by Stephen Gosewich, Dad blogger
When I was in grade 9, my English teacher, Mr. Stevens, wrote the following word on the chalkboard:
My classmates and I turned to each other wondering what an English teacher was doing writing gibberish like this
on the chalkboard.
Then he translated it for us: “What did you get?”
In other words, because he was handing out reports cards that day, the most popular expression used amongst us
grade 9 students was, “Wad-ja-git”; in other words, what was our
As is always the case, a student (and the Board of Education, for that matter), has a tendency of measuring their performance against others in the form of a grade…either a letter or a
That particular year, I got 75% which wasn't bad considering how difficult the teacher was. He was brutal…one of those really nice guys who threw a ton of work at us and made tests really hard. I guess he thought it would be less painful to us students if he was
really nice about it.
These days, the new word amongst the Grade 4's at my daughter's school is “Who-ja-get” – translated…who
is your teacher for next year?
In prior years, the principal of the school would direct the teachers to hand out report cards the last day of
school which would indicate placement for the next school year along with the name of the teacher the child would have for that particular class.
There was always significant fall-out using the practice. Kids would come home all distraught because they
would find out that they wouldn't be placed with their friends or that they didn't get the teacher they wanted or would possibly be placed in a split grade instead of a straight grade.
Parents would freak and would call into the school the very next day. Teachers were still around..as was the
principal and they would be bombarded with disgruntled parents who would beg and plead to have their children relocated from one classroom or teacher to another.
It was a nightmare. Despite letters coming home from the principal indicating that parents had to comply with
teacher decisions and that a lot of time and effort went into determining how to place a child for the next school year, parents would still call in and complain.
The most recent principal, who has been at our daughter's school for about 4 years, adapted a new practice. On the last day of school, report cards do NOT come home. Instead, they are mailed out. Usually, by the time parents receive the report cards in the mail, the teachers have already left for summer holiday and the only people around the
school are the caretaking staff. The principal is no where to be found.
Sneaky…very sneaky but smart. Parents and children have the whole summer to cool off over the news and by the time school starts, they have usually accepted the placement and move forward.
The question does remain, “who knows what is best for my child at school”? No one knows my kid like my
wife and I. No one knows her fears, concerns, worries…what makes her happy…what makes her sad. But, this isn't about that..is it?
This is about her academic performance and placing her with the best possible teacher who will resonate
with her and give her the greatest possible chance of understanding new concepts as well as encouraging her and motivating her to keep trying even if she makes a mistake.
Its a crap shoot…an educated gamble. We have had some successes and failures over our years as parents of school age children. The failures resulted in my wife and I stepping up our game to make sure that we stayed in constant contact with that teacher to make sure that they were giving our daughter the attention and assistance that she required using the most appropriate techniques to make sure she “got it”.
Through some stroke of luck and some rumors floating around the school, we have been able to determine the class and teacher that our daughter Annie is going into for Grade 5. She is in a straight Grade 5 class with a teacher she has had in a previous year and she is absolutely thrilled. I saw the teacher at school earlier this week and he confirmed the news. He is happy as well and has always been very fond of our daughter.
Everything is set…Annie is happy…her teacher is happy…and we are happy.
By the way, the report still hasn't come in the mail!
Stephen Gosewich is an aspiring enlightened male. He spends his weekdays as a commercial real estate professional, and all other times just hanging out with his wonderfully supportive wife and two very active and inspiring daughters. He loves blogging, spinning and practices yoga. You can read his blog at www.theenlightenedmale.wordpress.com