Like a record, baby

Grade Four

I've been tearing the house up looking for my birth certificate. Can't find it. But I did find a couple of old report cards that I've saved. One's from fourth grade, which has room for comments from the teacher.

What kind of student was I? Let's see:

1st quarter
Art: "Maya needs to work more freely. She doesn't express herself very well."
Reading: "Maya reads well but she needs to spend more time and put more thought into her written work. Also, she should be encouraged to read more outside materials."
Music: "Maya needs to learn to partiscipate [sic] more."
PE: "Maya works hard. She does suffer a little in wanting to give up. She could partiscipate [sic] better as a team member."

2nd quarter
Handwriting: "Needs work in holding her pencil correctly."
Spelling: "Needs to make sure she finishes her daily work on time."

3rd quarter
Reading: "Needs to take more care in her daily work."

Here are the areas where my teacher said I needed improvement throughout the year:
Is courteous and cheerful
Exhibits self control
Assumes responsibility
Uses time wisely
Works neatly and efficiently
Listens attentively
Shows creativity

Every quarter when I got my report card, I'd read it and be incredulous that she thought such horrible things about me. Every quarter I felt bad about myself, and then I wouldn't want to go back to school. It's still hard for me to read it.

What's funny to me today is that I still think I have shortcomings in those same areas: I need to learn to participate more, I give up too easily, I need to take more care in my daily work and finish it on time.

I'm normally pretty courteous and cheerful and I'm decent at assuming responsibility, but I could use some work with my self control (when there's ice cream in the house), using my time wisely (stop spending so much time on the internet), working efficiently (laundry/dishes/cleaning bathrooms), listening (when asked the same question 10k times by a 3yo), and showing creativity (the list is long and varied).

So what to do? Accept myself as I am? Or keep pushing myself to be what I am not? Is it ok to be flawed or should I work harder to hold my pencil perfectly? I am left-handed so I'm not really sure that's going to happen. Maybe, just maybe, I like my flaws. Some of them anyway.

Here are my 4th quarter notes:
Handwriting: "I have seen much improvement this year."
Math: "She has reached the successful mark in multiplication."
Music: "Maya is doing much better."
PE: "Maya partiscipates [sic] well now. She has grown much this period."

Well, thank goodness.


I entered this post in Gayle's Monday Memories - please pop over and share your memories with us!


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

spread your wings

those comments teachers make in our early years sure can make an impact - and not always good. I was put out in the hall all of the time in second grade for talking too much and being out in the hall was embarrassing. To this day I blame that teacher on my shyness.


Sweet! I love looking back at report cards and my artwork and schoolwork. What a great part of our history!

renee @ FIMBY

Babe... we all could improve in a lot of areas. Be kind to yourself.

This is one reason I'm so glad my kids aren't going to school. We focus on their strengths and gently encourage them to grow in their weaknesses. But we give them the same grace we give ourselves and vice versa.

Maya, I encourage you to watch the free trailer on this website:
http://www.tromboneplayerwanted.com/ We didn't buy the rest of the video, though someday I maybe should but after watching this video on strengths it TOTALLY changed my viewpoint on weaknesses and growing as an individual. I think it will really help you answer the question "Or keep pushing myself to be what I am not?"


I think we should all accept ourselves as we are and also push ourselves to do better. I also think this is easier said than done! Hey, I'm left handed, too! I gave up on trying to hold my pencil correctly! Also, I think some of those teachers should have been sent to a spelling class!


Oy, that makes me want to homeschool. I had lots of comments like that. I don't think my teacher's realized how it would make me feel to read that. I would be heartbroken if someone was so critical to Grace.

We all have different strength's and weaknesses. That is what makes us special. Stay just the way you are Maya!


I think those comments are mean! What's wrong with saying things in a constructive way? No wonder you are homeschooling V! If my kids got a report card like that, I'd be quite annoyed.

And what's with teachers who can't spell????

maya | springtree road

Well, I don't want to pick on teachers (don't want anyone to think that! My degree is actually in English Education). This was just one teacher I had - and I've had a few really great teachers too. I was very attached to her though, so it really hurt my feelings to read these comments from her.


