Time Out

06 March 2005

Like an idiot, I had my classes turn in 4 separate assignments on Friday. We did mark one in class, but that means I brought home the other three (x 2 classes each) plus a set of lab reports I didn't get to earlier in the week. I'm making good progress, but marking is usually one of the least favourite tasks I have. I'm having trouble staying motivated and getting the job done before tomorrow morning. So, I'm using this blog as an excuse for a "time out" from my needy papers.

Turner Classic Movies---far and away my favourite channel---is showing "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" at the moment. I love this film. At least I can have a few laughs whilst I work.

But back to grading.

There are some alternatives to slogging through paperwork over the weekend. One: don't give so many assignments and/or don't grade what kids turn in. This is probably the easiest one to implement, and yet, I feel like kids benefit from regular feedback concerning their learning. Damn my ethics.

Okay, so option two: have kids do more grading in class. I do this sometimes with homework. I go by and check it for completion, and then we go over the answers. The problem with having more official grading is that if you have kids trade papers, mommy and daddy might sue you for letting another student see their work. My gradebook is considered a legal document and I must treat what is within it with the greatest confidentiality.

And the final option to reduce my load of papers: design more assignments that I look forward to reading. I admit that this is what I should be doing all the time. And I do try to do this as often as possible. Creating assessments which both interest the students and me is a real challenge, but a worthwhile one. However, with my days crammed full with other tasks, I don't always have the opportunity to do something as well as I'd like.

I am starting to see where other teachers in my department are more interested in collaboration. We're all so used to being independent contractors---but think of all the effort reinventing wheels we could avoid by pooling our time to develop some common assessments. The mind boggles.

In the meantime, since this stack of papers isn't going to grade themselves, I'd better get back to the task at hand.

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