It’s that time again teachers detest and dread as must as the students. It is report card time and teachers have the overwhelming task of writing constructive, insightful, and original comments on a classroom full of students.

Report cards give parents essential information about their child’s progress and the teacher comments can indicate how a child is performing in different areas. These written comments should highlight the student’s strengths and offer ways the child could improve his or her academic work and/or classroom behavior. These comments can also indicate a need for improvement by turning the words around a bit by making them into a goal for the child to work on.

Parents love to hear about how their child is doing in class and enjoy comments on their child’s report card. It is a good idea for catechists to write something positive about each student to help the child’s self esteem. If only negative statements are written, the parent may feel overwhelmed and thus be unable to help their child. Parents are more willing to cooperate if a comment concerning their child’s weakness follows a positive one. Therefore it is more productive to state a student’s strength first, then follow it with your concern – but make sure that is written in a constructive way.

Positive comments on a report card can inspire students to live up to their teacher’s observations. For example, if the teacher wrote that the child excels in “Being dependable” or “Shows outstanding sportsmanship,” these statements could become part of the student’s self-image. It is important for teachers to remember that their written words can motivate and challenge their students to be their best.

Words that promote positive view of the student:

• thorough
• caring
• shows commitment
• improved tremendously
• has a good grasp of

Examples of definitive words that should be avoided are:

• the child will never;
• the child will not or won’t;
• the child cannot;
• the child will always
• the child is unable

Since your comments need to be as specific as possible, avoid using ambiguous words alone such as wonderful, good or great. Focus on the student’s strengths and give encouraging comments when students are making some progress.

Well written comments can give parents and students guidance on how to make improvements in specific academic or social areas. When concerns are evident, teachers must be precise and give examples of what the student needs help in. You can also give suggestions on how they as parents can help as well.

Words and Phrases to use to convey that a child needs help:

• could profit by
• requires
• finds it difficult at times to
• needs reinforcement in
• has trouble with

For example: Tommy listens and comprehends new information quickly. He answers questions correctly in class and enjoys participating in activities. Tommy is capable of doing his homework, but has difficulty turning it in on time. Tommy requires help with organizational skills and could benefit from using an Agenda/Planner Book and binder with color tab dividers that are specifically labeled for CCD for keeping papers organized. Tommy also needs encouragement and this will help reinforce him to complete his work and turn it in on time.

Here are a couple of sites that have some good report card comments: 100 Report Card Comments Teacher Comments on Report Cards

Copyright 2012 Laura Grace