Another reason to homeschool! Good grief. I would hate to see my old report cards.

I think only you can answer your questions. Are you happy with yourself as you are? Or do you want to change some things? I think we all want to improve on some stuff in our lives, and that's good because it gets us out of bed each day. Gives us something to strive for. But we also can't be too hard on ourselves either. If striving to be better makes us miserable (because we're wasting energy worrying about these things), then I think it's time to perhaps accept some of the shortcomings. Like I said, only you can answer those questions.

And personally, I am fine with the fact that I don't cook. I only wish another person I am living with found that to be a "cute" trait of mine instead of something to argue about! ha ha ha!


I think it's the teacher's job to point out areas of needed improvement. I have found it to be incredibly hard to write really good report card comments. I work as hard on one or two sentences that really tell the truth with love as I do on my best poetry. I hope my students are instructed and encouraged. although I realize I may cause some pain as well and I don't claim to be always right on target.

My own childhood report cards usually said I was nice, shy, & poor at spelling. I always felt that was an inadequate picture of me and wished for more enlightenment and inspiration. I think your teacher gave you a lot more to go on! She loved you and knew you and wanted to see your progress. At the end of the year she acknowledged it - what a blessing!


I think she sounds like a pill! Someone recently told me that when she reads her kids' kindergarten report cards that it fairly accurately describes them as adults. If this is true, do we really need to hear as kids what the "flaws" of our personalities are? My brothers and I sometimes laugh about the "very talented, could be very successful if only she would apply herself" comments that we always got! Maybe it is a self-fulfilling prophecy!


What I saw was improvement with each quarter, which indicates to me that the comments did their job. Yes, it is hard to read criticisms of ourselves, but they are usually meant for our own good. The comments my boys got on their report cards were all computer generated by a check-marked list, no personal input at all, which would have been nice. At least your teacher was consistent with her misspelling! =)


Eh... teachers have agendas. It's not that they're wrong, but how they judge you isn't necessarily helpful for those of us who tend to think a little differently than the rest. There are all kinds of positive qualities they *don't* score you on and all kinds of opportunities to excel that they *don't" expose you to.


Burn that report card!! lol! Happy Monday!


Thank you for adding this post to Monday Memories!


You are funny! I wish I had my old grade cards. I'm sure you were always a good student!


Love this post! Funny...lately, i've been thinking A LOT about how much of our personality "quirks" are carried through adulthood? I'm still friends with a large group of kids that I've known since first grade and I have to say that their personalities are very similar as adults as they were as kids. I'm trying really hard to recognize my daughters' strengths and struggles and embrace all of it. i read somewhere that "...the most annoying things about a child's personality are their greatest strengths - they just need to be channeled properly". it totally made sense!


Mine always, always had a "needs improvement" in self control. And as I sit here and eat my 11th oreo, (not quite, but almost), I wonder a bit at that...

You know, every single person on this planet has flaws. But most of us are well-loved. Which means that we're alright after all.

(And you're definitely amongst the well-loved, so fret not).

By the way, we have the Trombone Player Wanted series if you're interested. Marcus Buckingham is pretty amazing in his insights.


It *is* the teacher's job to to point out needed areas of improvement. Whether that's a job that needs to be done and is at all useful, is another matter entirely. I find those kind of subjective and questionably useful criticisms obnoxious and demoralizing. I don't think it's anyone else's business to be making those kinds of judgments about another person. But then, it's a large part of the reason that my kids aren't in school.

Lisa Renata

Awww Maya, we ALL have flaws. That and our perfections is what makes us, well, US. Can you imagine how boring the world would be if we where all perfect?

Embrace your youness!!

Julia @ Hooked on Houses

Wish I could see some of my old report cards to find out what the teachers were writing about me. Wonder if my mom kept any. I do know there were recurring complaints that I was often too tired during school to focus and was daydreaming too much instead of paying attention to the teachers. Both could still be said about me today--I always feel like I'm in need of a nap, and I can easily get lost in daydreaming when I should be doing something productive. :)

The comments to this entry are closed.