Saturday, December 09, 2006

Progress Reports vs. Report Cards and the TV Burden

It was "progress report" time at our school last week.........time to hand out what used to be called "report cards" to my fifth graders. A progress report sounds better, doesn't it? When you get reported, that's bad. "I'm gonna report you to the principal." "If you don't behave I'm gonna report you to the police." Yes, the term progress report is much gentler, and it is implying that, "I am going to give a report on your progress, and how much better you're doing, and how much improvement you've made." Definitely better. More politically correct. I bet some administrator got a promotion, a pay raise, or both, on that one idea.

All the progress reports I handed out during parent/teacher conferences went quite well, except for one. Daniel cried a lot, and in my opinion, way too much for a fifth grade boy. Of course, he got two D's and that caused his eyes to water, but the real sobbing occurred when I discovered that his single Mom has a new job that has her working until 11:00 pm, and in the meantime Daniel watches television the whole night staying up for her (or for Conan O'Brien) instead of doing his homework correctly. He whimpered a little and told his Mom that the homework was hard to understand sometimes. His mother and I gave him my home phone number and the phone number for the Homework Hotline. It was those phone numbers that brought him to sobs.

I must be cold-blooded. I have no pity for him. He needs direction, guidance and limitations. Tea and sympathy? Yes. Pity? No. I bet he won't call.

I have read that the average kid in the United States watches six or seven hours of television a day, or some unholy amount. One of Daniel's classmates, Royce, is only allowed to watch four hours a week. I guess Daniel is just trying to pick up some of the slack and attempting to carry his and some of Royce's fair share o' the load.

1 comment:

tracy said...

You actually have a homework hotline? Who the heck runs it? How lucky for him to have your home phone number and an offer to help. The only way Daniel will stop watching TV if his mother is working until 11pm and if he is unsupervised until that time is by taking the TV out of the house. Otherwise he will make poor choices b/c let's face it, no one truely enjoys homework.