I'm an IT guy from Australia who, after graduating from University and working in a soul-crushing desk job for a couple of years, found myself traveling, living and working in Asia.
The default profession for most native English speakers in Asia is English teaching. Over the last 10+ years I've spent a lot of my life teaching English in one form or another to students of all ages and many nationalities.
The reality of the English Teaching business in many countries is that schools are run for the profit and benefit of the company rather than the education and benefit of the students. This means that the parents are treated as royalty and the schools will bend over backwards to meet parental demands and ensure that student enrolments remain high. In my time teaching I have frequently seen appalling behaviour tolerated and even native English teachers fired or moved to another branch to keep the money coming in.
This means that when report time rolls around, the schools/academies/managers/principals don't want honesty, they want nice words that will satisfy the parents and ensure that they re-enrol their children. Little Johnny could be biting the teacher and throwing his feces around the classroom and we would still be required to portray him as a little angel whose vocabulary is improving and pronunciation is getting better daily in the comments on his report. Depending on the place of employment, report cards might have to be written anywhere between monthly and half-yearly. I personally never worked in a position that didn't require report cards less than 4 times a year, sometimes for 150+ students at a time.
ESLReports.com was inspired by a handy tool that I found and made use of early in my English Teaching career. That site was called esltool and allowed you to build a report card for a student by choosing from a selection of comments - the same way that the Comment Builder does on ESLReports.com. Unfortunately the esltool domain expired a few years ago and is now only serving ads.
After the death of ESLTool, I decided to put my IT skills to use and make my own tool to help me write student reports. After replicating the functionality of esltool I decided to take it a step further. At that point I built the Student Grader tool to let me quickly grade each student across the key areas that we assess them on and then generate a comment.
Still not satisfied, I decided that I could automate this task even further. Finally I built the Bulk Comment Generator which I like to think of as the ultimate tool for mass-producing ESL/EFL report card comments. I nicknamed it the I'm a Lazy Bastard Comment Generator.
Am I done? Not yet!
Where can I go from here? You might think that this site is already pretty handy, but after some more thinking and with some input from a friend, I have plans for the future of this site, so stay tuned!
Special thanks to Keith for helping me brainstorm, proofread and rate comments as well as testing the site by using it to generate his Nov/Dec 2014 comments for school.