Editorial: Teachers should aim to give personalized comments on report cards

With mid-year report cards just being released, many parents read the usual “Pleasure to have in class” that nobody pays attention to anymore. Every parent and student in our district understands that some teachers copy and paste this exact statement for every student in their class. Now, this incorrect use of the comment tab begs the question: Why even add comments if they are not personalized?

Comments on a report card give insight to both students and their parents on how they are doing in a specific class. Making everyone’s comments the same renders the entire concept of report card comments pointless. Comments should be personalized toward the student, discussing their positive contributions to the class, as well as things that they could do to improve their future grades. Having your gym teacher say that you are a “Pleasure to have in class” is acceptable if you have an A+ in physical education. Otherwise, your teacher should leave a kind, while constructive comment such as: “Pleasure to have in class. Great effort during warm-ups, but needs to listen to instructions more carefully.” This shows that the teacher thinks a student adds value to the class and it gives them advice on how to be more successful in said class.

These comments can also increase a parent’s ability to help their child to do better in school. If they are aware of what aspect of school their child needs to work on, then they can better understand how to help. The current system of comments rarely improves the parents’ and students’ knowledge of how to improve in class. One reason that many teachers give the same exact comments is due to the fact that there is a drop-down menu for teachers to click pre-written responses. Every student is different, and therefore they require different comments. If the administration removes the prewritten response feature, teachers will be forced to personalize each and every comment.

Another excuse often used by teachers is that they “do not have enough time” to write one to two sentences per student. What teachers do not realize is that this is their chance to help their students to do better in school, requiring less time that the teacher has to help each student throughout the semester. This will ultimately save the teachers’ time.

Personalized comments on report cards will make the relationship between teachers and students feel more personal and give students as well as their parents insight on how they can be a better student.