Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Report Cards
Grades were due yesterday, which shouldn’t have been a particularly big deal. The grades don’t take long to fill out, it’s a standard scantron, bubble-sheet. It doesn’t take me to long to calculate the kids’ grades either, since we’re only allowed to mark in five point increments and any failing grade is a “55.” I don’t even use a calculator, just average their test (or essay, or whatever) scores, add or subtract a little based on whether they do their homework, show up, and behave somewhat respectably, and that’s that.

In addition to the number grade, there is also a field for comments. I hope to one day find a use for such codes as “Required Dental Note Missing/Certificado del Dentista Falta” (74), but in the meantime I gain some catharsis by saying mean things about the kids that drive me crazy. As much as I enjoy malevolently bubbling the code that corresponds to “A Distractive Influence in Class/Interrumpe CLase sin Razon,” (57) or “Uses Inappropriate Language” (94) over and over, these codes are often insufficient.

“Melvin is a great kid,” I would like to say. “Inexplicably, as he is a beginning learner of English, he was placed in Level 3, and due to administrative incompetence this error was never rectified. Melvin works as hard as any student I have, is an eager and good-natured participant in classroom discussions and activities, and is one of the funniest and nicest kids I’ve ever met. Unfortunately he does not know nearly enough English to move on to Level 4, and I am forced to fail him. With his sharp mind and continued hard work I trust that he will do great next semester.”

“Shows a great deal of effort.” (12), “Low Grades on Class Exams/Examen es con baja calificacion” (51) I bubble in instead. Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, huh?

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