On report cards and during parent conferences and annual review meetings, teachers report the skills each student is currently demonstrating and compare that performance to the district’s expectations. Our focus tends to be the student’s academic progress. But your child has many skills and qualities that are not assessed on report cards, listed on IEPs, or required by state standards. Your child has character traits that we should recognize and celebrate more than their academic success.
When faced with something difficult, does your student put forth the extra effort to persevere to try to figure it out and feel good about their effort even if it falls short of success? Perhaps your child is sensitive to the needs of others and is quick to comfort a classmate or sibling who’s sad. Maybe they are fascinated by nature, always asking questions, investigating, and showing concern for the natural world. Some individuals don’t hesitate to give of themselves - selflessly giving up their toy or turn or treat to another who wants it. Your child may step up to defend a classmate who’s being bothered or to celebrate a struggling classmate who learns something new. When a parent or teacher is harried and frustrated, maybe your student sees the stress and steps in to help, voice their appreciation, or give a much needed hug. These character traits are more important than whether your child is the first to master his math facts, writes with great style and voice, or scores the most points in a sport. These strengths of character are too often left unrecognized but are crucial to the individual’s success and happiness as they progress at school and work and life.
As you go over your child’s report card with them, we hope you will take time to help your child consider all the reasons they should be proud of themselves- reasons that include helping, giving of themselves, and trying their best. These are qualities we need to foster and celebrate even more than academic growth. These are the traits that will make a difference in all aspects of your child’s life. We need to all make time to notice, encourage, and appreciate them in our students.