless you really wanted to beat Lori.

    Stay tuned the results will be posted Sunday afternoon or evening.

  13. Dr. John, the very first post about the Liar’s Contest said midnight, Friday. I am sticking to that. I am sorry for any later typos. I am date challenged. (Hmmm, in more ways than one — and no cracks from the peanut gallery.)

    Jon — thank you. And thank my students for making it possible — last year’s group was especially extraordinary.

  14. You are one brave teacher. I used to have students in my confirmation class turn in seermon summarys based on the previous Sunday’s sermons. I quit when it became apparant they were not hearing what I was saying. They would choose bits and pieces and make them the center. Either I was a lousy preacher or they were bad listeners. In either case I gave it up.

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