Kindergarten Progress Report

While cleaning up a closet, I unearthed my report card (or, Progress Report, as they called it in North Carolina in 1979) from kindergarten. I was pretty excited; I thought the only report card that I still had was my one from first grade.

Love it! My favorite line has to be in the teacher comments for the first quarter: “Sara is a sweet child but needs to work on self-control.” Ha! That sounds very similar to my first grade progress report. It’s interesting to read through Mrs. Van Dohlen’s comments; they’re surprisingly nice (kind? civil?). According to my mom, Mrs. Van Dohlen, on at least one occasion, put me in a box for bad behavior. What was my “bad behavior”? I vaguely recall responding to some other kid’s question with, “none of your beeswax!” Another thing to note about this report card are my very low marks for “practices self discipline.” I started with L (low), the lowest grade possible, and only improved one level to S (satisfactory). I’ve written about my early lack of self-discipline and devoted a digital video to it too

Here’s the inside of my progress report:

It might be hard to read in the scan, but in the language and spelling sections, Mrs. Van Dohlen has written: “Needs to continue to work on holding pencil correctly.” That might be one of my most vivid memories from kindgergarten. One of my older sisters, AMP, had taught me to read and write when I was 4 and I liked how I learned to hold my pencil. Throughout that kindergarten year, I adamantly refused to hold it the “correct way.” What did it matter, I always thought (but probably didn’t actually say to my teacher). This small act of resistance was one of my first memories of troubling my education. To this day, I still don’t hold my pencil correctly and I still think that regulating students in this way is bullshit.

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