On June 22, 1973, thirty years ago, I received my final report card for Grade One at Rolling Meadows Public School. My teacher that year was Mrs. Kemp. Here is what she said about me.
Under the section Language Arts (this was a new term in 1973, and meant “Reading”) she said:
Peter listens attentively but is not always willing to accept what he hears such as the correct answer on a work sheet. He is still reluctant to accpt constructive criticism in correcting mistakes.
Under Speaking, I was rated as follows:
Peter speaks clearly and distinctly. His thoughts are very well organized and presented accurately. He has a vast knowledge which he courteously shares with others in discussions.
I think that last bit there means “thinks he is a know-it-all” in pleasant language.
Under Self Expression Through Writing Mrs. Kemp writes:
Peter has a great imagination when it comes to writing stories. We are still working on capitals and periods.
For Art she simply indicates:
Peter is showing improvement in picture making.
And for music:
Peter participates very little in singing.
My Physical and Health Education progress is described like this:
Peter has shown improvement in large muscle activities.
I honestly have no idea what a large muscle activity is, but it sounds very impressive — perhaps I could lift other kids over my head and twirl them around?
Finally, under General Comments, Mrs. Kemp signs off:
Peter is making good progress in the year two program. He seems a little happier.
A little happier? I guess this means I was a sad kid earlier in the year, which does jibe with my recollections.
The odd thing is that you could take Mrs. Kemp’s point-form summation of my progress 30 years ago, and most of it applies, in one form or another, today. I’m still not willing to accept what I hear, I’m still an annoying know-it-all, I’m still working on capitals and periods, working on my pictures, and participating very little in singing. I’ve been working hard on the large muscle activity, and every day I try and seem a little happier.