Wed Jun IX
Reports! Mine wasn’t too bad – all good bar German!
Do kids still get school reports nowadays? Do they have the fearful walk home carrying the sealed envelope containing each teacher’s assessment of your hard (or not so hard) efforts during that term? If not, they are missing out on one of the truly life threatening experiences of childhood.
Not, I hasten to add, because my parents were in the habit of assassinating any child who didn’t come home with straight As written in golden ink and sealed with a teacherly kiss. I think that by this stage they were used to the fact that my reports tended to say words to the effect of nice lad, needs to concentrate more, needs to stop rushing so much, can’t read a damn word that he writes.
No, the life threatening bit was the bit where I would bang my head against a wall afterwards following the inevitable ‘effort’ mark. I don’t know how things work nowadays (obviously!) but throughout my junior and senior school careers* I was graded on both ‘effort’ and ‘attainment’, with the former being a grade from 1 to 5 and the latter from A to E.
My parents’ view was that the alphabetical grade was less important than the numerical one. This caused a bit of a problem, because my best subjects tended to attract grades such as ‘A2’ and ‘A3’. Mum and Dad thought that these grades were not good enough, because I wasn’t putting maximum effort in, and were more impressed when I scored something like ‘C1’, because I was trying hard in that subject.
My view, on the other hand, was that the ‘effort’ mark didn’t matter if I was already getting the top attainment grade. I couldn’t go anywhere else in that grading system, I was already at the top. Frankly, I would rather have had an ‘A5’ grade and be a lazy overachiever than ‘C1’, which to me meant that no matter how hard I tried I wasn’t going to get anywhere in that subject**.
In this particular instance, I was rather pleased with my report. I thought the German grade was harsh but the Tech Drawing report surprised me by being far better than I expected, so these things balanced out.
*Why do they talk about ‘school careers’? No-one ever made a living from being a student forever
**Unless it was a subject like RE, which I had no interest in but which for some reason I always got a ‘C1’ in. I think the teacher may have been confusing me with someone else.