Years ago when I first began teaching I got really frustrated the first time I had to do report cards. When it came time to post my comments about each student, I found that it became really negative and I was really upset. How do you tell someone that their child is falling behind or not paying attention, yet still let the parents know you care about their child? I went to my mentor teacher and asked them how they posted their comments about their students. My mentor teacher told me that she used the sandwich technique.
Say something positive first, then something not as positive, and last end with something positive again.
Example: Timothy has an inquisitive mind. We are continuing to work on his attention span. I really enjoy having him in class.
In writing I’ve found that this technique also works.
Example: Sandy Cleaver’s life, as she had known it was over. No matter her pleas and groans, the decision had been made. She was being shipped off to her grandparents, where life was golfing and cribbage.
Comments: I love the first line. I would love to know where her grandparents live. It definitely makes me think of summers spent with my grandparents.
Try using this method the next time you need to comment on something. Sometimes it’s hard to find something positive, but remember that you are trying to encourage someone, not bring them down.