It’s that time of year again! Most of you will be starting or may have started writing your student report comments and as the time gets closer you may start to stress out. Or if you’re anything like me, even the thought of writing reports may stress you out.
When I first started teaching, I would sit at my computer and not move until I finished all my English comments, then all my Mathematics comments and finally my general comments. So over one weekend, I basically wouldn’t have a life, I would just type and eat. It wasn’t until about 3 years ago, when I started using the tips below to write reports, that I stopped flipping into a panic and waste a whole weekend.
So I’ve put together 5 key points to help make the process a bit easier.
Spread out the workload.
Find out when your reports are due to your supervisor and create a schedule for yourself. Break down your report writing into more manageable tasks. So how do I do this? Well I have about 2 weeks before my reports are due to my supervisor. So my schedule looks something similar to this.
Monday – Friday I can only work on my comments after work (obviously) but the last thing I want to do after work is write comments. So to motivate myself, I set one hour aside every night, to complete some of my reports. In that hour, I have to be shut off from everyone in my house. I don’t take my phone with me and I make sure that I don’t have access to any social media. So for that hour I just type. Some times I can get a lot of comments done. Other times I hardly get anything done. By the time the hour is up, I stop what I’m doing, save any progress and move on. Just give yourself one hour, you’ll be amazed how much you can get done (most of the time).
Saturday and Sunday is a little different because I have more time but I still stick to the same guidelines. On the weekends I give myself a minimum number of comments that I have to do before I can have my break. If I know that I can get about 7 English comments done in an hour then ill say to myself, after I have finished 7 comments I can have a 20 minute break or something along those lines. Then I just keep repeating this process for a few hours, but I make sure I take my break.
We don’t expect out students to sit for hours on end in their seat so why should we expect the same for ourselves?
Minimise as many distractions as you can.
If this means having your partner take the kids for a few hours then so be it. Switch off from all social media, turn your phone to do not disturb (DND) great function on the iPhone, not sure what the Android equivalent would be.
Minimising as many distractions as possible stops the amount of times you have to stop and start, which can make it much harder to work efficiently. The less distractions you have the better it is for you.
This is the same for multi-tasking. Multi-tasking can sometimes have the opposite effect. You think you’re getting a lot done by working on two things at once but you are not giving 100% to both tasks, therefore taking away from your efficiency. When you start your report comments you are in it for the long run.
Some times we are so busy helping the students during English or Math that we hardly notice the other students that are working away quietly. As report time gets closer, take notice of your students. I like to keep a notepad or post-its on hand to write down any behaviours I have observed. That way when it comes time to writing the general comment about their work habits I have their observations written down.
Nothing is worse then sitting down to write report comments and not having your assessments with you to write the comments. Have all your assessments completed and have them laid out in front of you or somewhere close to where you are writing the reports. Having them on hand makes it so much easier when you actucally have to write the comment. If you want to go that extra mile organise your assessments into alphabetical order, so as you come to the students you know exactly where to find their assessments.
Don’t forget to take a break.
Last of all and probably most important, don’t forget to take a break. Think of your break as your reward! Finished 10 maths comments? Then take a break! It doesn’t have to be very long but do get up and away from your computer screen even if it is only for 20 minutes. Believe me your eyes and body will thank you for it
Do you have any report writing tips that help you get through the crazy season? Leave them in the comment section down below!