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Eric Baylin's
Songs to Brighten
A Teacher's Day

Ah, the end of another marking period, the beginning of another round of narrative grading comments. Some are such a pleasure to write; the words flow without effort. For others, the words that flow require censoring by a more levelheaded colleague. My favorite comment story, though, is the one about the teacher who wrote a lengthy and very thoughtful comment about a student who had been sick all semester -- and had never shown up to class! Well, once you are in the flow of words, why stop? Not yet in the flow? Feel free to borrow a few of the comments from this teacher tune!

A Few of My Favorite Lines

(To the tune of My Favorite Things)

Writing narrative comments about students has to be one of the most demanding tasks a teacher faces. Finding just the right words to aptly describe a student's work and performance, offering encouragement and rays of hope even when hope is dim, being honest, but not too honestthese are the challenges teachers face at the end of each grading period. Here are a few of my favorite lines:

About the Lyricist

Eric Baylin has been a teacher for 36 years, working with a variety of age levels in both public and private schools in New York and North Carolina. He currently works at Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, New York, a K-12 independent school established in 1854. In addition to teaching art and photography to middle- and high-school students, Baylin coordinates a program of collaborative faculty study groups in Packer's professional development program.

Careless, unfocused, does not pay attention;
Homework is sloppy; there's moredare I mention?
These are a few of my favorite lines,
I cut and paste them at least thirty times.

Focused, productive, and so conscientious;
Fully prepared, and is never pretentious
These are the fun ones I save until last,
If there were more it would be such a blast.

Writing comments is demanding,
Rarely seems like fun.
I know I must do it, so I hunker down.
I'm so glad when they are done.

Writing those comments is so time consuming,
Procrastinate when the deadline is looming.
Some are so difficult, some are a breeze.
Then there're the ones I make sure no one sees.

Rude and disruptive, obnoxious, sarcastic,
Needs consequences that might seem too drastic.
Parents are nasty, don't cooperate,
Always maintaining their kid is so great.

When my comments are not finished,
And they're overdue,
I cut and I paste and I change a few names,
And then I can say I'm through.

Song lyrics copyright 2005 Eric Baylin