Feeling… not quite overwhelmed, but certainly out of sorts. I have a stack of papers to grade that never seems to get any smaller, a pile of paperwork to do for the school that never quite gets fully completed, all sorts of meetings to attend and memoranda to write, and two classes to plan for that I’ve never taught before.
I need a plan. And I need time to plan. And I need time to implement the plan once I’ve got the time to make the plan and then make it. It feels a bit recursive, actually. It’s kind of like I can never quite get ahead of myself or get anything quite finished.
Take Turnitin.com for example. It has a grade program, right? So all I need to do is plug in the numbers, and it will do my grading for me, right? Well, actually, no. It will calculate my grades for me, but it won’t handle our system of marking periods and terms. Hmm. So I’ve spent a full marking period working with Turnitin.com, and now I’ve discovered it’s unsuitable.
So I have to set up my gradebook again.
Digital or paper, though? Well, I tried doing it as a digital Excel file last year — several files, in fact. That didn’t work out so good. You need the computer up and powered and functional to make use of it, and you need to recalculate the formulae to run the gradebook each marking period. in essence, you’re building a worksheet from scratch every two weeks, and then designing a new worksheet to calculate the final values each term, adding up the four marking periods, the final exam, and the final grade. There aren’t the same number of days in every marking period, either — so you can’t make a standard template and work around that. So… Paper. But then I run into trouble, because then I’m both setting up my gradebook and doing math all the time. Argh.
And Parents’ Weekend begins tomorrow. I have to have some sort of gradebook done by tomorrow — something I can show parents and demonstrate to them that I’m keeping up, and that I understand their children’s learning styles. Frankly, though, I don’t. I’m busy chasing kids around in the woods, covering a third sport; I’m busy monitoring my dormitory; I’m busy trying to learn how to teach a subject I’ve never taught before; I’m busy trying to show up to all the things I’m supposed to show up for. It’s a little insane.
It’s going to get worse, too, as the year goes on. The fall term has less times for doing school work than the fall, and the spring has less time than either the fall or the winter. It’s like the speed of my life has ratcheted up a couple of notches since school began, and there’s no slowing down at all. Part of my work, I’ve discovered, is to write recommendations to secondary schools for all of my ninth grade English students, all ten of them. And meanwhile my seventh grade English class, with seven students, has four who are on-grade-level… and three who are reading and writing at a third-grade level.
Part of me is just venting. But part of me wants to know when I’m going to catch up. It’s starting to feel like the answer is “never.”