Just For Fun: Translating School Reports

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Lynn How

Lynn is the Editor at Teacher Toolkit. With 20 years of primary teaching and SLT experience, she has been an Assistant Head, Lead Mentor for ITT and SENCO. She loves to write and also has her own SEMH and staff mental health blog: www.positiveyoungmind.com. Lynn...
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What if we said what we actually mean when we are phrasing school reports?

We are all highly skilled at turning negatives into positives and we are well aware that many of those children who have difficulty ‘conforming’ will go far in life once they have escaped the current school system.

When it comes to end of year school reports, parents who are also teachers, are fully able to read between the lines when it comes to their own child’s report! I’ve put together some examples of what the teacher said, versus what they actually meant…

  1. They said, ‘Maisie is full of life and enthusiasm.’ They meant, ‘Masie needs to rein it in a bit.’
  2. They said, ‘Arthur is an articulate young man.’ They meant, ‘Arthur could argue that blue is red.’
  3. They said, ‘Hetty has excellent computing skills which she likes to share with others.’ They meant, ‘If Hetty attempts to tell me what is wrong with my computing skills one more time, I may say something I regret.’
  4. They said, ‘Finley loves to contribute to class discussions and is very keen to put his views across.’ They meant, ‘Please utilise the talk tokens and post it notes provided, rather than shout out’.
  5. They said, ‘Erin has leadership qualities.’ They meant, ‘She is rather bossy and we can tell where she gets it.’
  6. They said, ‘As parents, you could get a ‘well done’ certificate for the support you give Joshua with his homework.’ They meant, ‘Please stop doing his homework for him, we can tell it’s not his writing.’
  7. They said, ‘Cory could get a job as my personal assistant.’ They meant, ‘I can’t possibly cope without him. Next year I will have no idea where my glasses are. I may need to kidnap him.’
  8. They said, ‘Chelsea shows great empathy for her peers.’ They meant, ‘unfortunately, this is after she has poked them and made them cry.’
  9. They said, ‘Charlie is starting to develop initiative.’ They meant, ‘sometimes, Charlie can turn the page without checking first and last week he put some rubbish in the bin without asking me what he should do with it.’
  10. They said, ‘Maddie has made one special friend this year.’ They meant, ‘Maddie is a little too overbearing with Megan. Megan is regularly rescued.’
  11. They said, ‘Thomas has found it rather challenging to concentrate this year and is always on the go.’ They meant, ‘We have tried super gluing him to his chair and sending him for a lap of the playground every half hour. We have no idea where he gets his energy but if you know, we want some as well.’
  12. They said, ‘This particular cohort have an interesting dynamic.’ They meant, ‘I can’t wait to meet my new class and will be opening champagne on the last day to celebrate this class moving to their next adventure with Mrs Pearson. She is thrilled that she is the chosen teacher.’

As report deadlines are approaching, we wish you all the best with turning those negatives into positives and don’t forget, if you teach practically identical twins, make sure you vary your phrasing!


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