Las week I was pretty sick. I was suffering some form of gastroenteritis, which seems to be a fancy way of saying, “I was diarrheic and occasionally puking my guts out.” I got on antibiotics, which helped me get healthy again… but as any teacher knows, the real challenge after being sick for a few days is figuring out how to get out from under the workload of backdated grading.
After three days of doing almost nothing but grading (and teaching, and driving for a game, and managing classes and study halls as usual), I’ve managed to get down to two classes of old papers, and one pile of today’s papers. Which is to say, I’m finally out from under the high-stress fear that “Oh, I’m never going to catch up before grades are due.”
I do have this underlying sense, though, of how much paperwork teachers generate, and how we really are in this business of managing student effort — collecting it, recording it, collating it, evaluating it, and managing it. And I always wonder how I could do it more effectively and efficiently, whenever I get this far behind.
I always feel like I am perpetually behind with grading, even when I am healthy. The reality is that the current work schedule doesn’t accommodate good teaching practices & planning and quality grading all of the time.
I hope you feel better!
I do in fact feel better. I think the question of the work schedule not supporting good teaching practices is an open one. I know that in a private school, I have a lot of advantages in that regard which my colleagues in public school don’t have.
But planning time IS a serious problem. We want planning to be really high-quality work, so that grading can be easy. But grading is the more serious task, with more obvious difficulties when it’s not done in a timely way. So figuring out how to manage those two things is always a challenge. More time on planning — which gives better results over the long term? — or on grading — which keeps parents and administrators happy? Decisions, decisions…