I was talking with a friend who directs a School about the comments she is editing on progress reports. Teachers are writing comments like, “She is a quiet girl” and “She has a lot of energy.” A child’s tendency to be:
- more or less active
- more introverted or extraverted
- adaptable to change
- a participant or observer
- talkative or quieter
- a leader or a follower
comes from their natural temperament. This is who they are.
People are born with their temperament.
When teachers Write comments like, “He is shy” or “He tends to watch before jumping in,” it is a critique of the nature of the child. Every child has a gift and that gift can be found in all temperaments. The child who is quieter may be thinking deeply and analyzing. The child who is an observer is doing a lot of critical thinking while watching peers before jumping in.
I was often critiqued for being talkative when I was a child. Teachers called me chatty (a trait that one of my sons inherited and had reported on his progress reports, too). I remember being in elementary school and feeling criticized for it. Today, I am paid nicely to speak. Too bad that talent wasn’t fostered more when I was a young student. Perhaps, I would have come upon the knowledge that I should hone and use that skill when I was younger.
Progress reports and report cards should be productive. Commenting on a child’s natural tendencies is not an action plan. It is not something we should focus on. Reports to families need to point out positive observations, what might be improved and how the family and school can work together to support areas in need. Be concrete.
I do believe that most teachers have good intentions when they write about a child’s personality but that’s not what we are here to teach. I’m not here to turn an introvert into an extrovert or visa versa. I’m here to teach children that they all have value and to help them increase particular skill levels. It is much better to write about something amazing a child said or did during a learning activity. If the family has questions about behavior that derives from temperament, they will ask…. And when they do, assure them that the world is filled with people of all temperaments so we need to help their children become the best version of themselves whoever that may be.
You may also want to read:
- Is My Sensitive Child Ready for Kindergarten?
- It Should Not Take 50 Years to Be Yourself
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