The thing I hate most about teaching is grading. I know some people are trying out Standards Based Grading (SBG) but I have not make that leap yet. I anticipate it will take some substantial reading/summer work in order to get myself ready to try that. In the meantime, I check homework for completion, grade lab reports with a rubric, and score various other assignments according to various criteria depending on what it is.
The thing is, grading takes a lot of time. Right now I have a stack of lab reports, a stack of mini-quizzes, and a pack of 10 AP lab reports on my grading pile. I also need to plan next week’s lessons and beyond, with an eye toward the quarterly assessment coming up at the end of the month. I need to type up last weeks lesson plans, which I somehow never did last weekend (I got a lot of lab reports graded though!) and write plans for a substitute to follow for both this coming Friday (I’m walking in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure in Philadelphia, which starts Friday) and a week from Monday, in case I don’t make it in the morning after walking 60 miles in 3 days. I count myself lucky that I am not writing college recommendations, since my conceptual-level students rarely decide a recommendation from me would help them get into college (physics not being their best subject).
I need to make sure I keep some other things on my agenda this week also:
- getting in touch with the maintenance person who will be on duty a week from Saturday, when my school is hosting Physics Olympics, to touch base and make sure we’ll have unlocked doors and bleachers in the gym
- having a meeting with my teammate for the 3-day walk about packing and tenting
- keeping my Physics Olympics team focused on getting all the events practiced and devices built, since we are now less than two weeks away from the meet and I will lose Friday’s (and possibly Monday’s) practice – unless I can persuade another teacher to step in on Friday after school
- Attending a graduate class on literacy Tuesday night (I believe I have an assignment to complete for that) and a department meeting Wednesday
- Taking account for this week’s fire drill in my lesson plans
There are probably things I am not thinking of right now, but will get reminded of right before they happen…typical.
So how do I find time for grading? I usually don’t, and wind up scandalously behind, with students not getting feedback in time for it to make a difference. I am working on this much harder this year, and I am dong better. The average number of days between students handing in a lab report and getting it back is shrinking. I rode hard on my kids who missed the unit 2 test, and was able to get all of the tests taken and graded within a week. Overall, it is going well. But of course it is at the expense of other things in my life. I have fallen behind in training for the 3-Day, and I probably won’t walk today at all though by the official training schedule I should go 8 miles (I did get in my 10 miles yesterday). I’d say I’ll do it tomorrow, but by the time I get home I’ll be tired, there will be only an hour of daylight left (walking 8 miles will take me more than 2 hours), and someone has to cook dinner.
My friends used to wonder why I didn’t come out for an evening – just take a nap after work, they would say. If I lay down upon getting home, I am OUT. It just doesn’t work. I told a friend I might make it to her party last night…but I wound up in bed by 9 PM. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Sorry, Joanna! I know this is why my friends don’t invite me out much. I’m just unlikely to make it there!
So….back to grading. With a lesson-planning break sometime mid-afternoon.