Monday, October 19, 2009

Grading papers is awesome*

*under the following conditions:
1. You have nothing else to do
2. You're not in a hurry
3. There's no chance the student will whine about the grade
4. The student actually did the right assignment
5. The student actually read the book
6. The student has heard of paragraphs, capital letters, sentences and periods
7. You know won't get a parent phone call about it if the perfect little snowflake gets anything less than an A+
8. You don't have to enter the grade into a computer
9. You have a good pen
10. You have a good higlighter
11. Your house is already clean
12. Your laundry is done
13. You have a comfy chair
14. You don't have to do any math involving a rubric
15. You know the student will read your comments and experience an instant and substantial epiphany
16. You only have one paper to grade

Otherwise, it's a drag!  I wanted to grade papers so badly when I was a kid.  I loved peer editing.  I dreamed of the days I'd read my students' papers and write copious comments in the margin, showing the students that I truly cared about them as individuals and I wanted to help them learn.

There's just not enough time.  Every time I have to grade papers, I'm pressed for time and all I can think about is how much I have to do... how much is left... how I have to just get through it so I can enter grades.  *sigh*  It's so much different than I thought it would be.  Yeah, even seven years in to this gig I'm still lamenting the lack of time I have to spend grading papers.

I'm trying something different this week.  I've tried it before... I mean different because maybe this time I'll make it work.  I have 50 essays left to grade (well, 100 essays, actually, since each kid turned in two separate drafts... but we'll call it 50) so I put them into 5 piles of 10.  It's my goal to grade one pile each day.  I'll let you know how it goes.  I have six more to do tonight (did the first 4 while I was in the Elementary School parking lot waiting for Ad).


I began my comeback tour tonight.  Back in the ballet studio. It was a good night, but I'm pooped.  I didn't get to sit down and rest today until about 8:00. Back at it again tomorrow.  I'll write about it soon.

Right after I find a good pen.


  1. You forgot to include when students actually complain about your comments. I had students who said I never said anything positive. Imagine that?! I don't have time for positivism. Right now, I have 23 minutes to prep for 3 classes I've never taught before. So, when my 6, 7 & 8 graders get to high school, they will never have had comments on their papers. It's all new to them. My comments are "Good job" and "Capitalize 'Stone Age.'" Notice the use of quotation marks there. Nice, huh?!

  2. I always love those margin comments - they can really make or break an assignment (and my mood lol).
    I can't wait to hear about the ballet experience, I hope it went well!

  3. i like grading/ peer editing. i guess it's not all it's cracked up to be when there's 1 million papers of grammatically incorrect nonsense. but let's be serious, if it was all perfect you wouldn't get to use a cool red pen to mess it all up. am i right or am i right?

  4. I'm particularly loving scoring papers for ESL and SPED students at the same time! SPED kids are doing bizarro things like writing in a pyramid (literally). Their first sentence fills the whole first line on a piece of binder paper, and the next line gets shorter, and shorter. Random WEIRDness. Students who are writing a paragraph on the Stone Age sign it "Love, Marlana." Why? Is it 6th grade? Yes. Why am I here with people who are 11 years old? There must be a lesson?!

  5. I like grading papers. I'll come be your TA again. Only this time, I'll leave on maternity leave instead of you. ;)