Turtleneck Weather

The wife’s cousin’s husband is posting on Facebook:

The least attractive article of clothing has to be the turtleneck. Anyone care to disagree?

For whatever reason, even with a warming trend this weekend, it “felt” like Autumn today. Digging around for layering, I find a mock turtleneck to wear underneath my school polo shirt.  Being in a trailer classroom, the weather tends to run more on the colder side on cold mornings like today, so despite my cousin-in-law’s obvious distaste for the turtleneck, I plan on being comfortable today.  It felt like Fall, and, when I got to school to boot up my MacBook, the OK from the boss to print my progress reports marked an even more definitive statement that Fall had arrived.

Normally, progress reports can produce an elevated stress level, depending upon a particular class that year.  Complicating matters is the progress report that is provided with the version of our electronic report card that has been provided to my school district.   While the trimester’s report cards that will go out at the end of next month are on the 4-point scale, the progress report only allows for 3 possibilities.  This means that for students who might be a “2” or “1” on a given subject on the report card  (with a “3” meaning a student is producing at a grade level standard, and “4” being above (my interpretation)/advanced (district’s intention) performance of a grade level standard), they will be marked as “below expected performance”.  This distinction can often lead to great concern on parents’ part, given that a student marked “below” might not be that much below where he or she needs to be by the end of the trimester next month.  Depending upon the level of stress that I wanted to bring down upon myself, I often had to determine whether or not I fudge a borderline student up, simply because I didn’t want to freak out a parent when they saw the progress report.  I honestly knew where the student should be, but given the limitations placed upon me by the progress report, I had to make decisions that often meant peering into a crystal ball, hoping that a student for whom I gave the benefit of the doubt, could raise their game enough to merit the confidence boost I hoped to give them on the year’s first progress report.  If you think about frustration levels, it was disappointing when I had to head into parent-teacher conferences with a student who should be performing far better than they’ve shown.

But that brings us to today, wherein I sat in my aforementioned turtleneck, folding and getting the envelopes ready.  (I would be lying if I didn’t think each time I do this about that classic Seinfeld episode “The Invitations”…)  As I glanced through the lion’s share of the progress reports, I began to realize that I needn’t worry a great deal about parental reaction to this first batch of progress reports.  With only a few exceptions, they were overwhelmingly good.  Thinking back to my earlier post this week on frustration, I mentioned how my class performance on last year’s district benchmark gave a misleading perception over how I felt my class would do on the state tests.  My most immediate worry as I was sealing the envelopes was whether or not I was being lulled into a false sense of security.  I say that knowing that I felt at the time last year that my class would likely underperform, despite the improving benchmark results, while this year’s class has, on the whole, gotten off to a fast start and has me thinking that good things might be on the horizon for this group of kids.

But I am, by my nature, a skeptic and a pessimist.  This is definitely too good to be true.  Is it?

For now, I will pass the progress reports out tomorrow.  It is a snapshot of this moment in time–a moment that will be gone just as soon as the parents see their children’s progress reports.  And like it was cold today, the weather is expected to warm up nonetheless. Today I had on a turtleneck, tomorrow, probably not…

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