Today is Progress report day. I hate progress report day. My students hate progress report day. We hate it for different reasons however.
To me, it is like a new beginning. Students get a wake-up call as to just how bad an average can be when you only turn in one assignment out of 10 but the chance to turn things around looms on the horizon. To my students however, it is a death knell. No matter how many times I remind them that it is a PROGRESS REPORT, they all scream about their averages and much moaning and gnashing of teeth is heard.
No matter how many times I ask them to see me for tutoring before or after school, I am still chased around the classroom by students waving progress reports like villagers waving flaming torches at Frankenstein. No matter how many times I tell them to take it home and get it signed for a homework grade, 40% will still throw it in the trash anyway and take another zero. No matter that I always call parents when I don't get the progress reports back. In everything I do as a teacher, grading papers and giving grades to 178 students is my least favorite thing.
I wish that all grades matched what my kids are capable of doing. I wish that all students would at least attempt to do even a small bit of what we're doing. I wish all students could taste a little bit of success without so easily accepting a progress report full of zeros.
Because in the end, it's actually no small matter when a fifteen year old has already given up.