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Terrific Teaching Tips, Issue #039-- May 2013 Ezine
May 01, 2013

Do you find that your attitude has changed - you're a little more chipper and have a spring in your step. For most of us, there are only 2 months left before the year is over. Warmer weather is here and it's sunnier for a longer period of time. How wonderful!

However, these last 2 months come with a price. May - the dreaded report cards (but the final set) and June - finishing everything up for the year.

I'm getting ahead of myself - let's stick to May and my topic for this month, Grading and Testing.

Grading and testing to complete the last set of report cards can be gruelling. Depending on your principal, your report cards can be written in brief form and done extensively. Whatever way you have to complete them, you have to still mark and mark and mark - grade students' projects, assignments and of course their daily work.

When you're trying to motivate certain students to produce and achieve higher academic standards, you may want to try a drastic strategy.

Approach students privately and tell them that if they want to improve their grade/marks, you are going to suggest and expect certain things from them. Wait for an answer from them right there and then. If they say "yes" and you have affirmed their willingness to improve themselves academically, set up a private conference and outline their goals and timeline.

You will be amazed how this type of strategy turns students into serious, hard working ones who will be proud of their accomplishments. Miracles happen every day.

When counselling your students towards higher academic achievement, they have to talk to you and show a desire or express a need that you as a teacher can meet. When they have decided to do this, have them promise that if they follow your advice, you will help them get what they want, but you need to know how to help them. Never deprive someone of hope, it may be all they have. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

You know that people don't respond well to incentives that threaten. For instance, if you were threatened with a pay cut, you probably wouldn't work harder to do a better job.

The same holds true for your students. Incentives work much better when they are encouraging and achievable, not threatening. Please keep this in mind when you are tempted to threaten your students who have low grades/marks, hoping that that would motivate them to work harder and study more. Remember to compliment even the smallest improvements.

I realize that I have written a page on report cards, marking and grading. However you can NEVER write enough about the topic. Here are a few new strategies, skills and thoughts to ponder over and implement if you see fit.

Everyone has their own style, organizational way of preparing thenselves to write and complete their report cards. Some teachers choose one subject at a time and write only that subject for everyone and then move on to the next subject.

Others choose to write about all the students who are having difficulties/challenges first and then write the reports for the others who are easier to write about, or vice versa.

When you have students who are doing well and achieving high marks, the words just flow out from your finger tips to your computer or pen and paper. This is truly a beautiful thing.

Then again, at the other end of the spectrum, you sometimes feel like pulling out your hair because you have run out of ways of spinning a negative comment into a positive one.

I personally completed all of the sections of the report card at the same time because I always saw the WHOLE picture of my students. I took the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY. Each to their own. Just strive for excellence and not perfection. This is good advice for some of your students as well.

Hopefully this month will not be too stressful for you. Enjoy the warmer weather and of course enjoy your students.

Good luck with your report cards! (last set for this year -yeah !!!)

Speak to you next month. Thanks for all your comments, questions and suggestions. I really appreciate them.

"Never give up on your students, because YOU may be all they have for support, advice and compassion in their corner." Honey Krumholz Happy trails,


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