Sunday, July 1, 2018

Reminiscing: Waiting for Those Report Cards

This past week, we got all four report cards for the girls. Sometimes I can’t believe that the twins will be going to the high school in the fall. Or that Number Three is heading into junior high. At least we still have Jo, who’s only going into...wait a minute...third grade?!?!? None of them can possibly be old enough for any of this. It sure seems crazy, but that’s not the intent of this article.

While the report cards came rather quickly, the twins knew their grades well in advance of their arrival. In the age of digital instantness, they found out their grades within a few days of the test. It wasn’t like that when I went to school. We had to wait for the report cards. Sometimes we waited far longer than the kids did for theirs. We’d anxiously await that single piece of paper, knowing the results contained could affect the rest of our summer, for the good or the bad.

I can remember one year, it must have been when I was leaving ninth grade to enter tenth grade. The report cards took forever to get to the house. That was the year that the Lockport school district changed the schools. I was part of the last ninth grade class at the junior high. That fall, the new ninth graders were at Lockport High School with the the sophomores. I assume that everything was delayed because of the big changes that were happening.

I was obsessed with knowing what my Latin II grade was. I was confident in all my other grades, but I was not sure where I stood with Latin, especially with the oral part of the exam. When the report cards didn’t come and didn’t come, I began to get frustrated. Luckily for me, my Latin teacher happened to live around the corner. I didn’t want to bug her in her time off, but if I happened to run into her, I could just casually ask about my grade.

My friend, and neighbor, Erik, delivered the newspaper on that particular side street. Once I finished with my own route, I went with him to do his. He needed to collect that week. Tagging along, we went to my teacher’s house. Thankfully, she answered the door. She greeted me in Latin (she still does when I see her, and so does Mr. Begley.) After the pleasantries were out of the way, we got down to business. How did I do on my final exam?

“You got a 99,” she said calmly.

“No. Really. What did I get? Not knowing is driving me crazy.”

“Really. You got a 99.”

Ironically, my report card came the very next day.

My kids waited only about a week for theirs. They all did really well. Even throughout the year. That was totally unlike me. I report cards throughout the year were dismal. I hated homework, but excelled on tests. In my view, why would I waste my time on homework when I already understood it? To me, homework was only to reinforce what was being learned, but useless, time consuming, and boring when I had figured it out in class. (I have since figured out this is a bad stance to have, starting about the time the oldest girls started school.) As a result, my homework grades were extraordinarily low, which dragged my quarterly grades into C and D territory instead of A where they belonged.

With our society being firmly entrenched in the digital age, the twins knew their exam scores and final averages before the little two were even finished with their school year. There was one class that Wendy was interested in for IdaLena that came in a bit later than the others. I think it was Math since she’s the math teacher. We still got the grade in what I considered record time, but she was pretty impatient. I reminded her of how long we used to have to wait, which encouraged me to write this article.

Were there other ways to find out your grades when you were in school instead of waiting for the report cards to come in the mail? I know some kids who tried calling the school for their grades. I’m not sure if that was actually a viable solution. It seems like that would annoy the poor secretaries. I guess we’re all impatient now. No one wants to wait for much of anything, even report cards. I sure didn’t back in 1989. Thirty years later, we still don’t, even though things are still so much quicker.

Craig Bacon understands that the quicker the atoms are vibrating, the warmer it is. However, this summer heat as an inverse effect on the human body. He’s laying back and slowing down.