The good news – today I spent most of the day writing. The bad news – I was writing school reports. Yes it’s that time of year and, as a part time teacher, I had to give up some of my writing time to produce feedback on my students’ progress.
When I started I was feeling a little resentful of the time being taken away from more productive pursuits. I figured I would perhaps do some, so that I could tell myself I’d made a start, and then have a break for some quality writing time. Then, once I’d got started and mastered the new reporting form which involved logging on to the server from home and filling in the appropriate fields, I figured I’d keep going until I’d done it all. Then I could get it out of the way and have tomorrow for writing time.
So, that’s what I did and now it’s all done for another six months and I feel good about that. But, along the way I realised that writing report comments isn’t the worst way I could spend my writing time, because I was writing (and in my opinion every bit of writing adds to your total experience) and, at the same time, I was actually challenging myself to really mean what I was writing.
It isn’t always easy (or possible) to come up with a completely new comment for each student. But it IS possible (and should be compulsory) to be sure that you can justify what are you saying. So, you have to stop and think before you write, and again after you’ve written, whether the comment is fair and reasonable. You also have to be constructive, so that you are offering the student and parent the chance to understand how they can improve or maintain their grades.
Anyway, I’m glad it’s over, but not so resentful of the time now that I’ve thought more about it. I also snatched ten minutes to jot down the outline of a story that’s been incubating, so I’m looking forward to get more time with that one.