I missed writing on my blog yesterday because I was busy writing reports. There is only one week left till the university student teachers I supervise finish their practicum blocks in classrooms in two inner city schools. I have to write three informal reports for each of them and one longer formal report, so with eight students on my roster that’s thirty-two reports. These aren’t checklists like some report cards, but are more like essays filled with specific anecdotes. Each final report has to be vetted by both the cooperating teachers in the classrooms where the students work, and by the students themselves. Appropriate edits and changes are made till we all agree it accurately reflects the student’s performance.
My task becomes easier if I take detailed and copious notes each time I observe a student in action. My problem is I often get sidetracked by the interesting lesson topics or my interactions with the children in the room and then suddenly realize I haven’t made as many notes as I should.
I was telling someone about the mountain of report writing I was doing this week and she said, “Well at least you like writing.” And that is certainly true. I do like writing and sometimes crafting the reports is enjoyable but I am always mindful that my words in these reports could be a factor in the ability of my students to find future employment so I have to try to be positive but at the same time fair and honest. I used to feel some of the same tension when I was a high school teacher in Hong Kong and was asked to write dozens of recommendation letters each year for my senior students seeking admittance to universities abroad.
I do like writing and I do lots of it. I write meditations, blog posts, newspaper columns, short stories, novels, picture books, book reviews, sermons, workshop presentations, letters, brochure contents, magazine articles, anthology contributions, histories, announcements, tweets and reports. Each kind of writing has its joys and challenges and although writing my student reports can be a good experience, I’m glad it is nearly over for another year and I get to concentrate on other kinds of writing again.