'Open to new ideas': What does teacher's report really mean?

Image caption,
"Now, what can I say about Olivia?"

It's that time of year again. Teachers up and down the land have been slaving over their end-of-year reports and parents are eagerly awaiting to hear whether or not their little angels are top of the class.

But what does "full of self-confidence" or "lively and enthusiastic" really mean?

We asked one teacher - who goes under the name of Mrs Smith - to let us know what those positive-spin comments actually mean.

Here are her thoughts:

  • Is a sociable member of the class: Doesn't really come to school to work, much prefers having a gossip in the toilets
  • Knows their own mind: Not particularly good at doing what they are asked to do
  • Always enthusiastic when working in a group: Likes to be in charge, a proper bossy boots
  • Full of self-confidence: A little too arrogant and won't take being told they are wrong
  • Needs to channel their enthusiasm into their own work: Please get on with your own work and leave the rest of the class to get on with their own
  • Is always curious: Shows too much interest in anything and everything except their work
  • Enthusiastic contributor to class discussions: Always has an opinion on everything and shares it loudly at every opportunity
  • Displays excellent listening skills: Never has an opinion on anything, would rather self-combust than put their hand up
  • Open to new ideas: Easily led into poor behaviour
  • Wonderful unique character: Thank goodness there is only one like you in my class
  • Has shown an interest in self-guided learning: Decides on a daily basis which work to complete
  • Has an interesting and inquiring mind: Does your child ever stop asking questions?
  • Occasionally lacks focus: Sits as far from the window as possible to prevent daydreaming
  • Has a strong sense of right and wrong: Bit of a telltale if we are honest
  • Lively and enthusiastic: Goodness me your child is hard work
  • Has a wide circle of friends: I have run out of seats to put your child in where they won't chat
  • Knows the school rules well: Is reminded by me of them daily
  • Makes everyone smile: Bit of a clown
  • A bubbly, fun-loving personality: Honestly child, calm it down a little
  • Is ready for a new challenge: I'm counting down the days until the end of term
  • Enjoys working independently: Finds sharing hard
  • Is a pleasure to teach: Honestly, your child has helped preserve my sanity this year

Illustrations by Katie Horwich. Produced by Katherine Sellgren.

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