Many schools in Japan issue a report card at the end of the academic year or semester. In addition to the student’s grades and lifestyle, the report card often contains comments for the child and parents, called observations. Recently, there seems to be an increase in the number of schools that don’t write comments, due to working style reforms, business improvements, or parents meetings instead. At the school I work at, I need to write my observations every semester.
The reason I didn’t write much here last week was due to the paperwork for the end of the semester. I spent my time writing down my observations and doing final checks on my grades. In the observations, I try to write so that I can show the efforts or growth of the children through the school life to the parents. Of course, each child will have a different story to write, so I hope it will become a “seed/topic” that encourages them to talk about their hard work at home.
For that reason, in my case, I basically choose what to write in my observations based on the child’s reflection. Every semester, I have my students write about what they have tried in their school lives, and I “add words” if necessary. “Adding words’” means adding words or phrases about the activity the teacher (I) intended, or adding items about the purpose of the activity or what was learned, so that it feels more like a “teacher’s” observation.
This semester, it took me about 5 hours to write my observations for a whole of my class. I quietly hope that it will be a good opportunity to talk about school at home.