School Report Writing Tips I Wish I’d Known Earlier
Nothing will ever compare to that feeling of sheer joy when you find out you’re getting your first class, and then setting up your first ever classroom, and then walking into your first day of school. It reaffirms everything you’ve sacrificed to become a teacher; you’re filled with feelings of pride, and excitement, and mmm. Oh man, BFF, I’m getting emotional just thinking about it!
But then comes that sucker punch – that feeling of panic when reporting time rolls around. It has a way of sneaking up on you, of suddenly arriving on your doorstep and with it comes all those horror stories you’ve heard from other teachers about how hard and stressful writing student report comments will be.
There’s this term called ‘eat the frog,’ (maybe a little too visual in its description!) which is a productivity trick where you tackle that one item on your to-do list that you just have zero motivation or desire to do. That’s how I approached report writing for a long time – just ‘getting it done’ and hoping that I came out still resembling a human being on the other side, ha!
Reporting doesn’t have to be the bane of your existence! Keep reading for some tips on how to shift your school report writing mindset.
I picked up some effective report writing tips along the way that didn’t just make report writing tolerable, but actually enjoyable! It might not sound possible, but trust me friend – reports don’t have to always be your frog.
Write student report comments for parents, not other teachers
There’s something about writing reports that would always transport me back to my own school days, worrying about impressing the teacher and having to prove that I knew what I was talking about!
As much as documents like Improvement Plans and Lesson Plans do need to be written with your peers in mind – one of the most important school report writing tips I learned is that you’re writing for parents/carers!
Using teacher jargon and education department lingo are going to make it ten times harder for your students’ parents to actually understand how their child is progressing. Your feedback is super valuable for them, and keeping it simple is a way for you to build that rapport with the parent community at your school!
Stick to clear, easy to understand language that focusses on growth and development rather than getting too caught up in the curriculum.
Draw on past reports and use evidence for effective report writing
For end of year reports, it was such a lightbulb moment when realising these were effectively a sequel to those I’d written in the middle of the year! If that mid-year report was the last update your little learners’ parents received, it makes complete sense to pick up where you left off in the end of year report.
Keeping great records throughout the year will make things so much easier come reporting time!
Read through each student’s last report comments and pick out an area in which they’ve really grown in the time since. This will help to jog your memory and remember all the amazing ways that you’ve helped your students to progress this year!
Where you can, using any specific anecdotes or evidence also helps to make your reports more meaningful. Being able to refer to an example of how the student demonstrated a skill, worked towards a goal or improved their understanding also helps parents to understand their child’s progression!
Do future you a favour, and prepare for report writing throughout the school year! The resources in my Acing Assessment Bundle have been designed to help set you up for effective report writing, by making it easy to keep track of students’ progress. Get your bundle here.
Avoid relying too heavily on other’s school report writing tips
Okay, I know what you’re thinking… “Chantelle, you’re literally giving me school report writing tips right now!” But hear me out! What I mean by this is just to be wary of those report comment banks that promise to cut down your reporting time by 90%, or those gurus on social media who give you all the report writing tips you need in 60 seconds or less.
I learned over the years that report writing is just as individual of an activity as teaching – and that’s totally okay! As long as you’re ticking all the boxes when it comes to the Achievement Standards and your school’s expectations? Both how you write your reports and what you say in them is completely up to you.
Whether you want to tackle student report comments one by one, or you want to fill in the class-level comments in all the reports before going back and adding in the individual comments – there’s no right or wrong way to approach this, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, BFF!
You have worked *so* hard to get to where you are now, whether this is your first or fifth year teaching, and you’ve proven time and time again that you’re a capable and incredible person.
You’ve got this, friend! I hope these tips come in handy as you tackle your next student reports.
Looking for more assessment tips? I’ve got you covered, BFF! Check out some of my other blog posts for effective report writing below.
Assessment and Report Writing: 6 Tips to Help Teachers Prepare
Report Writing Must Haves
Got a lifesaving report writing tip of your own? Come tell all my BFFs in my Facebook Group!