You've maintained a consistent level of excellence.
Continue doing your best work.
I'm proud of you. Keep it up!
Way to go, again.
Awesome as always. (I awarded myself bonus points for the use of assonance.)
My students usually have really good grades. Most of them work very hard and most are above average, with a few exceptions. I love my class and I am truly proud of them 98% of the time. At first I sincerely meant every utterance of Keep up the good work.
But then I started running out of ideas. The praise well had run dry. For some of my students the praise came easy. It flowed from my brain, through my fingers, and onto the computer screen. I freely used adjectives like awesome, great, fantastic, super, wonderful, amazing, incredible, and a couple of times I even said tremendous. For others students, I had to really concentrate, hold my tongue just right, and do some serious creative writing just to get enough words to fill that rectangle on the card.
And I wondered why.
I started looking at the megawatt intelligence kids who always make straight As because they work hard and they care what their grades are. Then I looked at the kids who are not super-bright, but they have character out the wazoo and they work twice as hard as the straight A kids just to get Bs.
Then there were the kids who don't have the same advantages as the others. They come from single parent homes. Or homes with so many kids that the parents can't possibly give them one-on-one attention so they have to fend for themselves. Or the wonderful, caring two-parent families who are working two jobs just to put food on the table and can't be home every night to work on homework and preparing for tests. Those kids try and try and might never make above a C but they never give up.
Then there are the kids who frustrate me the most. These are the kids who have every advantage, but they take it for granted. They're the ones who don't make any effort and then act like the world owes them an apology when they make a B. The kids whose Moms make excuses for their behavior when the teachers dare to discipline them. The same kids whose Moms call the principal if their kid makes a C, because they haven't bothered to check their child's graded work each week. The parents who complain that the teacher isn't doing her job, despite the fact that said teacher has been sending home late work notices for weeks and the parents have neglected to sign them.Those are the kids for whom I struggle to write report card comments.
There are only so many ways that you can say, "Congratulations. Once again you've made the A- B Honor Roll. Because your parents have decided to show up in your life and help you out every step of the way, you continue to barely reach the bar which was set by those kids whose parents can't get off their lazy butts to help their kids score above a C. Ever. But they work ten times harder for that C than you ever thought about working for your As and Bs. Yay for you."
Or, "Congratulations on having the good fortune to be born to a rich father so that your Mommy can stay home and devote her every waking moment to you and the completion of your homework. Because of her efforts, you've made the Honor Roll once again. Whoopdy Freakin Doo."
When what I really want to say to some of my kids is, "Way to go, punkin. Despite the fact that your parents suck at life, you've once again managed to score in the dead center of average. You've landed in the 50th percentile for your grade level completely independently, without the help of any responsible adult in your life. I'm so proud of you. Keep on truckin."
ARGH! See why I stopped at "Keep up the good work"? I should never be encouraged to write what I really think.